University of Leeds Featured PhD Programmes
University of Edinburgh Featured PhD Programmes
King’s College London Featured PhD Programmes

Detection of prodromal dementia (GreyMU19FMH)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M Grey
    Prof M Hornberger
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Dementia is a relatively common and progressive condition that impacts on cognitive function and health. The media have highlighted incidences with a few famous ex-professional footballers who have been diagnosed post-mortem with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a form of early-onset dementia that shares many similarities with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The UK government has identified dementia as a priority area and the NHS is promoting the importance of early diagnosis. Recent studies at UEA led by Prof Hornberger’s group have shown that spatial navigation changes can be identified in people who are at risk of developing dementia thus providing an early-indication of neurodegeneration.

There is growing concern about the potential link between sport-related head trauma and CTE in the media and amongst ex-footballers particularly with respect to players who have been exposed to repetitive head impacts from frequent heading of the ball.

This PhD is part of the SCORES project ( The objective of the project is to use qualitative and quantitative measures to determine if ex-footballers (both women and men) show signs of early neurodegeneration compared with the normal population. The PhD study will involve working with ex-professional football players from across England. The project has been designed in collaboration with former professional footballers and families of former professionals with direct experience of dementia. Experience working in the football community is therefore highly desired for this position.

We are seeking a highly motivated student with a background in either the health/medical sciences. Candidates with experience in neuroscience, neurodegeneration, dementia and cognitive function testing are encouraged to apply.

More information on the supervisor for this project:
Type of programme: PhD
Start date: May 2020
Mode of study: Full-time
Studentship length: 3 years

Entry requirements
Acceptable first degree in Biological Science, Health/Medical Science, Sport & Exercise Science, the standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1

Funding Notes

This PhD project is funded by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. The studentship is funded for 3 years and comprise of Home fees, a stipend of £15,009 and £1000 per annum to support research training.


I. Menon DK, Bryant C. Time for change in acquired brain injury. Lancet Neurol 2019;18(1):28.
II. McKee AC, Cairns NJ, Dickson DW, Folkerth RD, Keene CD, Litvan I, et al. The first NINDS/NIBIB consensus meeting to define neuropathological criteria for the diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Acta Neuropathol 2016;131(1):75-86.
III. Coughlan G, Laczo J, Hort J, Minihane AM, Hornberger M. Spatial navigation deficits - overlooked cognitive marker for preclinical Alzheimer disease? Nat Rev Neurol 2018;14(8):496-506.
IV. Ling H, Morris HR, Neal JW, Lees AJ, Hardy J, Holton JL, Revesz T, Williams D. Mixed pathologies including chronic traumatic encephalopathy account for dementia in retired association football (soccer) players. Acta Neuropathol. 2017 Mar;133(3):337-352.
V. Mackay DF, Russell ER, Stewart K, MacLean JA, Pell JP, Stewart W. Neurodegenerative Disease Mortality among Former Professional Soccer Players. N Engl J Med. 2019 Nov 7;381(19):1801-1808.

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