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MRC Precision Medicine DTP: Developing non-invasive transcranial neuro-stimulation into a precision tool for cognitive enhancement in Schizophrenia using multi-modal neuroimaging

Project Description

Prof Gregor Thut
Prof Peter Uhlhaas

Project summary:
Impairments in cognitive processes in Schizophrenia (ScZ) constitute a fundamental aspect of the disorder and encompass both basic perceptual and higher cognitive functions. These deficits appear to be present prior to the onset of psychosis and determine the functional
outcome of ScZ-patients better than psychopathological variables. Despite this overwhelming evidence, the neurobiological mechanisms that give rise to neurocognitive impairments in ScZ remain elusive and treatment options limited. The current PhD project will examine the
hypothesis that aberrant neural oscillations constitute a neurobiological basis for cognitive impairments in ScZ and that these neural oscillations and cognitive deficits can be restored using novel non-invasive intervention approaches based on rhythmic neuro-stimulation.
The research involves a combination of advanced transcranial brain stimulation and multimodal neuroimaging techniques in a new principled framework for guiding interventions. Specifically, the PhD-student will employ cutting-edge magnetoencephalography (MEG) and detailed anatomical information from MRI to guide rhythmic non-invasive (transcranial) brain stimulation (NTBS) by individually tailored parameters to optimize outcome and systematically test specific hypotheses in both healthy controls and patients.
Combining expertise in clinical and human systems neuroscience and behavioural neurophysiology, this project will produce new mechanistic insights into the origin of cognitive deficits and circuit dysfunctions in ScZ, and help develop novel treatment strategies by testing non-invasive brain stimulation and oscillatory targets as to their therapeutic promise.

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location. Please note that your application along with any supporting documents will be shared between both the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

For information on ‘How to Apply’ is detailed here: https://www.gla.ac.uk/colleges/mvls/graduateschool/precisionmedicine/howtoapply/
Please note that all applications must be submitted via the University of Edinburgh: http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees/index.php?r=site/view&id=919

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you must contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the link above.

For more information about Precision Medicine visit: http://www.ed.ac.uk/usher/precision-medicine

Funding Notes

Start: September 2020

Qualifications criteria: Applicants applying for a MRC DTP in Precision Medicine studentship must have obtained, or will soon obtain, a first or upper-second class UK honours degree or equivalent non-UK qualification, in an appropriate science/technology area.

Residence criteria: The MRC DTP in Precision Medicine grant provides tuition fees and stipend of at least £15,009 (RCUK rate 2019/20) for UK and EU nationals that meet all required eligibility criteria.

Full eligibility details are available: View Website

Enquiries regarding programme:

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