Project 1: A number of projects for the NHMRC CRE: Australasian Cerebral Palsy Clinical Trials network

Main Contact

Professor Ros Boyd

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

In our NHMRC CRE there will be five top up PhD stipends at $5,181.80 per annum for 3 years (total $15,545.40), aimed at assisting and enticing clinician researchers to undertake a higher research degree. This will provide additional support to the researcher while the majority of funding will need to be obtained from competitive higher degree stipends. The scope of this research will be decided by the Advisory Board, the CRE management and the Research Steering Committee.

These stipends will be for new research related to the following topics areas identified as priorities in the CRE:

1.PREMMO-PLUS: very early intervention for infants born Preterm.

2.NEMO: Neonatal Motor Encephalopathy Outcomes for early identification of Cerebral Palsy in infants born at Term.

3.Helping NEMO: early intervention for infants born at term with CP study

4.Knowledge Translation: implementation of early intervention for infants with CP study

5.VISIBLE: Vision intervention for severely impaired babies: learning & enrichment.

6.Translation of Research into Practice (TRIP) fellowship: Translating Research into Practice to implement functional therapy interventions for children with CP: Two 0.5 FTE positions are funded by the University of Queensland, ($62,500 pa) to co-support a TRIP fellow (0.5FTE) for 2 years.

Time frame: Commencing in 2018
Websitehttps://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/project/nhmrc-cre-australasian-cerebral-palsy-clinical-trials-network

Child Health Research Centre website

 


Project 2: CP muscle research:the effect of FAST training on calf muscle spasticity, structure and function in children with cerebral palsy

Main Contact

Dr Lee Barber

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

The Project: An opportunity exists for two (2) high calibre higher degree research student to pursue a research career in paediatrics with a focus on exercise interventions to improve muscle health and function in children with cerebral palsy.

Individuals with cerebral palsy (CP) have muscles that are smaller, weaker and more resistant to stretch compared to typically developing people. Progressive resistance training leads to increases in muscle size and strength. In CP, the benefits of resistance training alone may not transfer to improve other activities such as walking; however, the transfer of strength improvements to improved mobility may be enhanced by performing training that involves specific functional tasks or motor skills. The project is a collaboration between researchers from the Queensland Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research Centre (QCPRRC) and clinicians from the Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (QPRS), Lady Cilento Children's Hospital. Two (2) PhD positions are available with the project suited to a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist with experience in paediatrics and/or biomechanics.
Research Aims: This study aims to determine the efficacy of combined functional anaerobic and strength training in children aged 6-12 years of age with cerebral palsy to

1. Influencing muscle neuromuscular properties strength, structure and function and,

2. To determine if any changes in muscle strength and structure following training impact on walking ability and gross motor functional capacity and performance

Time frame: Commencing in 2018
Websitehttps://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre website

 


Project 3: EARLY PACT: Parenting acceptance and commitment therapy: a trial of an innovative web-based intervention for parents of infants diagnosed as at risk of cerebral palsy

Main Contact

Dr Koa Whittingham

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children’s Health Research

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

Aims: To improve psychological outcomes for families of infants at risk of CP by testing EARLY PACT, utilising web-based delivery for maximum reach and parental convenience. Parenting is the key modifiable factor that impacts upon children’s psychological and social wellbeing.

Design: RCT where parents of infants at risk of CP (n=126) from around Australia will be allocated to: PACT or wait-list control. Intervention: PACT is based on behavioural parenting interventions and parental emotional responsiveness. Content includes: understanding parenting stress, exploring of the workability of struggling with parenting stress, understanding parenting values, understanding and practicing mindfulness, accepting emotions and promoting emotional resilience. EARLY PACT incorporates: virtual presentations, MP3 guided mindfulness exercises, emails, text messages, web-based exercises with feedback and web based sessions with a child psychologist.

