Chronic sleep disruption impacts on quality of life and can lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer (Cable et al, Ann N Y Acad Sci 2021). Importantly in people with underlying chronic health conditions, circadian disruption can exacerbate symptoms, disease severity and cause disease progression.
Light signalled by photoreceptors in the retina is the most important cue for setting sleep/wake cycles. The impairment of this light signalling in eye and neurodegenerative disease leads to circadian and sleep disruption (Feigl & Zele, Optom Vis Sci 2014). The management of sleep disruption in these conditions is poor and its aetiology is not well understood. This research will investigate circadian behaviors and the effect of newly developed lighting technologies in people with eye and neurodegenerative diseases.
You will work with ophthalmologists, vision scientists, neuroscientists and clinicians (sleep scientists and neurologists).
Skills and techniques that will be developed include:
- human electrophysiological recordings of circadian rhythms, sleep and vision using the electroencephalogram (EEG), electroretinogram (ERG) and visual evoked potentials (VEP)
- lighting design and engineering
- eye (ophthalmic) measurement and imaging.
The experimental outcomes will lead to improved circadian and sleep behaviours in chronic eye and neurodegenerative conditions.
Skills and experience
This project is open to students with a background in pathophysiology; optometry; psychology and/or an interest in electrical engineering.
Excellent written and oral communication skills are required.
Contact the supervisor for more information.