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The effect of mild traumatic brain injuries on visual and vestibular functions

University of Plymouth

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Plymouth
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £16,062 per annum (2022/23 rate)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 22nd June 2022
Closes: 19th August 2022

DoS: Dr Gunnar Schmidtmann (gunnar.schmidtmann@plymouth.ac.uk, tel.: +44(0)1752 587558)

2nd Supervisor: Prof Jonathan Marsden (jonathan.marsden@plymouth.ac.uk, tel.: +44(0)1752 587590)

3rd Supervisor: Dr Ellie Edlmann (ellie.edlmann@plymouth.ac.uk)

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022 or 1 January 2023.

Project Description

Patients with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) frequently suffer from a variety of visual and vestibular problems. TBI-associated visual symptoms include blurred vision, double vision, reading problems, and eye strain. In addition, many patients show vestibular symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, and impaired balance. TBI can also affect the interactions between the visual and vestibular system that preserve gaze stabilisation during self and imposed body motion resulting in visual induced dizziness. The aim of this 3-year PhD project is to systematically investigate visual and vestibular functions in TBI patients.

The visual function experiments will investigate low-level (e.g., contrast sensitivity), mid-level (e.g. contour – and shape perception and high-level cortical visual processes (e.g. visual search, attention). The vestibular testing will involve a combination of clinical tests, objective oculomotor and vestibular tests and tests of visuo-vestibular interactions and eye-head coordination during visual smooth pursuit. Further, the scholar will have the opportunity to incorporate some of the neuroimaging methodologies at new Brain and Imaging Research Centre (BRIC) at the University of Plymouth.

The PhD scholar will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team of experts in vision (Dr Gunnar Schmidtmann), clinical neurology (Dr Ellie Edlmann) and neurorehabilitation (Professor Jonathan Marsden).

The successful candidate will be part of the Eye and Vision Research Group and The Motor Control Laboratory at the Brain and Imaging Research Centre (BRIC) at the University of Plymouth.

Eligibility

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification.

The studentship is supported for 3 years and includes full Home tuition fees plus a stipend of £16,062 per annum (2022/23 rate).  The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications.  Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates (approximately £12,670 per annum).

NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.

If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Gunnar Schmidtmann, gunnar.schmidtmann@plymouth.ac.uk.

Please clearly state the name of the DoS and studentship title that you are applying for on your personal statement.

Please see here for a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.

This vacancy will involve working with children and/or vulnerable adults and any appointment will be subject a Disclosure and Barring Service check. 

For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact doctoralcollege@plymouth.ac.uk.

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 19 August 2022. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview towards the end of August 2022. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications.  Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

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