Project 3 aims to improve Deep Brain Stimulation technology for Parkinson’s disease patients. The study will focus on establishing factors influencing evoked neural activity within the subthalamic nucleus of healthy and Parkinsonian rats.

Value and duration

  • Full research tuition fee scholarship for 3 years with possible extension to 3.5 years
  • Stipend valued at a minimum of AUD 31,000 per year (pro-rata), for 3 years with possible extension to 3.5 years
  • Candidates will be based at Bionics Institute Melbourne periodically throughout their PhD program. Remainder of the candidature will be spent at RMIT’s city and/or Bundoora campuses.  

Number of scholarships

Two for 2020 (Commencement between February and July 2020)

Eligibility

This scholarship is for PhD Candidates only.

Applicants must hold, or be currently completing:

  • A Master by research
  • A Master by coursework with a significant research component graded as high distinction, or equivalent
  • An Honours degree achieving first class honours
  • A 4 year Bachelor degree achieving a GPA of 4, or equivalent (80% or above)
  • Publications or significant research experience that could be considered equivalent

You must provide evidence of English language proficiency and meet the English language requirement of the research program before the application closing date of the scholarship round.

In addition to the above, to be eligible for this scholarship you must:

  • Not already hold a PhD or equivalent

How to apply

Consult with the supervisors (see contacts below) before writing your research proposal. 

Send the following documents to student.enquiries@bionicsinstitute.org:

  • Cover letter
  • CV
  • University transcripts
  • Statement of interest in research topic

If your proposal is successful, you will be required to submit an Expression of Interest via the online applicant portal. Full application instructions can be viewed on the School of Graduate Research How to Apply website.

You are required to apply for program DR220 (PhD - Electrical and Electronic Engineering)

Close date

Applicant Type EOI due date Application due date

International

Domestic

3 February 2020

31 March 2020

29 February 2020

30 April 2020

 

Please note scholarship applications may close sooner than the dates listed above if suitable applicant are identified.

Terms and conditions

As the holder of this scholarship:

  • you must commence your studies by 31 July 2020;
  • you are not able to defer your studies to another year;
  • if a deferral is required, you must apply again the following year if you are unable to take up your award

Further information

The Bionics Institute (http://www.bionicsinstitute.org/) and RMIT offer unique, vibrant, and multidisciplinary research environments in which experience and skills can be attained across research areas related to improved technology for hearing, vision (bionic eyes), and neurological disorders (e.g. deep brain stimulation for movement disorders).

Parkinson’s disease affects 1% of the population over 60 years of age. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus within the basal ganglia is a well-established therapy for advanced Parkinson’s disease. Although DBS can improve patients’ motor symptoms, it is currently sub-optimal as stimulation levels are typically fixed and do not respond to patients’ needs, which fluctuate from day-to-day. Recently, our clinical research team discovered a unique neural response we termed “evoked resonant neural activity (ERNA)” in the subthalamic nucleus of Parkinson’s patients undergoing DBS surgery. ERNA has the potential to be used as a disease-state indicator for developing adaptive DBS, i.e., stimulation level automatically adjusts to patients’ symptoms. This study will utilize preclinical experiments with healthy and ‘Parkinson’s disease’ rats to establish factors influencing ERNA and the generator of ERNA. For more information see http://www.bionicsinstitute.org/projects/using-a-novel-biomarker-for-adaptive-deep-brain-stimulation-in-parkinsons-disease-preclinical-studies/ 

Contact

arman.ahnood@rmit.edu.au

jvillalobos@bionicsinstitute.org