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PhD Studentship: Predictors of neuropsychological outcome in paediatric immune-mediated encephalitis’

Life and Health Sciences - Studentships

Location:  Aston University Main Campus
Basis:  Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Friday 31 May 2019
Reference:  R190161

We have an exciting opportunity for an outstanding graduate to undertake a prestigious Silver Jubilee PhD Studentship, supported by the Encephalitis Society, and supervised by Prof Amanda Wood and Dr Sukhvir Wright.

Background: Recognition of paediatric autoimmune/ immune-mediated encephalitis (e.g. NMDAR-Ab encephalitis) has rapidly increased over the last ten years. While we are apparently succeeding in the diagnosis and identification and even early treatment of these encephalitidies with studies describing that more than 80% are making a ‘good’ recovery, we are now recognising that a ‘good’ medical outcome does not account for the neuropsychological, social and behavioural sequelae that are seen in our patients. 

Activities: This fellowship will recruit patients with autoimmune/immune-mediated encephalitis, in retrospective and prospective cohorts, along with healthy and disease controls to identify predictors of poor outcome/recovery using a combination of brain MRI (imaging), magnetoencephalopathy (MEG) scans (advanced neurophysiology) and neuropsychological assessments. This information will allow us to identify the pathophysiological link between structural MRI lesions, brain activity, clinical presentation and subsequent cognitive outcomes in affected patients. Early identification of patients at risk of cognitive problems will allow treating clinicians to focus and consolidate treatments on those most at risk, including targeted neuropsychological interventions. The successful candidate will receive strong support from a broader research team that focuses on translational neuroscience research. Training in relevant project skills (e.g. image analysis, cognitive assessments, where appropriate) as well as career development is an integral part of the fellowship.   

Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Amanda Wood at:, or Dr Sukhvir Wright at: The successful applicant will be based in the Department of Psychology at Aston University.

Financial Support:

The studentship is open to Home/EU students and comprises of a tax-free stipend at the 2019/20 UKRI rate of £15,009 per annum and payment of Home/EU tuition fees only. The studentship is available for three years, subject to satisfactory progress review at the end of the first year, with an expected registration of October 2019.

Application Requirements: 

- Eligible Applicants should hold at least a Bachelor (Hons.) Degree of either 1st Class/ 2.1 or MSc/MRes in a relevant subject

- Experience with neuroimaging and/or cognitive assessments using clinical tools is highly desirable. 

- EU Applicants will need to demonstrate adequate proficiency in English Language skills; e.g., IELTS scores of a minimum of 6.0 in each section and an overall band of 6.5.

Please apply online at: Choose the Research Full-time Neurosciences option and quote reference: ‘PhD_Wood_Wright’ on your application.

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Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via





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