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Project researcher: Dr George Hawker-Bond, Academic Foundation Programme

Sleep and learning are inextricably intertwined. However, stroke patients are often unfairly excluded from research trials by physical disability and challenges involved in rehabilitation. 

George was welcomed with open arms in the Neuroplasticity Group at Oxford, under the supervision of Dr Mel Fleming and Prof Heidi Johansen-Berg. There he worked on a project which aims to address patient exclusion from trials and utilise low-density technology to better understand the real issues faced by patients in healthcare research.   

Specifically, George investigated the use of low-density EEG during sleep in stroke patients to determine changes in microarchitecture that were implicated in memory formation. This involved extracting and interpreting data, but also troubleshooting getting prototype wearable technology to use in at-home data collection. 

The project necessitated a lot of learning, in particular regarding:

  • sleep architecture,
  • coding in Python, and
  • methodology in neuroscience research. 

During his Academic Foundation post, George also published a review article in Chemical Society Reviews on the use of carbohydrate-based lateral flow diagnostics. This is an area that has enormous potential in disease diagnosis in the developing world due to reduced need for refrigerated storage and easy tunability. 

Furthermore, George published a realist review in BMJ Open exploring the consenting process in clinical trials in those from under-represented backgrounds; the review also looked at what mechanisms could be utilised to improve representational populations in clinical trials. 

Finally, George has been involved in the national audit for the use of the British Society of Gastroenterology guidelines admissions bundle in patients with decompensated alcohol-related liver disease.


July 2023