Interdisciplinary blog

Sensory perception and vibration: decline in proprioceptive function with age

August 4, 2015
by Devon Lewis

Part of the EPSRC Vacation Bursaries Scheme 2015

Student name: Devon Lewis

Student degree course: BSc Biology

Year of study: 3

Supervisor: Prof Phil Newland and Dr Emiliano Rustighi

Vacation Bursary Research project title: Sensory perception and vibration: decline in proprioceptive function with age

Tell us a bit about you and your chosen research field:

I have just finished my second year of the BSc Biology course in Southampton. I’m really interested in going into neuroscience research with sensory perception being my main focus. Working in the electrophysiology labs has been a great way to gain experience and talk to people with similar interests who are currently working in the field.

Tell us about your specific research project:

This project is looking into the function of neuromuscular systems, and how they respond to vibration and other environmental inputs along with the impacts of aging and disease. The effects of vibration on these systems could provide useful insights into the impact of long term use of industrial tools and the possible over exposure to vibration from other sources like transport, as well as the potential enhancement of muscular function through medical therapies like whole body vibration.

The low tractability of these systems creates massive restrictions in the use of vertebrate models in this area. Using Locusts it is possible to model the decline in proprioceptive function seen in human aging in every part of the neuromuscular system as well as varied stages of development.

Describe any future plans regarding on-going study/postgraduate research connected to your Vacation Bursary project:

I’m really interested in doing a PhD after graduating next year. This project is giving me the chance to develop the necessary skills and get some first-hand experience in the world of research. I’m also fascinated by the field of neuroprosthetics, so it’s exciting to be working on a project which could lead to the development of novel bioinspired sensors for prosthetic devices. This aspect of the project could also be a helpful way of narrowing down my areas of interest for future research.

Categories: Blog. Tags: Blog, devon lewis, emiliano rustighi, epsrc, idr, interdisciplinary, phil newland, proprioceptive function, sensory perception, University of Southampton, USRG, vacation bursaries, vacation bursary, and vibration.

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