Time frame: Commencing in 2018
Websitehttps://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre website

 


Project 4: Neuroimaging projects with QCPRRC and the Australian e-Health Research Centre (CSIRO)

Main contact

Professor Steven Rose

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

One exciting area of research currently underway at the QCPRRC is the use of advanced neuroimaging technology to measure brain injury and neuroplasticity in newborn babies at high risk of abnormal neurodevelopment and in children with cerebral palsy. Within the next 3 months there will be a new state-of-the-art Herston Imaging Research Facility (HIRF) located at Herston dedicated to clinical imaging research.

PhD opportunities

1.Integrating functional MRI (fMRI) with diffusion MRI and tractography to measure brain plasticity using advanced connectivity analyses in preterm and term-born babies, infants at risk and children with cerebral palsy.

2.Develop a novel, automated brain classification program for cerebral palsy based on structural and connectivity MRI information.

Time frame: Commencing in 2018
https://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre website

 


Project 5: LEAP-CP Learning through everyday activities for children with CP through parent to parent training

Main contact

Dr Kath Benfer

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

Dr Katherine Benfer has been awarded the QEII jubilee Fellowship and an NHMRC Early Career fellowship to conduct an RCT in Kolkata India of a novel parent to parent training randomised trial of goal directed, active motor training with environmental enrichment for children identified to be at high risk of CP aged between 3-9 months. This study continues in India during 2017-2018 and then will be developed as an RCT of LEAP-CP for indigenous children at high risk of CP in Northern Australia (based in Cairns).

Student opportunities
1. Measurement and quantification of asymmetries of upper limb and gross motor abilities (using Wearable sensors) in LEAP-CP for an OT/PT PhD.

2. Very Early Detection of Cerebral Palsy using General Movements/ HINE as biomarkers of early development in infants at risk of cerebral palsy in a low/middle income country (LEAP-CP India) and in a population of indigenous children in Northern Australia (LEAP-CP Australia) for a Medical, PT/OT PhD.

3. Tailoring of EARLY Parenting Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for families of infants diagnosed early as at risk of CP (EARLY PACT, with Dr Koa Whittingham) to implement in India (LEAP-CP India and LEAP-CP Australia).

Time frame: Commencing in 2018
Websitehttps://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre website

 


Project 6: Very early detection and intervention for infants at risk of cerebral palsy

Main Contact

Professor Ros Boyd

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

Opportunities exist for PhD students (medical, neuroscience, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and psychology) to be involved in studies of very early detection (PREBO- Preterm Brain Outcomes trial, NEBO-Neonatal Encephalopathy Brain Outcomes) and very early interventions for infants at high risk of CP. These projects involve the Queensland Cerebral Palsy Rehabilitation Research Centre, Perinatal research centre at UQ Centre for Clinical Research, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Mater Mothers Hospital, and Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO. Research methods include use of General Movements Assessments (GMA) trained by our international partners at the University of Pisa, The Hammersmith infant neurological assessment (HINE); Advanced Brain Imaging to study the effects of early brain injury on motor and behavioural development. Novel very early neurorehabilitation models designed to optimise neuroplasticity are being developed ready for testing of efficacy in randomised controlled trials in (i) Infants with early assymetric brain injury (REACH); (ii) parenting Acceptance and commitment Therapy (PACT) and (iii) goal directed active motor training and environmental enrichment (GAME).

Student Opportunities

1. Measurement and quantification of asymmetries of upper limb and gross motor abilities (using Wearable sensors) in the Rehabilitation EArly for Upper Limb therapy in Congenital Hemiplegia (REACH) and goal directed active motor training and environmental enrichment (GAME) trial for an OT/PT PhD.

2. Very Early Detection of Cerebral Palsy using General Movements/ HINE and biomarkers of brain development in infants at risk of cerebral palsy (PREBO: Preterm Brain Outcomes will be supplemented with a similar trial of early detection of Cerebral Palsy in High risk Term Born infants NEBO Trial (Neonatal Encephalopathy Brain Outcomes) for a PT/OT or medical PhD.

3. EARLY Parenting Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for families of infants diagnosed early as at risk of CP (EARLY PACT, with Dr Koa Whittingham).

4. Relationship between advanced brain structure and function school age children with cerebral palsy including diffusion imaging, quantitative brain structure classification, functional Connectivity (FC) and specific motor, sensory and cognitive functions.

