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Sleep disordered breathing and its relationship to other diseases

Project Description

Breathing is a vital function that is essential for life, and any disorders effecting respiration have severe consequences. Sleep apnoea (brief periods where breathing ceases during sleep), is a relatively common disorder of breathing, which occurs in ~25% of men and ~10% of women. Although sleep apnoea can be caused by a loss of respiratory drive (central sleep apnoea) or collapsing of the airway (obstructive sleep apnoea), both forms share a common pathophysiology via repeated bouts of oxygen deprivation and elevated carbon dioxide levels. These chronic intermittent changes in blood gases induce physiological changes causing patients that suffer from sleep apnoea to be more likely to develop other disease such as: dementia, and cardiovascular diseases.

We have recently created a stable and realistic model of central sleep apnoea, allowing an in depth study into this disorder. The project will begin by further characterising this model via an array of physiological recordings, in in vivo and in vitro perparations. To further understand the neurobiological changes caused by sleep apnoea, the student will perform behavioural studies of cognition, and make electrophysiological recordings from specific brain regions related to learning and memory. To determine the link between sleep apnoea other diseases, we will employ molecular studies involving PCR, ELISA, and immunocytochemistry to identify possible biochemical markers of those diseases, as well as potential signalling molecules that induce them.

In addition to a wide range of transferrable skills such as: critical thinking, analysis and reflection, and oral and written communication, the student will learn a variety of state-of-the-art molecular, electrophysiological and imaging techniques that will be of value in a future career in academic research or in the pharmaceutical industry.

Key experimental skills involved: In vivo microscopy, electrophysiology, plethysmography, in vitro preparations, ELISA, PCR.

Funding Notes

This studentship will cover full tuition fees in full at the Home/EU rate and an annual stipend of at least £14,777 for 3 years.

How good is research at University of Warwick in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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