Published date
Thursday, 1 June, 2017

Published: Thursday 1 June 2017

We fund prestigious Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Fellowship positions as part of our research programme. These are granted to exceptional candidates from a range of stroke professional backgrounds.

Our Postgraduate Fellowships allow awardees to obtain a postgraduate research qualification (MPhil or PhD), giving them the required skills to ultimately undertake an independent career in stroke research.

Our Postdoctoral Fellowships are intended to enable early career researchers, who already have a PhD and research experience, to embark on an independent career in academic stroke research.

Dr David Dickie (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Institution: University of Edinburgh

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans provide lots of data on the health of a person’s brain, not all of which is routinely used in clinical practice.

This project will continue the development of tools to assess the brain scans of people with stroke. Dr Dickie has been working for several years on the measurement and better understanding of changes in the brain at the Brain Research Imaging Centre (BRIC) in Edinburgh.

This project will use previously collected MRI brain scans to maximise the efficiency of the work and will involve the latest developments in scanning technology.

The outcome of this research should produce methods that can predict how patients will fare after a stroke, helping doctors to decide the best treatments and improve outcomes. 

Dr Thomas Hope (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Institution: University College London

The recovery of stroke survivors with language difficulties is famously variable. Some stroke survivors recover much more quickly or fully than others. Some respond to treatment much better than others.

In recent years, one promising explanation of more of the variability in these patients’ recovery has begun to emerge. Different brain regions serve different functions, and it stands to reason that the consequences of stroke should depend on the details of the brain regions which are damaged or preserved. Using high-resolution brain imaging, those details can be measured, non-invasively, in very large samples of patients whose outcomes are already known. Dr Hope and the PLORAS researchers at UCL have already shown that they can use these data to link better or worse language outcomes to the presence or absence of damage in particular brain regions. They can therefore predict reasonably accurate outcomes for new patients with language impairments.

The aim of the proposed work is to employ similar techniques to PLORAS to predict which patients are most suited to what speech and language therapy.

Dr Kathleen Vancleef (Postdoctoral Fellow)

Institution: Newcastle University

Many patients suffer from reduced vision after stroke. This prevents them from driving and can make it difficult for them to safely cross the road or participate in social situations. Although it is straightforward for a health professional to diagnose a stroke patient’s reduced visual acuity by reading a letter chart, it's much more challenging for them to detect visual perception deficits such as recognising objects or faces, or a patient seeing motion.

Existing vision tests do not tell us how a patient’s life will be influenced by their vision problems. This project aims to understand how the results of vision tests relate to a stroke survivor’s functioning in their daily lives.The results of the research could provide patients with more meaningful information about their condition. Information which could help them target certain visual functions through exercises, or help them make the necessary adjustments in their lives to compensate for their impairment.

Mr Ben Beare (Postgraduate Fellow)

Institution:  University College London

Pain in the shoulder is a common problem after stroke. As well as causing distress through pain and lost sleep, it prevents rehabilitation of the arm and hand. There are guidelines on how to deal with post-stroke shoulder pain, but most healthcare professionals think they are unhelpful. It's believed that this is because not enough attention is paid to the underlying causes of the pain. If we don’t know the cause of someone’s pain then it is very difficult to choose the correct treatment.

The focus of this proposal is on people with painful shoulders who also have a restriction in how far the shoulder can be moved in a particular direction, called ‘external rotation’.This work will identify ‘who’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ to treat people with painful shoulders after stroke more effectively, and should lead to better outcomes for them.

Ms Louisa-Jane Burton (Postgraduate Fellow)

Institution: University of Leeds

Following a stroke, patients and their relatives describe dissatisfaction with the information they receive about the patient’s outlook for recovery. This includes how much recovery might take place and when it might be expected. Information about a patient’s recovery is extremely important to them and their families because it helps them make decisions about their lives after stroke and future care.

These issues often arise during a patient’s rehabilitation on a stroke unit. However, research suggests that stroke unit staff lack the confidence, and skills, necessary to adequately discuss recovery.

The outcome of this work should form an intervention for stroke unit staff. It will include guidance on how they can assess when and whether individual patients and their families want information about their expected recovery and how to establish the best format for this information.

Mrs Sabrina Eltringham (Postgraduate Fellow)

Institution: Sheffield Hallam University

After a stroke, some people have difficulty swallowing. Rather than the stomach, food and drink can go the down the throat the wrong way and enter the lungs. This can cause a serious chest infection

There are many swallowing tests a trained nurse might use. The aim of this study is to investigate whether some tests are better than others at reducing the chances of chest infection, and whether or not the time at which a stroke patient’s swallow is tested makes a difference.

The intended outcome of the project is to find new knowledge to help guide future policy on the reduction of chest infection risk after stroke.

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