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A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


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Academic background
Health Sciences, Sciences
Host campus
Medicine (Christchurch)
Professor Tim Anderson (clinical neurology), Dr Michael MacASkill (movement), Dr Tracy Melzer (brain imaging), Dr Toni Pitcher (PD imaging and epidemiology)


Please note this research opportunity is also open to BMedSc students.

These research opportunities are offered by the New Zealand Brain Research Institute.

We have some substantial projects underway in Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Huntington's. Our research is conducted at a human behavioural and clinical level. Our methods include brain imaging (functional, structural, diffusion and perfusion MRI; metabolic and protein deposition PET), movement measurement (eye and hand tracking), and neuropsychological assessment. These projects have roles for students from diverse backgrounds, including psychology, neuroscience, physics, mathematics, statistics, and medicine.

Potential topics

  • Progression in Parkinson's disease: evidence from serial eye movement, MRI, and cognitive assessment
  • Freezing and falling in Parkinson's disease – who, why and what to do
  • Multiple sclerosis – epidemiology and mechanisms
  • Cerebral haemodynamic function in ageing and dementia
  • Saccadic eye movements in health and in neurological disorders
  • Adaptation of human saccadic eye movements
  • Hand-eye coordination in real-world tasks.
  • Mathematical modeling of neurological disease onset, incidence, and progression
  • Brain imaging in other populations including very preterm birth, mild traumatic brain injury, etc.


Tracy Melzer

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