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Multimodal imaging for the early diagnosis of dementia (SAMIS_U23FMH)

   Norwich Medical School

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  Dr S Sami  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


The retina shares it developmental origins with the brain and may be vulnerable to the same neurodegenerative processes that affect it. Recent advances in ophthalmologic imaging have opened a new frontier in the study of dementia and the central nervous system.  

The PhD project will build on recent developments in ophthalmology, neuroscience and artificial intelligence with the aim of developing improved diagnostic models of healthy ageing and transitions into cognitive decline that will subsequently help improve dementia diagnosis and provide the foundations for new interventions.  

Research methodology 

This project is part of is a multidisciplinary collaboration between several teams aiming to determine the effectiveness of non-invasive ocular measurement of retinal as a biomarker for early diagnosis of dementia. The work will require the prospective PhD candidate to actively, collaborate with pre-clinical research groups at the University of East Anglia, and the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital.  


Engagement with international multidisciplinary teams in highly ambitious projects in an inspiring and collaborative environment.  

Various opportunities for further education, training and professional growth. 

Person specification 

- A BSc or MSc in Engineering, Computer Science, Neuroscience or comparable degree.  

- Good programming skills, experience in at least one of the following: MATLAB, Python, and   Java/C++.  

- Background in imaging and image/ time series analysis (preferably with experience in retinal imaging /image analysis). 

- Knowledge of Machine learning techniques  

- Excellent command of written and spoken English  

Funding Notes

This PhD project is in a Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences competition for funded studentships. These studentships are funded for 3 years and comprise UK fees, an annual stipend of £17,668 and £1,000 per annum for research training (RTSG). Overseas applicants (including EU) may apply but are required to fund the difference between Home and International tuition fees.


Sami S, Hughes LE, Williams N, Cope T, Henson R, Rowe JB Neurophysiological signatures of Alzheimer’s disease and Frontotemporal lobar degeneration: pathology versus phenotype Brain. 2018;141(8):2500-2510.
Carr, T., Sanderson, J., Broadway, D., & Sami, S. (2021). Interpretable staged transfer learning improves OCT classification and clinical explanation of retinal diseases from small sample sizes. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 62(8), 2119–2119
Passamonti L, Vázquez Rodríguez P, Hong YT, Allinson KS, Williamson D, Borchert RJ, Sami S, Cope TE, Bevan-Jones WR, Jones PS, Arnold R, Surendranathan A, Mak E, Su L, Fryer TD, Aigbirhio FI, O'Brien JT, Rowe JB. 18F-AV-1451 positron emission tomography in Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. Brain. 2017 Mar 1;140(3):781-791
Iaccarino, H., Singer, A., Martorell, A. et al. Gamma frequency entrainment attenuates amyloid load and modifies microglia. Nature 540, 230–235 (2016).
Sprugnoli, G., Munsch, F., Cappon, D. et al. Impact of multisession 40Hz tACS on hippocampal perfusion in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Alz Res Therapy 13, 203 (2021).
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