PhD studentship in Psychology (closing date 28th April 2017)
The effect of CPAP therapy on memory consolidation and sleep architecture in adults with obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome.
Supervisors: Dr Lisa Henderson, Department of Psychology & Professor Gareth Gaskell, Department of Psychology;
Industry Supervisor: John White (York NHS Hospital Trust)
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome (OSAS) affects 2-4% of adults. It is characterised by repeated episodes of upper airway obstruction during sleep, resulting in hypoxia and disturbed sleep. OSAS is strongly linked to obesity, poor mental health and impaired cognitive function, creating a substantial socio-economic burden.
Sleep affects the consolidation process that strengthens newly formed memories. A strongly supported view is that newly encountered information is first stored temporarily in the hippocampus, with components of sleep such as “slow oscillations” (<1 Hz) promoting transfer to longer-term neocortical sites. Few studies have examined memory consolidation in patients with OSAS, with no studies incorporating EEG to examine whether impariments in memory consolidatioin are linked to poor sleep patterns.
OSAS is treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), requiring patients to wear a face mask during sleep to regulate breathing. Preliminary evidence suggests that CPAP can lead to immediate changes in sleep architecture, including increased slow-wave sleep. However, we do not know if these benefits maintain over time and/or extend to memory consolidation. By addressing these gaps, the proposed research will have clear clinical value and broader benefits for advancing theories of sleep-dependent consolidation across patient and non-patient populations.
Depending on experience, this studentship is available as either a 1+3 or a +3 basis. Students on a 1+3 programme will undertake the UoY's Masters in Social Research, covering ESRC's core training requirements. Funding will cover: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£14,296 for 2016-2017), (ii) research costs, and (iii) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Full studentships are available to UK and EU students who meet the ESRC residency requirements (for further details see the ESRC Funding Guide, page 9 and Annex 1). Students from EU countries who do not meet the ESRC residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Your eligibility for the studentship will be assessed once you submit a formal application.
Essential: BSc degree in Psychology, Biology, Medical Sciences or a related discipline at 2.1 or above, with excellent project mark (completed or expected by October 2017); previous experience with designing research studies and collecting data from human participants; firm interest in sleep, memory and/or clinical practice.
Desirable: Relevant Masters degree; experience of conducting research on sleep and/or in a clinical context; experience of recruiting adults for research studies; experience and knowledge of sleep or wake-based EEG, including methodology and analysis; excellent grades in research design and/or statistics.
This PhD project is part of the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Centre. By combining the expertise of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, the DTC delivers excellent supervision, first class training and vibrant intellectual environments for postgraduate research students.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview at the University of York the 20th April.
Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. Applications for this programme are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full programme details for further information.
FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.90
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