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Sensory control of balance: Investigating sensory integration of vestibular, proprioceptive and visual feedback for balance

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Reynolds
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The vestibular system provides important sensory information for controlling balance in standing humans. However, for the brain to correctly interpret vestibular information it must be combined with other sensory modalities, including touch, proprioception and vision. Any breakdown in this integration process, caused by sensory loss or deficits in neural processing, will compromise balance and may result in a fall.This project will therefore investigate sensory integration of vestibular, proprioceptive and visual feedback for balance. We will employ Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation to evoke balance responses, and determine how changes in posture and vision affect these response. Evoked balance responses will be measured using force platforms and motion capture equipment.

Applications are sought from graduates with a neuroscience, physiology or engineering background.

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Funding Notes

We welcome applications from Home/EU and overseas students. The University of Birmingham offers a number of competitive scholarships for students of the highest calibre. Further details are available at : http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/students/fees/postgraduate/scholarships/index.aspx.
Students are also welcome to apply with their own funding for this project, either through their own person funds or by securing a scholarship.
Eligibility requirements: An Undergraduate Honours degree with a minimum classification of a 2.1 or equivalent and an English Language qualification for international students.

References

1: Reynolds RF. Vertical torque responses to vestibular stimulation in standing
humans. J Physiol. 2011 Aug 15;589(Pt 16):3943-53.

2: Reynolds RF. The effect of voluntary sway control on the early and late
components of the vestibular-evoked postural response. Exp Brain Res. 2010
Mar;201(2):133-9.

3: Day BL, Reynolds RF. Vestibular reafference shapes voluntary movement. Curr
Biol. 2005 Aug 9;15(15):1390-4.

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.40

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