2016 Honours Projects

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2016 Honours Projects List updated: Thursday 21st April 2016 Note: This list of projects is updated weekly, and there may be additional research projects available which are not reflected in this list.
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2016 Honours Projects List updated: Thursday 21st April 2016 Note: This list of projects is updated weekly, and there may be additional research projects available which are not reflected in this list. This list is therefore not exhaustive, so if you wish to discuss any other potential projects, please feel free to contact the relevant Honours Co-ordinator. A list of Honours Co-ordinators is available here: Supervisor: Doctor Alan Freeman Is there a specific project available? Yes Project title: Neural mechanisms underlying visual orientation discrimination Is this an existing project? Yes Research question: How do orientation-selective neurons account for orientation perception and discrimination? - Any discipline Research group type: Discipline based University Profile: - Visual psychophysics - Computational modelling of the visual system Chief investigator: Alan Freeman Research team: Humans are very good at perceiving and discriminating the orientation of visual edges and contours. It is known that this ability depends heavily on orientation-selective neurons in primary visual cortex, but the relationship between orientation perception and orientation-selective neural activity is unclear. My laboratory has recently developed a technique, low-contrast psychophysics, which reveals the influences of single neurons in behavioral measurements. The aim of the project is to use this technique to model the way in which a small population of orientation-selective neurons can account for orientation perception and discrimination. Proposed method of data collection: Human subjects will be presented with low-contrast edges and contours on a computer monitor, and their ability to discriminate one orientation from a slightly different one will be measured. An existing computational model will be used to find a best fit to the results. Ethics approval needed? No Ethics applied for? N/A Type of study: Quantitative Resources needed (all available): My laboratory has the basic requirements for this study. Supervisor contact details: / Office location L230 Doctor Alan Freeman T E Supervisor: Doctor Alycia Fong Yan Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Investigating mechanics of dance movement Is this an existing project? No Research question: What are the unique characteristics of dance movement? What are the kinematic and kinetic demands on the body during dance movement? How do the mechanics of dance movement change with varying levels of skill? What are the mechanical risk factors for injury during dance movement? Any discipline Research group type: Research Group based University Profile: - Dance - Biomechanics Chief investigator: Alycia Fong Yan Research team: Richard Smith, Claire Hiller This project aims to better understand the movement patterns and forces that dancers undergo during dance performance to inform injury prevention and teaching practices. Dancers push their bodies to the physical limits of motion whilst maintaining the aesthetic requirements of the dance genre. The extreme technical requirements can take a toll on the body with many dancers, both professional and recreational, either injured or at risk of injury. Dancers only have a short professional career and the competition for performance roles and jobs is high. The purpose of this study is to investigate the mechanism for injuries, risk factors for injury, and movement variability. Proposed method of data collection: Ethics approval needed? No Ethics applied for? No Is this already an existing project? No Type of study: Quantitative Resources needed (all available): Supervisor contact details: H110A, Cumberland Campus Doctor Alycia Fong Yan T E Supervisor: Doctor Alycia Fong Yan Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Research integrating novel exercise delivery in chronic disease population but open to student suggestions Project title: Validation of musculoskeletal assessment tools Is this an existing project? No Research question: How many musculoskeletal assessment tools are available to assess lower limb function and/ core stability? How valid are these assessment tools? What are the normative values for different population groups? Any discipline Research group type: Research Group based University Profile: - Dance - Biomechanics - Musculoskeletal mechanics and injury prevention Chief investigator: Alycia Fong Yan Research team: Evangelos Pappas, Claire Hiller Aim: To assess the validity of various musculoskeletal assessment tools for the lower limb and core stability. Specificity and validity of musculoskeletal assessment tools are important aspects to consider when selecting the right tool for a client. New or modified assessments have not been thoroughly investigated for use in different population groups, and clinicians need to reliably implement the assessment tools appropriately. The purpose of this project is to establish normative values across different population groups, investigate the construct validity, specificity, and accuracy of the tests. Proposed method of data collection: Ethics approval needed? Yes Ethics applied for? No Is this already an existing project? No Type of study: Quantitative Resources needed (all available): Additional information: Supervisor contact details: H11OA, Cumberland Campus Doctor Alycia Fong Van T E Supervisor: Doctor Anne Honey Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Going home: Experience of international students transitioning to practice in non-western countries Is this an existing project? Yes Research question: How do international occupational therapy students transfer the skills they have learned in Australia to the different cultural contexts of their home countries? - Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) Honours Research group type: Discipline based University Profile: International student experiences of OT Chief investigator: Anne Honey Research team: Studying occupational therapy requires students to think and behave in ways that may come more or less naturally to students depending on culture. A previous study found that international OT students from Asian backgrounds were concerned about how what they learned in Australia would translate into practice in their home countries. Little is known about how international students from CALD backgrounds experience the transition to