PhD Opportunity - Biomarker for early Alzheimer's disease

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A PhD opportunity exists for someone with biological and analytic skills who would be interested in taking advantage of collected data from an NHMRC funded study focussed on a novel potential biomarker for early Alzheimer's disease under the supervision of Conjoint Associate Professor Peter Schofield and Professor John Attia.

The first phase of data collection, i.e. baseline cognitive, olfactory, medical, neurological, psychological, functional and biological data have been collected on 300+ older individuals. A subset of these individuals has also undergone structural brain imaging (MRI).

The data lend themselves to exploring the associations between the novel olfactory measure, called the Olfactory Stress Test, and a range of other parameters, including those that furnish some index of Alzheimer's disease risk. As part of the OST, we have conventional objective measures on these individuals using two different test instruments, as well as a subjective report of olfactory performance. Measures of brain reserve, intellectual engagement, resilience, and depression are also available, allowing for analyses that examine for novel relationships between these variables.

Specific aims that could be examined as part of the PhD include:

  1. What is the association of olfaction with cognition in this sample?
  2. Is the association between cognition and olfaction mediated by measures of brain reserve or cognitive reserve?
  3. What is the association between cognition and the Olfactory Stress Test in this sample? To what extent is this association influenced by performance on conventional olfactory testing?
  4. What is the association between subjective and objective memory complaints in this sample, and is this influenced by APOE genotype?
  5. To what extent are measures of resilience related to cognitive engagement or cognitive performance, cross-sectionally?

A second wave of data collection will commence in several years.


Applications are open to international and domestic candidates.

Application procedure

Interested applicants are advised to send an email expressing their interest.

Contact: Conjoint Associate Professor Peter Schofield - Clinical Director, Neuropsychiatry Service
Telephone: 0438 649 211

Applications are open until a suitable candidate is found

Find out more about applying for PhD and research masters at UON