Supervisory team: Dr Richard Foster, Dr Thomas O‘Brien and Prof. Gabor Barton
Clinical partners: North West Movement Analysis Centre at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

This is a PhD studentship supported by Liverpool John Moores University and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Tuition fees will be paid and an annual stipend of £14,553 along with bench fees of £1,500 per year will be provided to support the appointed candidate.
Children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) present with deficient equilibrium reactions and loss of selective motor control, which affect completion of activities of daily living. The sensory organs for the visual and vestibular systems that are important for controlling whole body movements are embedded in the head, making refined head stability critical for both orientation and balance. Importantly, the vestibulo-ocular reflex system is used to stabilise gaze by producing rapid corrective eye movements to compensate for head movements, but in children with CP this system is disrupted. The purposes of this project are; 1) to investigate the functional consequences of head instability on gaze and the safe performance of activities of daily living in children with CP, 2) to determine whether bespoke virtual reality training games can improve head stability and gaze, leading to better performance of activities of daily living. Motion analysis, a CAREN virtual reality system, and eye tracking will be integrated to evaluate the complex interaction between the visual and vestibular system in children with and without CP through a series of cross-sectional and short-term intervention studies.
Our research group brings together internationally recognised research expertise in clinical motion analysis and virtual rehabilitation at Liverpool John Moores University, and clinical partners from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool. Alder Hey is the regional centre for movement analysis in the North-West of England and one of the largest children’s hospitals in Europe. The successful candidate will be registered for a full-time PhD studentship at LJMU, but will be required to work flexibly within this research group at both Alder Hey and LJMU.

Entry requirements
We are seeking excellent candidates who have a Bachelor’s degree, and preferably a Master’s degree, in human movement or health and exercise sciences, physiotherapy or other bio-engineering related disciplines. Expertise in biomechanics is essential, and an understanding of the effects and treatments of cerebral palsy is desirable. Any appointment would be dependent on the applicant receiving enhanced clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service. It is essential that candidates can demonstrate the ability to work in the challenging environment of clinical paediatrics.

This post is only available to EU students.

Informal enquiries are welcome. Applicants should send a CV, covering letter detailing their suitability for the project, and contact details of two referees to Dr Richard Foster; e: R.J.Foster@ljmu.ac.uk, t: 0151 904 6258.

The closing date for applications is Monday 21st August, 2017
Interviews are scheduled to take place week commencing 4th September, 2017

Relevant websites: Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences