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PHD Studentship: Myopia and Visual Development Within the Born in Bradford Cohort

Full-time: available
Part-time: not available
Prospective PG students (inc. current UG): available
Current PG students: not available
Entry year: 2021/22
Undergraduate: not available
Postgraduate taught: not available
Postgraduate research: available
1 award available

About the award

The prevalence of myopia (short-sightedness) is rapidly increasing globally, including in the UK where the prevalence has doubled over the last 50 years. There is literally a pandemic of myopia! While myopia is easily correctable with spectacles, contact lenses or surgery, its effects are not entirely optical; myopia is associated with an increased risk of developing sight-threatening conditions such as retinal detachment and glaucoma in adulthood compared to non-myopic individuals, and more myopia is associated with more risk. Myopia development is known to have a complex aetiology of genetic and environmental influences, but the factors leading to its onset and progression are not well understood.
Born in Bradford (BiB) is a large dataset of children in the City of Bradford consisting of diverse cohort of 12-13 year olds for whom detailed genetic and socio-economic data exist. In a large sub-sample of the BiB children (~4000), vision and refractive data exist from when they were 4-5 years of age.
This project will investigate the current visual status and visual history of the BiB children. This project will involve establishing the vision and refractive status (e.g. whether or not they have become myopic) of the BiB cohort now that they are at an age when myopia typically develops. One of the main questions that will be addressed is whether the vision and refraction data gathered at the age of 4-5 is useful in predicting who will and who will not become myopic in the teenage years. The project will also seek to identify the genetic and environmental factors that predispose children to the onset and development of myopia.
This project will involve two main phases. The first involves gathering of vision and refraction data from the BiB children in their school settings. The seconds will involve working with the large dataset to address specific research questions using data analysis techniques. The project will provide a chance to work in a multi-disciplinary team, alongside a range of biomedical and healthcare researchers.  The successful candidate will join the Myopia Research Group, based in the Wolfson Centre for Applied Health Research and the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of Bradford. The supervision team consists of General Optical Council-registered vision scientists and bioinformaticians/health data researchers, who will supervise the project and offer support. The project has scope to expand to post-doctorate research related to visual development.




Eligibility criteria

The successful applicant will hold a minimum of an upper class honours degree (2:1 or above). This project may suit graduates with backgrounds in optometry or eye-care, medicine, orthoptics, psychology, neuroscience, quantitative genetics, bioinformatics, or a healthcare discipline. Previous experience of either health services or quantitative research methodology/bioinformatics is desirable, but not essential. Training will be provided, including in gathering vision and refraction data for non-eye care professionals, and for bioinformatics statistical data analysis. You will be required to have an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check due to the nature of the project.
This project is available as a fully funded full-time PhD. Candidates are strongly encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Informal enquiries are also welcome.


Eligible countries

Students from all countries, who meet the criteria, are eligible.

Payment amount & frequency

This project has full funding for UK students, which will cover tuition and bench fees, and a stipend for living costs. Non-UK students, including those from EU countries, may be considered but would need to self-fund the difference between UK and International fees

How to apply

Applicants should apply via the following link

Application deadline: 26 March 2021


Find out more

For informal enquiries, please contact: 

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