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NDCN Dphil supervisors

Please see the below list for those who are considering students for a DPhil in Clinical Neurosciences in the 2017/2018 academic year.

Professor Colin Espie:

Sleep and persecutory delusions: theory and treatment

Behavioural and neural changes in sleep-dependent cognition following therapeutic intervention for insomnia


Professor Mark Hankins:

Professor Hankins is looking to recruit DPhil students in the area of retinal neurobiology, mammalian retinal physiology and translational optogenetics. His laboratory works on the retinal biology and physiology of visual and non-visual responses to light. There are several themes in this area, with an emphasis on functional retinal circuits - including the rod, cone and melanopsin systems. The team are also working on translational opsin-based optogenetic approaches to the restoration of light sensitivity in the retina and other target systems. In this way they are developing a number of novel light sensitizing strategies which can be applied to translational therapies such as the restoration of vision. Their projects utilise state of the art physiological, imaging and behavioural assessments of functional vision and provide training in multidisciplinary approaches to basic neuroscience problems.

Dr Katharina Wulff:


Dr Stuart Peirson:


Dr Simon Kyle:


Dr Claire Sexton

The Effects of Sleep on the Ageing Brain

Poor sleep quality, characterised by difficulties in initiating or maintaining sleep or non-restorative sleep, affects up to half of older adults and has been linked with poor performance on cognitive tests and an increased risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Fortunately, though, there are effective treatments. For example, cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to significantly improve sleep quality, with effects maintained for at least 12-months.

Understanding the biological processes that underlie the cognitive benefits of sleep is an essential area for future research, and our current research spans large-scale epidemiological projects (Whitehall II Imaging Sub-Study, UK Biobank) and randomised-controlled trials (The Defining the Impact of improved Sleep on Cognitive function (DISCO) trial). We would welcome applications from students interested in analysing cognitive and neuroimaging data, with backgrounds in neuroscience, psychology or engineering.


Other SCni supervisors

Please note that the individuals listed below are not NDCN staff and may not be accepting those hoping to undertake a DPhil in Clinical Neuroscience.

Vladyslav Vyazovskiy

David Bannerman

Guy Goodwin 

Paul Harrison

Peter Oliver


Important information

Deadline for applications

12 noon UK time (midday) on 
Friday 6 January 2017

Later applications may be considered if places are available.


contacting supervisors

DPhil applicants must make contact with our Administration team ( before working up an application. You will need to send your CV and a brief synopsis (1-2 paragraphs) of your planned project/interests, with a note of the supervisor(s) you would like to work with. Your details will then be passed on as appropriate. 

Applicants who do not approach a potential supervisor in the first instance and/or whose proposed Research Project falls outside the area of expertise of our Research Themes are unlikely to be successful with their application.