Characterizing phenotypic biomarkers of physical frailty, sarcopenia and intrinsic capacity as predictors of outcomes in chronic respiratory disease.

   Department of Respiratory Sciences

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  Dr Hamish McAuley, Dr N Greening  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Project Description:

Start date 1 October 2024

Individuals with chronic respiratory disease are known to suffer premature ageing and physical decline, furthermore, Women and individuals living in areas with higher deprivation are at a greater risk. Attempts to target and treat these phenotypes to date have largely been unsuccessful. One potential explanation may be that current clinical characterization focusses on lung function or the severity of symptoms such as breathlessness which may fail to account for differences in the multitude of underlying processes that lead to physical decline, in particular differences between sexes and ethnic groups. This project aims to address this gap by studying in detail measures of physical function, body composition and muscle over time across patients with chronic respiratory disease to help unravel the complex and interconnected mechanisms across these areas and to define biomarkers of phenotypic disease allowing future interventional trials to correctly target the right patients. A clinically orientated healthcare professional who wants to address this knowledge gap and improve the care of patients known to be underserved by current evidence and practice will have the opportunity to develop expertise in measures of physical frailty, sarcopenia and intrinsic capacity as well as shape the direction of future research in this field.

Entry requirements:

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 or better in a relevant subject. 

The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.


This programme is open to:

  • allied health professionals
  • nurses
  • midwives
  • junior doctors
  • general practitioners

Fellows recruited to the programme must be practicing healthcare professionals and be registered with a national professional regulatory body (e.g. the General Medical Council, Health and Care Professions Council) in the UK/Republic of Ireland.

Medical graduates must be registered on a UK/Republic of Ireland specialist training programme or must be a registered GP.

All fellows must have completed their undergraduate degree and be registered with the relevant professional body.

Project / Funding Enquiries to: [Email Address Removed]

Application advice:

Application help:

To apply, please go to:

Medicine (26) Nursing & Health (27)

Funding Notes

The Wellcome Trust LHII DTP funding will provide:
Funding will cover three years salary for each Fellow
UK Tuition Fees for three years
Experimental research costs and training


McAuley, H.J.C., et al., Longitudinal changes to quadriceps thickness demonstrate acute sarcopenia 2. McAuley, H.J.C., et al., Longitudinal changes to quadriceps thickness demonstrate acute sarcopenia following admission to hospital for an exacerbation of chronic respiratory disease. Thorax, 2021. 76(7): p. 726-728.
3. McAuley, H.J.C. and M. Maddocks, Gaining muscle mass in COPD: a work in progress. ERJ Open Res, 2023. 9(4).
4. Fried, L.P., et al., Frailty in older adults: evidence for a phenotype. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2001. 56(3): p. M146-56.
5. Beard, J.R., et al., Intrinsic Capacity: Validation of a New WHO Concept for Healthy Aging in a Longitudinal Chinese Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2022. 77(1): p. 94-100.
6. Cruz-Jentoft, A.J., et al., Sarcopenia: revised European consensus on definition and diagnosis. Age Ageing, 2019. 48(1): p. 16-31.