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Using the function and structure of the motor unit to predict disease course in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Project Description

Motor neurone disease causes progressive muscle paralysis and remains a fatal condition. One of the challenges faced in clinical practice and research is the heterogeneity of the phenotype. For example, in some people weakness is more prominent in the arms, in others the legs, and vice versa. Disease progression is also highly variable making clinical trial design challenging and meaning supportive interventions are often implemented in reactively, rather than proactively.
In the present project the student will use a range of sophisticated electrophysiological measurements (e.g. motor unit number index (MUNIX), impedance spectroscopy) allied to comprehensive clinical data to explore how patient symptoms progress. This will help us to understand how symptoms develop and when interventions, for example, feeding tubes, are required. The student will work within a world-renowned clinical research team and gain experience of delivering a complex clinical research study. The student will be expected to present their work locally and internationally. Our previous students have successfully engaged with such opportunities, for example, winning the Best Clinical Poster Prize at the International Symposium on ALS/MND in Glasgow, UK (December 2018).

Funding Notes

These studentships will be 42 months in duration, and include home fee and stipend at UKRI rate.

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience. Students from physical science backgrounds wishing to transfer their skills into a clinical research environment are welcome to apply.


Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr James Alix ([email protected])

How to apply:
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.

Deadline for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 29th January 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. Interviews are scheduled to be held on Tuesday 25th February 2020.

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