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  Exploring Sensorimotor Function and Developing Rehabilitation Strategies using Experimental and Computational Approaches


   Faculty of Biological Sciences

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In collaboration with a multidisciplinary team consisting of biologists, clinicians, engineers, mathematicians, and computational biologists and startups around the globe, we aim to decipher the organizational principles of sensorimotor function in mammals. Lately focus has been on activities of daily living in people. By studying the recruitment of muscles during various tasks, we aim to develop insights into motor planning, execution, and fatigue. The goal is to create neuro-controller models that replicate human and animal motor functions, contributing to the development of rehabilitation strategies, prosthetic control, and sensory feedback systems. This project also seeks to address rehabilitation challenges posed by conditions such as ALS, Parkinson's, and Stroke while also contributing to development of tools for community-based rehabilitation. 

These projects aim to uncover fundamental insights into sensorimotor function, muscle recruitment patterns, fatigue mechanisms, and compensatory strategies. This work has the potential to revolutionize the field of community-based rehabilitation and contribute to addressing neurological conditions that affect motor function. 

Objectives

We are open to ideas to explore and develop as long as within the capability of the group. A few examples are given below:  

  • Investigate muscle recruitment patterns during daily tasks and explore their potential for use in community-based rehabilitation. 
  • Model motor planning and execution using experimental data and AI/mathematical tools to develop neuro-controller models. 
  • Examine the phenomenon of fatigue in healthy, aged, and chronic disease subjects and analyse compensatory mechanisms employed by the body. 
  • Develop innovative tools, such as fabric-based muscles, for potential integration into exoskeletons and rehabilitation technologies. 

Distinguished by its commitment to pioneering interdisciplinary research, the project places a strong emphasis on advancing the field of sensorimotor function and its direct relevance to community-based rehabilitation. By fostering collaborative efforts across diverse domains including biology, clinical practice, engineering, mathematics, and computational biology, this project embarks on a journey to unravel the complexities of human movement. 

Scholars under this program will immerse themselves in groundbreaking research projects that delve deep into the nuances of muscle recruitment dynamics during everyday tasks. This exploration extends to investigating the intricate mechanics of fatigue—how our bodies respond when faced with physical limitations—and uncovering the ingenious compensatory mechanisms the human system employs to navigate such challenges. 

Of significant intrigue is the development of innovative tools, the use of advanced mathematical modelling techniques, and the integration of artificial intelligence. These facets converge to give rise to sophisticated neuro-controller models capable of replicating and potentially enhancing human motor functions. This has far-reaching implications, from the evolution of rehabilitation strategies that resonate within the community to pioneering advancements in prosthetic control and sensory feedback systems. 

By aligning this project with real-world needs, the program envisages a future where its scholars' efforts culminate in tangible outcomes. These outcomes include novel rehabilitation methodologies that extend well beyond traditional approaches, revolutionizing the support provided to individuals grappling with conditions like ALS, Parkinson's, and Stroke. The project seeks to empower its recipients to become harbingers of transformative change at the intersection of sensorimotor research, technology, and community-based well-being. 

Eligibility

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22. 

How to apply

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable)
  • Evidence of funding

To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert

For information about the application process please contact the Faculty Admissions Team:

e:

Biological Sciences (4) Engineering (12) Mathematics (25) Medicine (26) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

This project is open to applicants who have the funding to support their own studies or who have a sponsor who will cover these costs.

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