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Research opportunities

Managing diabetes in a Flash—Exploring a novel glucose monitoring system among adolescents with poorly controlled type 1 diabetes (Master's/PhD)

The Diabetes Research Team in the University of Otago’s Department of Women’s and Children’s Health seek one or two Master’s or one PhD student with a strong interest in diabetes to undertake projects examining the role of a new technology for monitoring glucose levels in young people with type 1 diabetes. While the main project is pre-specified and funded there is room for some tailoring and development to suit specific skills, background, expertise, and interests.

This project is a Cure Kids and University of Otago funded multicentre randomised controlled trial (RCT) spanning the whole South Island and Wellington regions. Projects available relate to this study, and in addition to the RCT itself, could include investigating adverse events, other factors that influence acceptability and adherence, economic evaluations, and the impact of this technology on sleep and physical activity.

The ideal candidate(s) will possess interest and/or experience in diabetes treatment, clinical health, physical activity, sleep, physiology, computer science, or technology supported interventions to foster healthy lifestyle change. Research data collection and analysis experience is ideal, but will also be obtained during this work. The candidate will be motivated, organised, and collegial, with a demonstrated capacity to master the broad skill set necessary for the successful completion of a research project.

Minimum qualifications

MB ChB or equivalent, BSc(Hons), or MSc/MAppSci/MPHed (A- average or better).

Scholarship Funding

The University of Otago offers scholarships (see below for more information).

In addition, the Department of Women's and Children's Health has access to other scholarships not listed at the link above.

Eligibility

The University of Otago and Departmental scholarships are open to all nationalities. However, overseas candidates for whom English is not a first language must satisfy the English Language Requirements of the University to be eligible for study.

How to apply

Interested applicants are encouraged to make informal enquiries to Dr Ben Wheeler at the email address below.

Please send your Curriculum Vitae, a copy of your academic transcript, a sample of your written scientific work, and a covering letter to

Dr Ben Wheeler
Email ben.wheeler@otago.ac.nz

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The role of sleep in health and wellbeing of children and adolescents (PhD)

We are seeking potential PhD candidates with interests in sleep, diet, physical activity, health, physiology, or computer science to undertake projects examining the role of sleep in health. All three projects have the potential to be tailored and developed to suit specific skills, background, expertise, and interests.

Projects available

  1. Development of new algorithms for sleep measurement
    Recent physical activity guidelines highlight the importance of measuring all activities across the 24 hour day (sleep, sedentary time, and physical activity), but many questions remain regarding how best to do so. This validation study will compare gold standard measures of each behaviour (e.g. polysomnography for sleep) with novel technologies that measure behaviour objectively in the free-living environment (e.g. wearable cameras). Data will be analysed using pattern recognition techniques.
  2. How does sleep influence body weight? Discovering the mechanisms
    Although we know that getting enough sleep reduces the risk of obesity in children, whether this occurs through diet, physical activity, or other behaviours is not well understood. This short-term randomised controlled trial will manipulate sleep over 3 weeks in 8-12 year old children. Measurements include diet, activity, energy expenditure, and eating behaviour.
  3. The use of screens before bed in adolescents—just how are they impacting sleep?
    Using electronic media before bed disrupts good quality sleep. This project uses wearable cameras and other novel technologies to gain a better understanding of how screens impact sleep—both positively and negatively.

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate(s) will possess experience in nutrition, physical activity, psychology, or another related health science. We also welcome applicants with expertise in computer science (for projects 1 and 3 particularly) with an interest in applying their knowledge to health related research. The candidate will be motivated, organised, and collegial, with a demonstrated capacity to master the broad skill set necessary for the successful completion of a research project.

Minimum qualifications

BSc(Hons) or MSc/MAppSci/MPHed (A- average or better)

Scholarship funding

Financial support is expected to be available for a high achieving student with an A average or better via a University of Otago or Departmental scholarship (see link below). The Department of Medicine also has scholarships available, aimed at those who just miss out on a University scholarship.

Eligibility

The University of Otago and Departmental scholarships are open to all nationalities. However, overseas candidates for whom English is not a first language must satisfy the English Language Requirements of the University to be eligible for study.

How to apply

Interested applicants are encouraged to make informal enquiries to Professor Rachael Taylor at the email address below.

Please send your Curriculum Vitae, a copy of your academic transcript, a sample of your written scientific work, and a covering letter to

Professor Rachael Taylor
Email rachael.taylor@otago.ac.nz

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