practice in their home countries. Proposed method of data collection: Method can be negotiated. Participants will be OT Alumni from the University of Sydney who were international students from non-western backgrounds and are now working in non-western countries. Methods could involve a survey of all alumni or skype interviews with a smaller sample. Ethics approval needed? Yes Ethics applied for? No Type of study: Could be qualitative or quantitative. Supervisor contact details: / J105, Cumberland Campus Doctor Anne Honey T E Supervisor/s: Anne Honey, Nicola Hancock Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Use and helpfulness of parent practices to support young people with mental illness Is this an existing project? Research question: What practices do parents find helpful for supporting young people with mental illness? - Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) Honours Research group type: Discipline based University Profile: - Parent support for young people with mental illness Chief investigator: Anne Honey Research team: Nicola Hancock Parents use a variety of different practices to try to support a young people with their mental illness. Seventy-eight such practices have been identified, but little is known about which practices are used most frequently and which are likely to be experienced as helpful. This study will result in identification of a suite of practices that parents have found most helpful in different circumstances. Proposed method of data collection: The student will develop an online parent survey to identify the frequency with which they report using specific practices and the perceived helpfulness of these practices. This survey data will be analysed using a variety of quantitative methods Ethics approval needed? Yes Ethics applied for? No Type of study: Resources needed (all available): Additional information: Supervisor contact details: / J105, Cumberland Campus Dr Anne Honey T E Supervisor: Doctor Anne Honey Project title: What does recovery look like for people with co-experiences of mental illness and addiction? Is this an existing project? No Research question: What does recovery look like for people with co-experiences of mental illness and addiction? - Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy) Honours Research group type: Discipline based University Profile: - Families in which a member is living with mental illness - Mental health consumer perspectives/recovery - Adolescent mental health - Experiences of international OT students Chief investigator: Anne Honey & Francesca Coniglio Research team: Francesca Coniglio A recovery based approach is currently recognised as best practice in both mental health and addiction services. Considerable research on consumers experiences in each of these fields has contributed to current understandings of what recovery is and what contributes to recovery. However, concepts of mental health and addiction recovery have developed independently of each other and little research has been done to understand recovery from the perspectives of people who experience both mental illness and substance addiction, referred to clinically as dual diagnosis. A myriad of personal testimonies exist in various online forums, which document individuals journeys in recovery from mental illness and substance addiction, however these remain at an anecdotal level. Proposed method of data collection: The student will conduct a qualitative analysis of stories of recovery from the perspectives of people who experience both mental illness and addiction. This will involve scoping the available online testimonies from around the world, selecting a purposive sample of testimonies and analysing the data using a rigorous and well-established qualitative method. Ethics approval needed? Yes Ethics applied for? No Type of study: Qualitative Any additional information: Supervisory team consists of Anne Honey, an academic from the discipline of OT, and Franca Coniglio, a mental health clinician who is currently conducting her PhD research in the area of recovery for people with co-experiences of mental illness and addiction. Supervisor contact details: I Anne. J105, Cumberland Campus Doctor Anne Honey T E Supervisor: Doctor Cate Madill Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Does auditory-perceptual discrimination ability predict risk and/or presence of voice disorder Is this an existing project? No Research question: Does auditory-perceptual discrimination ability predict risk and/or presence of voice disorder - Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours), Bachelor of Applied Science (Speech Pathology) Honours Research group type: Discipline based University Profile: - Voice science - Voice disorders - Motor Learning - Acoustic analysis - Clinical Education Chief investigator: Cate Madill Research team: Disability & Community Voice disorders occur in approximately 7% of the population. The majority of these disorders are socalled functional disorders, that is, movement based, repetitive strain injuries. This type of disorder requires perceptual training as well as instruction in how to produce the movement more efficiently. In many cases the disorder is acquired without the occurrence of an organic condition. This raises the question of whether the disorder occurs because of a lack of awareness of the movement such that suboptimal performance is not detected until the emergence of aversive symptoms such as pain or loss of voice. This project aims to assess the auditory-perceptual discrimination abilities of people with and without voice disorder to discover if there is a relationship between auditory-perceptual awareness and risk / presence of a voice disorder. Proposed method of data collection: The study is a 2 group comparison of pitch discrimination. Thirty normal subjects will be recruited locally from within the University population and 30 disordered subjects will be recruited from the on-campus Speech Pathology Clinics and University affiliated clinics. All participants will be required to complete a pitch discrimination task using a computer-based program. Error patterns in each group will be analysed using ANOVA. Does auditory-perceptual discrimination ability predict risk and/or presence of voice disorder Ethics approval needed? Yes Ethics applied for? No Is this already an existing project? No Type of study: Quantitative Resources needed (all available): Access to the Voice Research Laboratory and high quality recording equipment. Additional information: I have been an honours supervisor for 12 years, and have successfully supervised 17 honours student, 2 of which have gone onto