Thursday, 23 August 2012
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
Thursday, 26 April 2012
The University has launched a new scholarship for international PhD students. The scholarship will provide full international fees and a maintenance grant of £10,000 pa for three years. There will be up to 9 awards across the university and the deadline for applicants is 4 July 2012. Applicants must normally hold a First Degree at undergraduate level equivalent to at least a UK First Class Honours degree and should be considered to be amongst the ‘best of the best’ (eg successful applicants are likely to be in the top 5% of their MSc/MA and BSc/BA cohorts and already in receipt of prizes and published papers at national or international level). Applicants should either have graduated with the appropriate First Degree or be in their final year of study.
Applicants who have previously applied for a FIRS scholarship for Session 2012/13 (including those on the reserve list) are eligible to apply for LIRS in Session 2012/13 (provided they meet all other eligibility criteria).
- Applicants MUST first submit a research degree study application form and be in receipt of a University BANNER ID Number to be eligible for a Leeds International Research Scholarship. Applications without a valid University ID Number will be rejected. To apply for a place on a research degree programme, please visit: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/students/apply_research.htm
- These awards are only available to applicants who would be liable to pay academic fees at the full international fee rate;
- Applicants must normally hold a First Degree at undergraduate level equivalent to at least a UK First Class Honours degree and should be considered to be amongst the ‘best of the best’ (eg successful applicants are likely to be in the top 5% of their MSc/MA and BSc/BA cohorts and already in receipt of prizes and published papers at national or international level). Applicants should either have graduated with the appropriate First Degree or be in their final year of study;
- Applicants whose first language is not English must have already met the University’s English Language requirements by 4 July 2012 or be a current undergraduate student in their final year or a current postgraduate student at a University in an English speaking country. Some Schools require a standard of English higher than the University minimum;
- Applicants must be commencing PhD research study at the University of Leeds for the first time in Session 2012/13;
- These awards are not open to individuals who have already been awarded a Doctoral degree or equivalent qualification;
- Applicants who have previously applied for a Fully-Funded International Research Scholarship (FIRS) for Session 2012/13 (including those currently on the reserve list) are eligible to apply for LIRS in Session 2012/13 (provided they meet all other eligibility criteria).
- LIRS scholarships should not normally be held concurrently with other Scholarships, although it may sometimes be possible for a LIRS award holder to hold another scholarship paying maintenance of no more than £3,590 a year in value. Successful LIRS award holders may, if they are able to obtain additional funding, hold a bursary which pays travel/accommodation costs etc for UK/overseas fieldwork visits and attendance at conferences.
Application forms, regulations and guidance notes for completion of applications are available from the web address: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/rsa/postgraduate_scholarships/LIRS-AppForm12. Application forms are also available by email request (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Completed application forms should be returned to the Postgraduate Scholarships Office or by email to email@example.com by 4 July 2012 (midnight UK time).
Postgraduate Scholarships Office
Marjorie & Arnold Ziff Building
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Tel: +44 113 3434007
Saturday, 31 March 2012
They both won the 1936 nobel prize in Physiology/Medicine. Why is this important? Recently the vagus nerve has become the focus of a lot of neuroscience attention due to the effect of vagus nerve stimulation. Engineer et al (2011) and Engineer et al (2012) both demonstrated how vagus nerve stimulation can be used to condition the brain and by matching stimulation with stimuli, could effectively treat tinnitus. The research showed a remapping effect of auditory neurons. This was tested only in a mouse model but the results were so promising that a project replicating this is currently being recruited for, except to study this effect in humans.
Porter (2011) has demonstrated how matching vagus nerve stimulation with simple motor tasks allows for a remapping of the motor cortices of the mouse brain. The mechanism of action behind vagus nerve stimulation seems to be unknown.
Stimulation of the vagus nerve may release ACh into the cortex, as observed by Otto Loewi, which somehow causes a cortical plastic effect. Again though, we are faced with the question of How?
Well, ACh has long been linked to synaptic plasticity and acts either by:
Directly enhancing currents through NMDA receptors which have been associated with synaptic plasticity with specifics to memory and learning.
Indirectly suppressing adaptation; Neural adaptation, also known as 'up regulation' and 'down regulation' is the process whereby neurons stop firing as a result of constant stimulation allowing regulation to occur.
Along with these observed effects, ACh has been noted to effect heart rate which is something also noted in patients receiving vagus nerve stimulation.
It would definitely seem that rather looking at VNS and cortical plasticity...it's time to look at VNS, causing changes in ACh activity causing plasticity.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
There has been a lot of research looking at the effect that extrinsic feedback and excessive extrinsic feedback has on learning. Salmoni et al (1984) suggested the guidance hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that even though recurrent feedback provided during practice is beneficial to the learner in order to choose the correct responses, it blocks the processing of other sources of important information that are essential in order to obtain an internal depiction of the movement task that is capable of generating the movement when the feedback is stopped. Faded schedule feedback was a type of feedback tested to see if this would reduce participant dependency on extrinsic feedback. Winstein et al (1990) performed a study which contained two groups. One group received extrinsic feedback for every trial, while the other group used a faded feedback schedule and had a reduced frequency of feedback (50% of the trials). The results showed that the faded feedback group were able to sustain performance during practice at the same level as the group who had feedback on every trial. However when no feedback tests were administered on both groups after 5 minutes and 24 hours, the faded feedback group performed significantly better. By using the faded feedback schedule, participants were able to reduce their dependency on the feedback which enhanced their capability to create the necessary movement pattern when the feedback was taken away. Other researchers have also performed experiments which have shown the beneficial effects that faded feedback can have (e.g. Lee et al 1990, Weeks et al 1993).
The guidance hypothesis therefore suggests that the faded feedback schedule should cause the participant to process other sources of intrinsic information that assists the progression of an internal depiction which is capable of supporting performance when feedback is taken away. If this hypothesis is true, participants should be able to decrease the time that is needed to develop an internal depiction of the task, from days to just minutes. This suggests a faster way of learning.