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  Exploration of the multi-causality and multi-morbidity in patients with lifestyle related liver disease using the UK Biobank

   Institute of Life Course and Medical Sciences

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  Dr Theresa Hydes, Dr Dan Cuthbertson  No more applications being accepted  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the UK due to the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics. NAFLD has a number of extra-hepatic manifestations, and is independently associated with increased risk of components of the metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and extra-hepatic cancer. Risk factors for lifestyle related liver disease frequently co-exist, yet are often treated as distinct entities in research limiting our knowledge of how they might interact and influence clinical outcomes.


We aim to explore the impact of multi-causality on liver related events and the interaction between liver disease and metabolic multi-morbidity using data from the UK Biobank. 

Research questions

  • Examine the relationship between liver fibrosis and cardiovascular events using both non-invasive markers of liver fibrosis and mendelian randomisation
  • Compare the cardio-metabolic risk (including NAFLD), body composition and cardio-metabolic events in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome BMI- and age-matched control women
  • What is the increased risk of liver disease in participants with risk factors in the UK Biobank population and which combination of risk factors/liver blood tests/fibrosis markers/fibrosis scores best predict those who go on to have serious liver events?


The UKBB is a longitudinal prospective study and an unparalleled national health resource aimed at improving the prevention of chronic through the identification of behavioural and genetic determinants of health in middle aged and older adults.1 Over 500,000 individuals aged 40-69 years identified from National Health Service registers agreed to participate following an invitation and were recruited between 2006 to 2010. The research team has access to UKBB data to answer the research questions shown above.

The successful applicant should have an interest in metabolic disease and preferably have skills in coding with prior experience of ‘R’. We welcome applicants with a health sciences or clinical background. Applicants should have a previous degree.

The research will be carried out in Department of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine at the University of Liverpool. The student will be supported by a team of experts in the field of metabolic liver disease with experience of the UKBB to complete a MD or PhD. The student will gain substantial skills in analysis of large datasets, data interpretation and quantitative research methods. It is anticipated this work would lead to a substantial number of publications and conference presentations.

How to apply

Please email [Email Address Removed] with a cover letter stating why you would like the position and how you are qualified, in addition to an up to date CV. 

Computer Science (8) Medicine (26)

Funding Notes

The project is open to European/UK and International students. There is no financial support available from Liverpool for this study. We are looking for self-funded students or students who have secured funding from an independent body. The successful applicant will be expected to have funding in place for the tuition fees ( and living expenses during their stay in Liverpool.

Where will I study?

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