Time frame: Commencing in 2018
Websitehttps://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre research

 


Project 7: Participate-CP: Optimising participation in physically active leisure for children with cerebral palsy: a randomised controlled trial

Main contact

Dr Leanne Sakzewski

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work:

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

The Participate CP study will investigate the efficacy of an individualized, goal directed intervention focuses on the child’s physically active leisure participation goals. Secondarily we will determine whether Participate CP leads to reduced time spent sedentary, increased time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity, and improved quality of life. The intervention will be delivered in the child’s own home, school, community setting dependent on the child’s individual participation goals. Participate CP is a multifaceted intervention targeted to the unique and modifiable barriers to participation for each child. In parallel with the Participate CP study, we will develop an application to assist families and children locate local accessible physically activity leisure opportunities in their own local environment.
The Participate CP study offers a range of opportunities suitable for new graduates as well as experienced clinicians. Opportunities exist for candidates with a range of backgrounds including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise science, human movements, medical, and or/health economists to undertake a PhD or Masters projects.

Student Opportunities:

1. The relationship between capacity, participation and habitual physical activity in children with cerebral palsy (Supervisory Team: Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Prof Roslyn Boyd, Prof Stewart Trost)

2. Evaluation of the implementation and uptake by families of children with disabilities of an application that enables families/children to locate local and assessable physically active leisure opportunities (Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Prof Jenny Ziviani, Prof Catherine Elliott)

3. Evaluation of fidelity in the delivery of Participate CP (Supervisory Team: Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Prof Jenny Ziviani)

4.Cost effectiveness of Participate CP compared to usual care. (Supervisory Team: Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Prof Roslyn Boyd, Dr David Rowell)

Time frame: Commencing in 2018

https://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre website

 


Project 8: Multiple studies: Randomised controlled trial of Hand Arm Bimanual Intensive Training for children with bimanual cerebral palsy

Main Contact

Professor Ros Boyd

Field: Cerebral palsy

Location: Centre for Children's Health Research

Type of student: PhD or MPhil only

Type of work: 

  • Chart review
  • Clinical work
  • Literature review
  • Qualitative methods
  • Secondary data analysis
  • Statistical analysis
  • Systematic review

Prerequisite skills: Would suit new graduates or experienced clinicians with backgrounds in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, exercise science, human movements, medicine, health economics

The HABIT-ILE study will investigate the efficacy of an intensive day camp model of intensive upper and lower extremity training to improve gross motor function and bimanual hand performance in children aged 6-16 with bilateral cerebral palsy. We will secondarily investigate the impact of HABIT-ILE on walking efficiency, self-care, mobility, achievement of individualised occupational performance goals, quality of life, and neuroplasticity in this is a randomised waitlist controlled trial.
The HABIT-ILE study offers a range of opportunities suitable for new graduates as well as experienced clinicians. Opportunities exist for candidates with a range of backgrounds including physiotherapy, occupational therapy and exercise science, human movements, medical, and or/health economists to undertake a PhD or Masters projects.

Student Opportunities
a.The efficacy of intensive bimanual training on bimanual hand skills and goal attainment in children and youth with bilateral cerebral palsy (Supervisory Team: Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Professor Roslyn Boyd)

b. The efficacy of intensive lower extremity training on gross motor function, walking efficiency and mobility (Supervisory Team: Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Professor Roslyn Boyd)

c. The relationship between clinical outcomes and neuroplasticity following intensive upper and lower extremity training in children with bilateral cerebral palsy (Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Professor Roslyn Boyd, Dr Kerstin Pannek, Dr Jurgen Fripp at CSIRO)

d. Cost effectiveness of intensive group-based upper and lower extremity training for children and youth with bilateral cerebral palsy (Dr Leanne Sakzewski, Prof Roslyn Boyd, Dr David Rowell (health Economist at UQ).

Time frame: Commencing in 2018

https://cre-auscpctn.centre.uq.edu.au/education

Child Health Research Centre website

Supervisor

Professor Roslyn Boyd

Professor
Child Health Research Centre