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Age, exercise and cardiac remodeling - investigating cardiac adaptation in both patients and athletes

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Dr M K Lancaster, Dr Al Benson, Dr Michael Colman  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Age predisposes to problems of heart function. This is triggered by changes in the structure of the heart, but also the processes that regulate electrical and contractile activity. In a manner that can resemble ageing, exercise training also changes the heart’s structure and regulation, but in this case the changes are generally beneficial. The two processes interact, but the response of the aged heart to exercise training is not necessarily the same as that seen in younger individuals. With so many parameters involved it is difficult to ascertain the key elements at work. To resolve this a mathematical modelling approach is useful since it allows simulation of the changes but with the ability to individually change parameters. This approach will be used to construct the first heart tissue models of an aged heart and the exercise-trained heart. Cross comparison and analysis will be used to identify the key components rendering the aged heart susceptible to problems, as well as where exercise is protective. Extension to comparison with data from patients and athletes will explore potential for translation to clinical use, verifying whether cardiac adaptation is physiological or pathological in both patients and athletes.

The Faculty of Biological Science is Number 1 in the UK for ‘world-leading’ research in the area of sport and exercise sciences (REF, 2014) and is ranked 3rd in the UK for SES (The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018; The Guardian University Guide 2018). This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a PhD in this area whilst also contributing to the outstanding teaching on our undergraduate courses. Research in our department incorporates both multi- and inter-disciplinary investigations aimed at improving the understanding of the relationship between physical activity, exercise, health and the predisposition to chronic diseases. Our research uses a contemporary systems-integrative perspective to investigate exercise responses, control mechanisms and exercise adherence. Application and translation spans elite athletes, the elderly, and children as well as patients with chronic heart and lung disease, spinal cord injuries, and motor impairments.

We are seeking PhD applicants with the necessary skills and proven enthusiasm to undertake demonstrating with our Sports and Exercise Sciences undergraduate cohorts. The successful candidate will be expected to undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year alongside their PhD research. You should hold (or be in the final year of) a strong degree, equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours, in a relevant discipline and should also have an interest in teaching.

Funding Notes

SES-PhD Demonstrating Studentships are available from October 2018 for students undertaking a PhD in the Faculty of Biological Sciences. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have the necessary skills to undertake SES demonstrating and if successful will be expected to undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year. You should hold (or be in the final year of) a strong degree, equivalent to at least a UK upper second class honours degree, in a relevant discipline and also have an interest in teaching.
The studentships will provide fees at UK/EU level plus a stipend of £14,777.
Application link: https://studentservices.leeds.ac.uk/pls/banprod/bwskalog_uol.P_DispLoginNon

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