View Full Version : PhD studentships at the IRM in the Manchester MetropolitanUniversity

09-04-2007, 02:36 AM
There are 2 PhD studentships available for immediate start at the Institute
for Biophysical and Clinical Research into Human Movement (IRM) of the
Manchester Metropolitan University:

1. Neural mechanisms and mobility in the elderly: the determining influence
of visual, non-visual and perceptual mechanisms on posture and coordinated

Mobility is fundamental to human activity and taken for granted in younger
healthy people. During older age, visual, proprioceptive, vestibular,
integrative and interpretative processes, and whole body coordination
degenerate such that ordinary yet demanding tasks that determine mobility
become more daunting and difficult. These include standing and walking;
particularly skilled stepping such as stair negotiation, passing through
doorways and walking in confined spaces containing obstacles. The student
will investigate the neural mechanisms that underlie the commonly observed
changes in mobility associated with ageing. The main interest of the project
is the relationship between physiological deterioration in visual and
proprioceptive control mechanisms (including neural bandwidth, sensory
thresholds and perceptual accuracy), psychological factors including the
fear of falling, and movement skill and coordination required for balance
and purposeful locomotion. Techniques will includes visual and
proprioceptive feedback control of balance, whole body motion analysis and
eye tracking during skilled stepping, particularly stair ascent and descent.
A degree in physical/physiological science is desirable and the project will
involve development of analysis and experimental techniques using MATLAB.

Principle supervisors : Dr Dilwyn Marple-Horvat and Dr Ian Loram

Starting date: ASAP
Location: IRM Laboratories in MMU

Duration: 3 years: All fees paid plus a Bursary of £12,000 per annum

For further information please contact:
Dr Ian Loram on 0161 247 5739, email, I.Loram@mmu.ac.uk or
Dr Dilwyn MarpleHorvat on 0161 5535, email, D.E.Marple-Horvat@mmu.ac.uk

2. The proprioceptive and visual control of human balance in relation to
ageing and disease

Maintaining balance is a skill that we all depend upon for a healthy and
satisfying life, and yet it is a task that can stretch human motor skill to
the limits of its biological capability. It is known that humans register
and process sensory information imperfectly and can only construct
appropriate motor output at a moderate and limited rate. These restrictions
are tested by our ability to balance and control unstable loads. Using
visual-proprioceptive balance apparatus and ultrasound analysis of muscle
displacement, this project will investigate the visual and proprioceptive
control of balance using healthy subjects of differing age, and diseased
subjects with differing neuro-motor limitations e.g. Parkinsonís or
cerebellar disease. In particular, the interest is in the comparison of
proprioceptive and visual modalities with application to ageing and
Parkinsonís disease, and on the frequency bandwidth of central control in
relation to ageing and cerebellar disease.
Since the project depends on flexible development of analysis using MATLAB,
an essential requirement for the successful applicant is an aptitude for,
and interest in computer programming, as well as a sustained interest in
human motor control and engineering psychology. The project will require
experimental work to be carried out in the laboratory and at times, away
from the laboratory in clinical settings. A degree in
physical/physiological/computer science, mathematics or engineering is

If you are interested, please make immediate contact by expressing an
interest and sending a full c.v. to Dr Ian Loram at I.Loram@mmu.ac.uk
Funding (fees and maintenance) is available for EU applicants only. No
financial support is available for non EU applicants.

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