Applications Are Now Open for Postgraduate Research Project at the Norwich Medical School
Norwich Medical School has opened applications for postgraduate students who have a keen interest in the sense of smell and the role it has in recalling memories, to take part in a postgraduate research project that will conduct a detailed evaluation of declarative memory in older adults with anosmia.
“Studies of age-differences in declarative memory have repeatedly reported a decline of episodic memory but generally preserved semantic memory function in ageing. This is exacerbated in carriers of the APOE-4 allele, the strongest genetic risk factor for sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Ageing is also often associated with smell loss (anosmia), and this also appears to be more common in APOE-4 carriers. While odours are known to evoke rich and emotional memories, very few studies have investigated the impact of anosmia on declarative memory. It thus still unclear which aspects of episodic memory are affected by anosmia and whether other types of declarative memory (e.g., general and personal semantics) are also affected. Our research team has developed new tests of declarative memory, that allow a comprehensive evaluation of episodic, semantic and personal semantic memory (Renoult et al., 2020), and has extensive expertise in the evaluation of anosmia (Addison et al., 2021, Ball et al 2021, Philpott & Boak 2014). This project will conduct a detailed evaluation of declarative memory (cued by odours and via other modalities) in older adults with anosmia, including in individuals at increased genetic risk (APOE4 carriers) for AD, using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques (EEG, functional MRI (fMRI). It is hoped that the project will provide unique opportunities to better understand how anosmia affects memory, but also to improve the evaluation of memory functions in healthy ageing and in those at risk for AD. Furthermore, the project will provide an opportunity to explore the use of memory in the rehabilitation of patients with olfactory disorders.“
Acceptable first degree in Psychology, Medicine, Biology or Neuroscience. The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1. A good background in theories and methods of Cognitive Psychology/Neuroscience is required, as well as experience testing human participants. Prior experience with EEG and/or fMRI would be advantageous.