View Full Version : PhD studentship available

03-28-2010, 10:02 PM
Dear subscribers,

A PhD studentship is available looking at the effectiveness of a new exercise device on the recruitment of key trunk stabiliser muscles in a number of populations. Closing date for applications is 16th April 2010. Full details are below:


TITLE: Assessment and modelling of stabiliser muscle function using a new exercise device

BACKGROUND: A new exercise method/device has recently been developed by Dr Dorothee Debuse and a German engineer. The exercise method/device aims to specifically recruit and train the stabiliser/local muscles of the trunk in a controlled way. A recent study conducted by Dr Nick Caplan and Dr Dorothee Debuse showed, using ultrasound imaging, that the exercise method/device successfully recruits two key local trunk muscles - the Lumbar Multifidus and the Transversus Abdominis - in a physically active group of participants. The aims of this PhD studentship will be to extend this work to look at whether the exercise method/device can be used successfully in two populations - low back pain patients, and long term bed rest/microgravity.

In low back pain patients, the Lumbar Multifidus and Transversus Abdominis have been shown widely in the literature to be dysfunctional, in comparison to asymptomatic controls. To examine the effect of exercising using the new method/device in the low back pain population, patients will be given the opportunity to train for a number of weeks using the new exercise method/device. Changes in stabiliser muscle thickness after long term exposure to the exercise method/device will be determined using ultrasound imaging techniques. Patients will also be asked to report their levels of pain and function before and after the exercise intervention, using validated outcome measures.

Dysfunction of the Transversus Abdominis and Lumbar Multifidus muscles has also been shown in patients exposed to long term bed rest and microgravity. During bed rest, these muscles do not have to support the body against gravity, and a significant amount of muscle wasting is seen. The PhD student will develop a full body musculoskeletal model of a person using the exercise method/device. The model will be used to determine the influence of using the exercise method/device in a supine position, and also with gravity removed.

FURTHER INFORMATION: Enquiries regarding this studentship should be made to Dr Nick Caplan on 0191 243 7382 or at nick.caplan@northumbria.ac.uk

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree (in biomechanics, sport and exercise sciences, physiotherapy or a relevant subject) from a British higher education institution, or equivalent. Students who are not UK/EU residents are eligible to apply, provided they hold the relevant academic qualifications (together with an IELTS score of at least 6.5).

HOW TO APPLY: You should apply using the University's Research Studentship Application Form. Further details on the University's Research Studentship Scheme, together with the Application Form, can be found on our website:

Applications should be submitted to:
Oonagh McGee
Northumbria University
School of Psychology and Sport Sciences
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST
0191 - 243 7028



START DATE: 1 September 2010

FUNDING NOTES: Studentships will cover Home or Overseas fees and a stipend of 13290 is available. A research allowance of 1000 is also available. The period of funding is 3 years.



Nick Caplan, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer in Biomechanics
BASES Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

School of Psychology and Sport Sciences
Northumbria University
Northumberland Building
Newcastle upon Tyne

Email: nick.caplan@northumbria.ac.uk
Telephone: 0191 243 7382