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How does skeletal muscle communicate across organs, tissues and cell types to induce the beneficial metabolic effects of exercise?

   Faculty of Biological Sciences

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  Dr L Roberts, Dr Scott Bowen, Dr Laeticia Lichtenstein  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Exercise is a key biological process. Exercise training leads to whole body adaptations that improve fitness, prevent frailty, and offer protection against age-related dysfunction and disease. Skeletal muscle is an important tissue governing the whole body adaptive response to exercise training. However, the molecular mechanisms through which muscle adapts to exercise, and signals to other tissues and organs to induce health benefits, is poorly understood. Signals released from muscle which communicate to other organs and tissues have been termed myokines. This project will investigate the role of a secretory protein and a metabolite as potential exercise-mediated myokines regulating multiple organ (muscle, liver, adipose tissue) and whole body adaptation to exercise. The project will use state-of-the-art metabolic and physiological phenotyping techniques such as indirect calorimetry, high-resolution mitochondrial respirometry and metabolomics alongside in vivo imaging techniques such as PET/CT to probe the effects of the protein and metabolite myokines on exercise and metabolism using transgenic and exercise animal models.

The successful candidate would also receive training in biochemical, and cell and molecular biology techniques such as RT-qPCR, immunoblotting, histology and tissue culture.


You should hold a first degree equivalent to at least a UK upper-second class honours degree or a MSc degree in a relevant subject. This project would suit an individual with a background in biochemistry, physiology, molecular biology or related discipline.

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the specific demands of their study. The Faculty of Biological Sciences minimum requirements in IELTS and TOEFL tests are:

  • British Council IELTS - score of 6.0 overall, with no element less than 5.5
  • TOEFL iBT - overall score of 87 with the listening and reading element no less than 20, writing element no less than 21 and the speaking element no less than 22.

How to apply:

To apply for this project applicants should complete an online application form and attach the following documentation to support their application. 

  • a full academic CV
  • degree certificate and transcripts of marks
  • Evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements (if applicable).

To help us identify that you are applying for this studentship please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;

  • Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study
  • When asked for source of funding please make it clear that you are applying for a "White Rose BBSRC DTP Studentship"
  • Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert. You can be considered for up to 3 projects in total.

If you have any further queries regarding this opportunity, please contact [Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

This opportunity is funded by the White Rose BBSRC DTP and will attract an annual tax-free stipend of £17,668 (based on the 2022/23 rate). The award will also cover academic fees. This opportunity is available to UK and International fee rated applicants. Please note that any expenses related to the relocation of international students to the UK (visa, insurance, NHS fees, flights, etc) would be their responsibility and are not covered by this award.

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