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The relationship between sleep, vascular disease and Alzheimer’s biomarkers in older adults at risk of dementia


Sleep plays a vital role in brain health, cognition and everyday functioning and increasing evidence suggests that sleep disturbance is a new risk factor for dementia. Embedded within the Centre of Research Excellence to Optimise sleep in Brain Ageing and Neurodegeneration, this project will examine the relationship between sleep disturbance, blood brain barrier function and Alzheimer’s Disease biomarkers.


Professor Sharon Naismith.

Research location

School of Psychology

Program type



Sleep disturbances are emerging as a new risk factor for dementia. How sleep disturbance contributes to the onset and build up of Alzheimer’s biomarkers and vascular brain integrity is unknown.

This project will combine both clinical and basic science to improve our understanding of the links between sleep disturbance and beta-amyloid, tau, and blood brain barrier function. Embedded within a multidisciplinary environment this project will bring together expertise from the Brain and Mind Centre, Woolcock Institute and Charles Perkins Centre. The project will be ideally suited to a person embedded within the clinical environment but willing to undertake venepuncture, blood processing and analysis AND/OR imaging analysis.

Findings arising from this project will improve our understanding of the links between sleep disturbance and dementia leading to more targeted interventions.

Additional information

-Venepuncture training may be required and can be provided.

- A range of other research project opportunities are available within the CogSleep Centre of Research Excellence and Australian Dementia Network.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2911