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Exciting opportunity to investigate the effect of B-alanine supplementation on skeletal and cardiac muscle function in older adults

  • Full or part time
    Dr R Jones
    Dr J Richards
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, January 24, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description


Department: Institute of Sport and Physical Activity Research (ISPAR)

Please note: Actual location of study will be at the Bedford Campus

Salary: Full Studentship of £4222 per annum (funding provided by Connolly Foundation)
Fixed term: 3 years
Closing date: 24th January 2019
Start date: 11th March 2019

The University of Bedfordshire are pleased to offer a full-time PhD studentship in the subject area described
below. This exciting new studentship has been made available through the collaboration of the Institute and
Connolly Foundation. The scholarship is offered in the Institute for Sport and Physical Activity Research
and will cover tuition fees (only), bursary per annum.

Area of research

Older adults may experience declines in their ability to complete anaerobic activity, the amalgamation of these factors increases the sense of frailty in older adults, associated with impairments in balance, gait speed, and an increased risk of falls. One consideration is the reduced intracellular pH limiting anaerobic performance. Further to this, the early slowing of left ventricular relaxation and diastolic suction occurs in early middle age.

Carnosine, a dipeptide consisting of β-alanine and L-histidine is evident in both skeletal and cardiac muscle. Increasing the availability of free β-alanine, either via dietary or supplemental means, results in increased skeletal muscle carnosine content. In the last 10 years, there has been significant research examining the influence of increased skeletal muscle carnosine content on exercise performance associated with the role of carnosine as an intracellular pH buffer. Carnosine may improve skeletal muscle calcium kinetics and β-alanine supplementation in-vivo has demonstrated significant improvements to half-relaxation time (HRT) in fresh and fatigued muscle conditions. It is therefore considered that β-alanine supplementation may improve skeletal muscle function and left ventricular diastolic function in older adults.

The aim of this PhD programme is to investigate the effect of β-alanine supplementation on skeletal and cardiac muscle function, specifically variables associated with muscle relaxation.

The applicant

Applicants with a strong background in Sport Science, Physical Activity, Health or a related discipline are encouraged to apply. In consultation with the supervisory team, Dr Rebecca Jones, Dr Joanna Richards and Prof Craig Sale, the successful candidate will be responsible for developing the final project outline to ensure that it draws on the student’s interests, background and research expertise. The studentship holder will be key in delivering the programme of work outlined above.

*Subject to satisfactory progress on PP1 and PP2.

How to apply

For an application pack or any application queries please email quoting the appropriate reference number. Applicants need to submit a 1,000 word proposal (excluding references) setting out how they would approach the proposed subject area as a PhD study. In addition to a CV, applicants will need to send a cover letter with supporting information on their experience and skills and how these relate to the advertised PhD.

Further information regarding research study at the University of Bedfordshire can be found at:

To find out more about our research visit:

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