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Producing a mobility outcome measure for use in clinical trials for eye disease

   Vice Chancellor's PhD Studentships

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  Dr Matthew Timmis, Dr Jasleen Jolly, Dr Keziah Latham  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

When testing new treatments in clinical trials, using the right outcome measures can be critical in the success or failure of the trial. This is ever more important with the development of new treatments for inherited eye diseases. This project will focus on designing a new mobility outcome measure for use in future clinical trials, particularly in inherited retinal diseases.

Mobility is an essential daily living skill yet there is no adequate way of measuring it. This project will try to understand what a previously published orientation and mobility course designed for use in Lebers Congenital Amaurosis gene therapy trials is measuring and how we can improve on this design in order to make it easier to implement worldwide. This is vital as so many genetic eye diseases that were previously untreatable, are now entering human trials.

This project will lead to novel research findings, opportunities to attend and present at conferences and to publish world leading papers. There may also be the opportunity to experience another research centre overseas during the PhD period.

About the supervisors:

Dr Matthew Timmis is an Associate Professor in Sport & Exercise Science. He is a BASES accredited sport and exercise scientist and Chartered Scientist. He has expertise in studying mobility following visual impairment.

Dr Jasleen Jolly is an Associate Professor in Vision and Eye Research with extensive experience of multidisciplinary research in inherited retinal degenerations. She worked in the gene therapy trials in the University of Oxford for many years assessing patients and optimising outcome measures.

Dr Keziah Latham is an Associate Professor and Director of the Vision and Hearing Sciences Research Group. Keziah is a practising optometrist specialising in visual assessment of people with impaired vision. She runs the Low Vision Clinic in our University Eye Clinic.

This project will combine multiple disciplines and is ideally suited to someone from a vision background such as optometry, ophthalmology, orthoptics, psychology, vision rehabilitation or similar. It may also suit someone with an interest in human movement / gait analysis. For more information please get in touch with Dr Jasleen Jolly ([Email Address Removed]) or Dr Matthew Timmis ([Email Address Removed]). 

Candidate requirements

Applicants should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum upper second-class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a cognate discipline. A Masters’ degree in a relevant subject is desirable.

Applicants must be prepared to study on a full-time basis, attending at our Cambridge campus. The Vice Chancellor’s PhD scholarship awards are open to Home fee status applicants only.

Application Procedures

Applications for a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship are made through the application portal on our website:

We will review all applications after the submission deadline of 6th June. We will contact shortlisted applicants in the week commencing 20th June. Interviews will be held between 27th June - 8th July.

If you have any queries relating to the application process or the terms and conditions of the scholarships, please email [Email Address Removed]

Documentation required

You will need the following documents available electronically to upload them to the application portal (we can accept files in pdf, jpeg or Word format):

  1. Certificates and transcripts from your Bachelor and Masters degrees, (if applicable)
  2. Your personal statement explaining your suitability for the project (please upload this in the "research outline" section of the application form).
  3. Passport and visa (if applicable)
  4. Curriculum Vitae

Funding Notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s scholarship award which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the scholarship Terms and conditions which can be found on our website:


Chung, D.C., McCague, S., Yu, Z.F., Thill, S., DiStefano‐Pappas, J., Bennett, J., Cross, D., Marshall, K., Wellman, J. and High, K.A., 2018. Novel mobility test to assess functional vision in patients with inherited retinal dystrophies. Clinical & experimental ophthalmology, 46(3), pp.247-259.
Jolly JK, Bridge H, MacLaren RE. Outcome Measures Used in Ocular Gene Therapy Trials: A Scoping Review of Current Practice. Frontiers in Pharmacology 2019
Liew G, Michaelides M, Bunce C. A comparison of the causes of blindness certifications in England and Wales in working age adults (16–64 years), 1999–2000 with 2009–2010 BMJ Open 2014;4:e004015.
Turano, K.A., Rubin, G.S. and Quigley, H.A., 1999. Mobility performance in glaucoma.
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