PhD SCHOLARSHIP: Fatigue and gait decline in adult cerebral palsy: pathophysiological determinants and contribution of targeted physical activity


A fully funded 3-yr PhD scholarship is available at Jean Monnet University in Saint-Etienne (France) in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The successful applicant will become part of a unique training and research environment, the ActiFS group within the multidisciplinary Inter-university Laboratory of Human Movement (LIBM). As PhD student, you will be responsible for:

  • Independently carrying out research and completing a PhD dissertation within three years;
  • Collecting and analyzing neuromuscular function data (EMG, electrical stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation), as well as energy cost and biomechanics of locomotion;
  • Reporting the results in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and conferences.


Net remuneration around 1420€ monthly (healthcare included) from October 2021 to September 2024.


Thomas LAPOLE, Inter-university Laboratory of Human Movement Biology, Jean Monnet University, Saint Etienne, France

  •       Bruno FERNANDEZ, Saint-Etienne University Hospital, France

Annemieke BUIZER,  Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands



Cerebral Palsy (CP) affects 2 children / 1000 births, with spastic diplegic forms being 35% of CPs. Due to an early brain injury occurring in antenatal or postnatal, it causes alteration in motor function with posture and gait disorders. It is commonly observed motor performance degradation is during adulthood, and the underlying pathophysiology remains poorly known. One of the hypotheses to explain the decline in walking capacities in adults with CP is their greater fatigability, that could be related to energy overconsumption (due to the specific biomechanical constraints of their walking pattern) and/or the occurrence of early sarcopenia affecting the compensatory muscle mechanisms commonly seen in children to compensate for architectural disorders and posture alterations. To optimize prevention and/or therapy in these patients, it is crucial to better understand the aetiology of fatigability and its role in the decline in walking performance. The first objective of this project is thus to explore how fatigability and reduced walking performance are related. This will be possible thanks to an integrated approach (clinical, neuromuscular, biomechanical, energetic). The second objective is to investigate the effects of an adapted training program (i.e. aerobic training and resistance exercises targeting compensatory muscle groups) in order to compensate the deficits evidenced in the first part of the thesis program.


Applicant profile

The candidate should have a strong background in neuromuscular function analysis. Knowledge of energy cost and biomechanics of locomotion is an asset. Since experiments will be performed in patients, experience in the health domain will be considered. French is not mandatory but the candidate must be willing to learn French during her/his PhD and she/he must be able to communicate in English.


Deadline: May, 3rd