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Network-based cognitive training in amnestic mild cognitive impairment: Effect on memory and neuroanatomical variables that influence response to treatment

Project Description

Project for inclusion in China Scholarship Council – University of Sheffield competition

More information is available at https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/scholarships/csc


Candidates must:

• be a citizen and permanent resident of the People’s Republic of China at the time of application. Overseas Chinese students may be eligible for application subject to CSC policy
• fulfil the relevant entry requirements of the University of Sheffield, including a high level of English language proficiency, and be issued with an unconditional offer letter from the University
• meet the selection criteria set out by CSC

Patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are at a particularly high risk of developing dementia of the Alzheimer’s type. It is of primary importance to identify clinical strategies to minimise this risk. In this respect, cognitive training represents a safe and viable treatment option.

In this project the student will investigate the effects of an in-house programme of cognitive training designed to up-regulate functional connectivity of the brain’s default mode network through a series of exercises centred around semantic memory processing. While the neural mechanisms at the basis of the programme have been thoroughly investigated and validated, it is not clear to what extent these result in meaningful clinical improvement of memory performance. To investigate this, the student will test the efficacy of the programme on the trained domain (semantic memory), the clinically-targeted domain (episodic memory) and will also establish the link between treatment response and the integrity of mediotemporal lobe structure.

The findings of this PhD project will inform the definition of further research projects aiming at a future use of network-based cognitive training as standard option for the treatment of patients with amnestic MCI who are suspected to be at the prodromal phase of Alzheimer’s disease.

Funding Notes

Successful applicants will receive scholarships which will include funding for travel between China and the UK, a stipend to cover living costs and international tuition fees. The duration of each scholarship will be up to 48 months.

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience.



Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here: www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select 'Neuroscience' as the department.

PLEASE NOTE: This project is also open to other schemes within the University of Sheffield, which are currently being advertised.

DEADLINE – 5pm on Wednesday 15th January 2020
Candidates who secure unconditional offers by 29th January 2020 will be considered by the University for nomination to the CSC in Spring 2020. Offers will be made subject to satisfactory performance at interview.

Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Matteo de Marco ([email protected])

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