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PhD Studentship: The Impact of Smell Loss on Declarative Memory

University of East Anglia - PSY

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £17,688 tax-free maintenance grant
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 8th December 2022
Closes: 22nd February 2023
Reference: RENOULTL_U23PSY

Studies of age-differences in declarative memory have reported a decline of episodic memory but preserved semantic memory function in ageing. This is exacerbated in carriers of the APOE-4 allele, the strongest genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Ageing is associated with anosmia, which is more common in APOE-4 carriers.

While odours are known to evoke rich and emotional memories, few studies have investigated the impact of anosmia on declarative memory. It’s unclear which aspects of episodic memory are affected by anosmia and whether other types of declarative memory are affected. Our research team has developed new declarative memory tests, that allow a comprehensive evaluation of episodic, semantic and personal semantic memory (Renoult et al., 2020), and has expertise in the evaluation of anosmia.

This project will evaluate declarative memory (cued by odours and via other modalities) in older adults with anosmia, including in individuals at increased genetic risk (APOE4 carriers) for AD, using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques (EEG, functional MRI (fMRI). The project will provide unique opportunities to better understand how anosmia affects memory and to improve the evaluation of memory functions in healthy ageing and in those at risk for AD. Furthermore, the project will explore the use of memory in the rehabilitation of patients with olfactory disorders.

A background in theories and methods of Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience and experience testing human participants is required. Prior experience with EEG and/or fMRI is advantageous.

Training:

Administering autobiographical interviews

Collecting genotyping data

Performing EEG, fMRI studies, psychophysical smell tests

This project is in a competition for a Faculty of Social Sciences studentship. This provides tuition fees for Home or International students, a tax-free maintenance grant (currently £17,688) and a research training support grant (currently £750).

For further information, please visit:

Studentships/Stipends: www.uea.ac.uk/research/research-with-us/postgraduate-research/latest-phds-and-research-studentships/postgraduate-research-fees-and-funding/studentships-and-stipends

Maintenance grants: www.uea.ac.uk/research/research-with-us/postgraduate-research/latest-phds-and-research-studentships/postgraduate-research-fees-and-funding/stipends-and-fee-levels.

UEA Studentship terms/conditions: www.uea.ac.uk/documents/20142/130807/pgr-studentship-terms-and-conditions.pdf/b38bb426-cd1f-c4b5-38da-22023aca30e4?t=1590662730627.

PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Dr Louis Renoult

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