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Identification of new biomarkers of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes

Project Description


Diabetes represents a global health, social and economic burden. Approximately 425 million people in the world suffer from diabetes and this will rise to 642 million by 2040. Of these, 90% have type 2 diabetes (T2D). The primary risk factor for developing T2D is the inability of tissues to respond appropriately to insulin; known as insulin resistance. This condition can remain undetected for a long time and ultimately will lead to T2D. In the UK it is estimated that 1 million people might have the condition and not know it.
We have discovered that a group of small GTPases in muscle and fat (Rab3 pathway) influence how glucose enter cells and could be a key factor in the development of T2D.

The aim of this PhD is to understand how the Rab3 pathway is regulated, and whether it can be used as an early diagnostic marker of insulin resistance and T2D. The PhD candidate will adopt a multidisciplinary approach: 1. Characterise the Rab3 pathway in skeletal muscle to provide solid basis for understanding its role in the development of T2D 2. Perform an intervention in pre-diabetic humans combining physical activity and diet to investigate how this pathway can be controlled.

We welcome expressions of interest from excellent students keen to develop a wide range of cross-disciplinary skills (biochemistry, cell biology, human physiology). This studentship will support the MRC funded research programme, expanding the reach of this study and providing a unique training opportunity for an ambitious student to be involved in a RCUK-funded project.

For further information please contact Francoise Koumanov ()


Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related subject. Candidates with experience in any molecular and cellular techniques or with an interest in diabetes and metabolic diseases are encouraged to apply.

Funding Notes

If successful, funding would be provided by either an SWDTP ESRC studentship or a University of Bath studentship (URSA). Eligible applicants may receive for three years of full-time study: Home/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend for living costs as per research council rates. Students also receive a personal allowance for training and conference attendance.

Please check what kind of award you may be eligible for: View Website

Self funded are are also invited to apply for this project.

Successful applicants would be expected to commence their PhD studies in September 2020.

How good is research at University of Bath in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 22.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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