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PhD Studentship: Sensory Biomarkers for Early Detection in Alzheimer's Disease: Novel Pathways to Effective Interventions

University of East Anglia

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £18,622 Competition Funded Project (Home and International)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 31st October 2023
Closes: 15th January 2024
Reference: SAMIS_U24FMH2024

SAMIS_U24FMH

Background        

Alzheimer's disease (AD) represents a significant global health challenge. Early detection is critical for effective interventions, yet current screening methods for high-risk populations are limited by their cost and invasiveness. Recent research has uncovered intriguing connections between sensory alterations and the early stages of AD. Notably, changes in vision have emerged as potential indicators during preclinical phases. Additionally, the ability to identify Odors begins to decline, especially among those at higher dementia risk, such as carriers of the APOE-4 gene variant, who experience a twofold swifter decline in this ability. These findings hold profound implications for the early-stage detection of AD and the development of innovative therapeutic strategies.

Research methodology

This research project seeks a motivated PhD candidate to delve into the fascinating intersection of sensory changes and early-stage preclinical dementia. The successful candidate will employ advanced techniques in sensory analysis, neuroimaging, and data analytics to explore the potential of sensory alterations as early indicators of AD. The project will involve:

  • Conducting sensory assessments and collecting data on Odor identification and visual changes.
  • Utilizing cutting-edge imaging technologies, including retinal scans.
  • Applying statistical and machine learning methods to analyse data and identify patterns.
  • Collaborating with multidisciplinary teams and experts in the field.

Training

The chosen candidate will receive comprehensive training in sensory analysis, neuroimaging, and data analytics. You will have the opportunity to work in state-of-the-art MRI and olfaction research facilities and collaborate with leading researchers in the field of neurology and sensory science. Additionally, you will gain valuable experience in project management, data interpretation, and scientific communication, setting a strong foundation for a successful research career. 

Person specification

We are seeking a highly motivated and academically accomplished individual with a background in Neuroscience, psychology, biomedical sciences, or related fields. Key qualifications include: 

  • A strong academic track record, including a relevant undergraduate and/or master's degree.
  • A passion for neuroscience and a genuine interest in dementia research.
  • Proficiency in data analysis and statistical software.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to work collaboratively.

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK (Home) fees, an annual stipend of £18,622 and £1,000 per annum for research training (RTSG). International applicants may apply but are required to secure additional funding to fund the difference between UK and overseas tuition fees (visit: https://www.uea.ac.uk/study/fees-and-funding/fees for details of Home and Overseas fee rates).

Primary Supervisor: Saber Sami

Start Date: October 2024

For more information on this project, please visit https://www.uea.ac.uk/search/courses/

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