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BBSRC CASE PhD Studentship in Cellular Medicine - Investigating the impact of insulin resistance on ageing, appearance and wellbeing using sleep as a model system

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  • Full or part time
    Prof M Birch-Machin
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Number of awards:

Start date and duration:
1 October 2017 for 4 years.

Application closing date:
Prompt application is advised as this post is only available until suitable candidates are appointed.

Impaired glucose homeostasis, due to reduced insulin sensitivity combined with relative insulin deficiency, is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. It is also a characteristic feature of ageing and may represent a pivotal mediator of age-related changes in the structural and functional integrity of key organs, including skin and its associated appendages. However understanding on the impact of systemic insulin resistance on cutaneous ageing is limited. The same limitations apply to the biological effects of acute fluctuations in insulin sensitivity, resultant from daily environmental challenge, on skin, its associated appendages and translation to appearance cues.

The PhD study aims to examine the impact of insulin resistance on appearance and cutaneous ageing using sleep as a model system. Converging evidence suggests that neuroendocrine changes associated with sleep deprivation may be connected to alterations in insulin sensitivity. This relationship will be examined and disturbances in neuroendocrine regulation explored as a biological mediator of ageing. Apart from the experienced supervisory team at Newcastle University and Unilever UK, the project will benefit from access to the UK BioBank and the Sleepstation (Newcastle’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme). The research outcomes have far reaching implications including commercial applications in the Personal Care and Healthcare arenas.

This is a multi-disciplinary PhD studentship and includes cellular, molecular biological and physiological techniques such as metabolism measures, histological analysis, image analysis, cell culture, molecular biology, genetic analysis, immunostaining and gene expression studies.

BBSRC and Unilever UK (

Name of the supervisor(s):
The supervisory team will be led by Professor M Birch-Machin and consists of Newcastle University Academics (Professor M Trenell, Professor M Catt and Dr K Anderson) and Unilever experts (Drs L Brown and D Gunn).

Eligibility Criteria :
You must have a minimum of an upper-second class Honours degree or International equivalent in an appropriate biomedical sciences related subject area. You may have further research experience and /or a further qualification such as, for example an MRes.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only. Depending on how you meet the BBSRC’s eligibility criteria (, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply:
You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system ( To do this please ‘Create a new account’.
Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

insert the programme code 8300F in the programme of study section
select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Cellular Medicine as the programme of study
insert the studentship code CL094 in the studentship/partnership reference field
attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code CL094 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award). A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

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