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

Child Health Research Centre research


Professor Roslyn Boyd

Child Health Research Centre