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An exploration of the mechanisms of pain interference with the automaticity of gait and balance in people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Harrison
    Prof Dixon
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A stipend of £15,000 per annum is offered to a strong candidate for a full-time PhD scholarship within the Health and Social Care Institute at Teesside University. The scholarship is funded by Teesside University, and will be for three years subject to satisfactory progress.

The studentship will be part of the Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) in Applied Biosciences for Health
(http://www.unialliance.ac.uk/dta/), a University Alliance initiative which aims to deliver a new approach to postgraduate research training. The DTA builds on the research strengths and industry-focused ethos of the Alliance Universities, and offers funded doctoral programmes which deliver excellent research with a broader impact on society, backed by an expert network of support and shared training opportunities.

COPD is characterised by airflow limitation leading to symptoms of breathlessness. Both COPD and chronic pain are common long-term conditions and both are known to detrimentally affect how people walk and their balance. Co-morbidity, where people have more than one condition at the same time, is a feature of long-term condition management, and many people are living with both COPD and chronic pain together. Yet there has been no study to date that has explored how gait and balance problems in COPD are affected by the comorbidity of pain. Automaticity provides a theoretical context based on neurophysiology, in which this can be studied.

The PhD programme will be constructed around a series of lab-based studies. Gait and balance will be measured with the Gaitrite walkway, the Kistler forceplate and the Balance Evaluation Systems Test. The student will be expected to work with the supervisory team to design appropriate and relevant studies, although a central study will be a comparison of gait and balance between people with COPD and no pain, and people with COPD and chronic pain. The research tasks will involve rigorous and systematic reviews of literature, measurement of gait, biomechanical and clinical measurement of balance and neurophysiological measurement.

The supervisory team will be Dr Samantha Harrison (Director of Studies) with Professor John Dixon and Professor Denis Martin.

The Health and Social Care Institute is an innovative and supportive research community, with a strong emphasis on publication and influencing healthcare practice. The successful candidate will be expected to participate fully in Institute activities, including training sessions and workshops, and will also become a member of the University’s wider postgraduate research community. Mentoring and support will be provided for the development of a strong academic CV during the PhD.

Entry Requirements
Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a good honours degree (2.1 or above) or Masters level qualification in physiotherapy, physiology, sport science or a closely related discipline. The successful applicant will have a demonstrable understanding of physiological, biomechanical and clinical measurements. Experience working with clinical populations and/or older adults would be advantageous.

You can apply online for this opportunity. Please use the standard PhD full time application form, and state the studentship title and Director of Studies in the personal statement section. As part of the application, you are expected to upload a proposal to detail how you would address the project.

Closing Date: Monday 28th March, 5pm. We envisage that interviews will take place in April 2016. The successful applicant will be expected to start in October 2016.

Funding Notes

Although we can accept applications from overseas students, the funding will only cover a home student fee. The difference between the home and international student fee would be payable by the applicant.

How good is research at Teesside University in Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 16.00

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

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