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Environmental factors and Stoke Associated Pneumonia: An investigation into the short-term influence of air pollution on stroke characteristics and subsequent stroke associated pneumonia.

   Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

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  Dr Matt Gittins, Prof A Vail, Prof Craig Smith, Dr Amit Kishore  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The association between daily air pollution exposure and risk of mortality and hospital admission is well established. Worldwide approximately 4.2 million premature deaths per year have been linked to outdoor air pollution, 58% due to ischaemic heart disease and stroke. Short-term exposure (<30 days) has constantly been linked to increased mortality and morbidity including increased risk of stroke, and pneumonia. Few studies have explored the relationship between short-term exposure to environmental factors such as ambient air pollution and stroke characteristics such as severity, impairments, and subsequent manifestation of stroke associated pneumonia. Stroke Associated Pneumonia (SAP) is Pneumonia that occurs within the first seven days after stroke admission and is associated with increased mortality, increased hospital stay, and increased healthcare costs.

The aim of this thesis will be to investigate the risk associated with 30 day periods post exposure for stroke characteristics including the development of SAP.

Patient clinical data from the Salford Integrated Record (2013-2021) on stroke patients entering Salford Royal NHS trust will be matched to measurements from local fixed site air pollution monitors (e.g. Black smoke, PM10, PM2.5, SO2, & NO2) and temperature monitors. The student will review the latest statistical methods used to model exposure on subjects’ ‘day of stroke’ and the 30 days prior. Appropriate methods such as non-linear distributed lag, lag stratified, and cubic distributed lag models will be explored to understand the changing influence of the single and multi-exposure air pollution on stroke characteristics and SAP. Analysis will involved exploring the relationship with stroke characteristics at ictus (e.g. severity), post ictus (e.g. development of SAP), and post ictus adjusted for at ictus characteristics (e.g. SAP mediated through clinical/care characteristics).

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area/subject. Candidates with previous laboratory experience are particularly encouraged to apply.

How To Apply

For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website ( Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor. On the online application form select the appropriate subject title.

For international students, we also offer a unique 4 year PhD programme that gives you the opportunity to undertake an accredited Teaching Certificate whilst carrying out an independent research project across a range of biological, medical and health sciences.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website”

Funding Notes

Applications are invited from self-funded students. This project has a Band 1 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website
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