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  125th Anniversary Scholarships for Black British Researchers - Understanding the health benefits of exercise within the paradigm of small extracellular vesicle crosstalk

   School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences

  ,  Tuesday, October 01, 2024  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Exercise represents a crucial element of health and wellness. The integrated response to the energy demands of movement produce adaptations associated with improved health and wellbeing that are incompletely understood. An intriguing observation we have made of late is that exercise stimulates the appearance of 20-300nm sized vesicles (small EVs) containing important regulatory proteins, raising the possibility that this process may facilitate some of the systemic adaptations to, and health benefits of, regular physical activity. In addition, we have shown that small EVs released during exercise have preferred localisation to the liver and importantly, weekly doses of small EVs from exercising rodent donors improve liver function in a preclinical rodent model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). These initial findings have highlighted the possibility that small EVs provide a delivery mechanism of regulatory proteins to the liver and provides a mechanistic link between regular exercise and prevention/treatment of disrupted liver metabolism.

The aim of this project is to characterise the release and metabolic significance of small extracellular vesicle secretion, with a particular focus on liver health. Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo experiments, the dynamics of sEV release and metabolic impact will be investigated, incorporating cutting edge characterisation methods and ‘omics’ based investigative approaches.

Particularly useful resources for contextualising the project are the article 'The Mysterious Interior World of Exercise' and Dr Martin Whitham's recorded lecture 'Extracellular mediated tissue cross talk during exercise'.

Entry requirements: 2:1 Honours degree, MSc preferred

Biological Sciences (4) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

The University of Birmingham is proud to celebrate its remarkable 125-year journey and announce the launch of a groundbreaking scholarship initiative designed to empower and support Black British researchers in their pursuit of doctoral education.
These newly established 3.5-year scholarships aim to address underrepresentation and create opportunities for talented individuals from diverse backgrounds to excel in academia. You can find out more here: View Website


"Whitham, M., et al (2018) Extracellular vesicles provide a means for tissue cross talk during exercise. Cell Metabolism 27(1) 237-251
McIlvenna, L. C. et al. (2023) Single vesicle analysis reveals the release of tetraspanin positive extracellular vesicles into circulation with high intensity intermittent exercise. Journal of Physiology 601, 5093–5106"

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