Maria was awarded the ParkC Student Research Excellence Award in 2011.
Maria was previously a ParkC research assistant and before that she completed her Honours degree. She is now doing a PhD at the University of Western Australia investigating the impact of sleep quality on cognition in people with Parkinson’s. The PORSCE prize enabled Maria to undertake a Graduate Certificate in Adult Sleep Science so that she could acquire the skills needed to conduct and analyse sleep studies. Any additional funds remaining after course fees will be used to pay for equipment essential for her research (i.e. a home PSG unit).
The objective of Maria’s research is to describe the nature and severity of sleep problems in people with Parkinson’s. Difficulties with thinking and memory are some of the most significant non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s. These difficulties are also common in people who do not have Parkinson’s but who do have disturbed sleep. That is, we do not know if the sleep problems experienced by people living with Parkinson’s exacerbate and/or contribute to their cognitive difficulties or if the two are independent of each other.Maria has completed the training and is now a qualified sleep technologist. She is currently recruiting participants for her research project.