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Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

Edinburgh United Kingdom Bioinformatics Biomedical Engineering Biophysics Data Analysis Data Science Electronic Engineering Medical Physics Neurology Neuroscience

About the Project

The Advanced Care Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh is a new £20m interdisciplinary research collaboration aiming to transform later life with person centred integrated care

The vision of the ACRC is to play a vital role in addressing the Grand Challenge of ageing by transformational research that will support the functional ability of people in later life so they can contribute to their own welfare for longer. With fresh and diverse thinking across interdisciplinary perspectives our academy students will work to creatively embed deep understanding, data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics into systems of health and social care supporting the independence, dignity and quality-of-life of people living in their own homes and in supported care environments.

The ACRC Academy will equip future leaders to drive society’s response to the challenges of later life care provision; a problem which is growing in scale, complexity and urgency.


Vision is our primary sense and a key determinant of independent function and life quality. A major proportion of brain function is devoted to visual processing allowing us to make sense of the world. Vision in general, and reading in particular sits at the heart of physical and emotional wellbeing for many people, from books to medicine bottles and communication with the outside world by email or text. Reading assumes especial importance in the context of frailty and poor mobility of older age, as highlighted in the current covid19 era forcing many elderly individuals to remain isolated indoors.

Increased lighting is required for reading and safe navigation as we age, more so for those affected by chronic eye diseases most commonly age-related macular degeneration (AMD). There is increasing reliance on backlit electronic devices and high output LEDs to enable reading. An undesirable consequence of excessive light exposure, especially shorter wavelength blue later in the day, is disruption to circadian rhythms mediated through neural connections between the eyes and brain. This impacts all aspects of physiology and health including sleep quality and cognitive functioning.

Following several of our recent successful PhDs, the use of head-mounted displays to aid reading in macular disease, the photobiology of blue light interactions with the retina and LED models of AMD, the purpose of this PhD project is to examine screen-based technologies to enhance reading performance, general health and quality of life of older people in their home environment. The successful student will investigate the interface between the benefit of screen-based technology and risk of intolerance in using increased ambient luminance for reading, and explore novel ways to remotely monitor the interaction in this clinically relevant project which usefully translates to patient care in the community.

Funding Notes

PhD's are fully funded with an above industry stipend for the full 4 year period.

The call is open to candidates of any nationality but funded places for overseas nationals will be strictly limited to 3 international students who can apply for the highly competitive ACRC Global Scholarship.

Application forms are now available here:
View Website

Find more information on how to apply on the How to Apply section of our website:
View Website


Video PhD Introduction

ACRC Academy Video:

The Scottish Collaborative Optometry-Ophthalmology Network e-research (SCONe)
Prof B Dhillion
Prof I Underwood

Dynamic text presentation on smart glasses: A pilot evaluation in age-related macular degeneration
Moshtael H, Underwood I, Nuthmann A, Underwood I, Dhillon B
British Journal of Visual Impairment 2020, Vol. 38(1) 24–37
Blue-light induced breakdown of barrier function on human retinal epithelial cells is mediated by PKC-zeta over-activation and oxidative stress.
Ozkaya EK, Anderson G, Dhillon B, Bagnaninchi PO.Exp Eye Res. 2019 Dec;189:107817. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2019.107817. Epub 2019 Sep 26
High Tech Aids Low Vision: A Review of Image Processing for the Visually Impaired.
Moshtael H, Aslam T, Underwood I and Dhillon B.Transl Vis Sci Technol. 2015 Aug 14;4(4):6. doi: 10.1167/tvst.4.4.6. eCollection 2015 Aug
New light for old eyes: comparing melanopsin-mediated non-visual benefits of blue-light and UV-blocking intraocular lenses.
Schmoll C, Khan A, Aspinall P, Goudie C, Koay P, Tendo C, Cameron J, Roe J, Deary I and Dhillon B. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Jan;98(1):124-8. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2013-304024. Epub 2013 Oct 24
Reaction time as a measure of enhanced blue-light mediated cognitive function following cataract surgery.
Schmoll C, Tendo C, Aspinall P and Dhillon B. Br J Ophthalmol. 2011 Dec;95(12):1656-9. doi: 10.1136/bjophthalmol-2011-300677. Epub 2011 Sep 27
The role of retinal regulation of sleep in health and disease.
Schmoll C, Lascaratos G, Dhillon B, Skene D, Riha RL.Sleep Med Rev. 2011 Apr;15(2):107-13. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2010.06.001. Epub 2010 Oct 30

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