PhD Studentship: Using non-invasive brain stimulation to improve upper limb function in the elderly

United Kingdom
Jan 10, 2018
Feb 16, 2018
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Research interests/description of main research theme:



A gradual decline in motor performance is an inevitable consequence of increasing age. This is due to several factors that include, but are not limited to, central neuronal loss, sensory decline and peripheral changes. Given the increasing elderly population, interventions that will help improve or prolong good motor function into old age could be key to improving the independence, health and well-being of the ageing population.
The aim of this PhD is to explore the use transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) to improve upper limb use in the elderly. TDCS is a form of brain stimulation which is non-invasive, safe, painless and simple to apply. TDCS can be used to excite targeted brain areas by passing a low electrical current through the brain. This type of stimulation has been shown to improve motor performance and motor learning in both elderly and younger people. We want to now thoroughly investigate how TDCS improves motor control of the upper limbs in older people. We will use TDCS in combination with lab based motor tests of various aspects of upper limb control: for example, coordination, movement speed and accuracy. These tests will be carried out on groups of young, middle aged and elderly participants, in order to capture the changes that take place with advanced age.

The outcomes of the study will show which aspects of sensorimotor control can be best improved with the application of TDCS (and to what limits), and will provide the evidence base for the use of TDCS as an intervention for improving upper limb function in old age.


Person Specification

Applicants should have a strong background in sensorimotor neuroscience and interest in the control of human movement, and should ideally experience in non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. They should have a commitment to research in the neuroscience of motor control and hold or realistically expect to obtain at least an Upper Second Class Honours Degree in neuroscience or related subject.


How to apply

Informal enquiries should be directed to


Funding Notes

3-year funded studentship through the MRC-ARUK Centre for Musculoskeletal Ageing Research (CMAR). Students should have home or EU status: and have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship to be eligible for the full award (tuition fees, research support costs, and a tax-free stipend at the Research Council rate). Applicants who have been 'ordinarily resident' in another EU member state may be eligible for a fees only award. Please see RCUK terms and conditions for further information.

This studentship is full-time and will begin on 1st of October 2018

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