undertake PhDs, and have resulted in presentations at 8 international conferences, 9 national conferences and 5 peer-reviewed publications. Honours students are included in the activities and culture of the Voice Research Laboratory research team. This project will also involve working with an academic from the University of Queensland, Prof Paul Carding, who is internationally recognized as a leader in voice research. Supervisor contact details: Lidcombe Room S176 Doctor Cate Madill T E Supervisor: Doctor Che Fornusek Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Electrical Stimulation (ES) Cycling Exercise for Persons with Advanced Multiple Sclerosis Is this an existing project? Yes Research question: Does electrically stimulated exercise benefit persons with severe multiple sclerosis? - Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) Honours - Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) Honours - Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology) Honours Research group type: Research Group based University Profile: Ché's research is focused on exploring the long term benefits of exercise and physical activity for persons with neurological injury or disease (e.g. spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, peripheral nerve disease, cerebral palsy). Chief investigator: Che Fornusek Research team: Joshua Burns The objective of this project is to investigate whether electrical muscle stimulation can assist persons with severe multiple sclerosis to perform exercise. Exercise is beneficial for maintaining strength, function, quality of life and mental health in people with MS. However, the advancing paralysis soon reduces then eliminates the ability to exercise effectively and those with severe MS are often wheelchair bound and very inactive. Such an inactive lifestyle accelerates deterioration in fitness, quality of life, function, and independence. This research pilot trial will evaluate the benefits of electrical stimulation cycling exercise program for persons with advanced MS. Proposed method of data collection: Evaluation will be performed via a training study. ES-cycling will be compared to current practice rehabilitation regarding potential improvements in muscle mass, leg strength, mobility, and quality of life. This may put them at risk of cardiovascular disease and secondary deconditioning. The ES-cycling will be performed on a special ES-cycle constructed by Dr Fornusek to maximise exercise intensity for persons with paralysis/paresis. Ethics approval needed? No Ethics applied for? Yes Is this already an existing project? Yes Type of study: Quantitative Supervisor contact details: Supervisor: Doctor Che Fornusek Is there a specific project available? Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Investigation of the Demands of Participation in Physical Disability Rugby League Is this an existing project? Research question: What are the demands of playing Physical Disability Rugby League? Does participation lead to improvement in health, fitness and quality of life? - Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) - Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) Honours - Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology) Honours Research group type: Research Group based University Profile: - Ché's research is focused on exploring the long term benefits of exercise and physical activity for persons with neurological injury or disease (e.g. spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, peripheral nerve disease, cerebral palsy). Chief investigator: Fornusek Research team: Orr, Hackett, English, Sanders Physical Disability Rugby League is a sport that was created in Sydney to allow persons with physical disability to play league (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv04gbxuuro). The majority of players with disability have cerebral palsy but players with other disabilities play (e.g. stroke, muscular atrophy, limb deficiency). The unique combination of tackle and touch rules allows abled bodied and individuals with mild to severe disability to play league. The purpose of this research is to create a basis of knowledge for the identification of the benefits of and development of PDRL. There is currently very little literature on any disabled contact sport similar to PDRL. Proposed method of data collection: The plan for this study is to record data from players during the 2016 season. Data collected will include anthropomorphic tests, physiological tests, functional testing, and monitoring / performance analysis during games. Ethics approval needed? No Ethics applied for? Yes Is this already an existing project? Type of study: Quantitative Supervisor contact details: Supervisor: Doctor Che Fornusek Is there a specific project available? Yes Is there a broad research topic/s for students to consider: Project title: Optimising Functional Electrical Stimulation Cycling Olympics in 2016 Is this an existing project? No Research question: Can we optimise the training and delivery of electrical stimulation to muscles be optimized to improve the speed and feasibility of electrical stimulation cycling? Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours), Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) Honours, Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise Physiology) Honours Research group type: Research Group based University Profile: Chief investigator: Che Fornusek Research team: Hackett, Sinclair The aim of this project is to improve our understanding of electrical stimulation so that both recreational and competitive electrical stimulation cycling can be improved. In October 2016, pilots with paralyzed leg due to complete spinal cord injuries (SCI) will compete in the Cybathlon bicycle race. The Cybathlon is an Olympics for where persons with disability utilise assistive technology to compete. The University of Sydney team attended a rehearsal event in Zurich in July Although, the University's cyclist performed well it was clear that with better training, understanding of electrically stimulated muscle fatigue and more appropriately timed muscle stimulation the cyclist could have performed better. Proposed method of data collection: The proposed research will be composed of two parts and use persons with paraplegia from our laboratory: 1) Optimization of muscle stimulation angles to produce more drive on the pedal crank. This part of the project will involve systematically modifying the muscle stimulation for each muscle to determine which angles produce the greatest power drive on the pedal crank. These stimulati
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