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Improving access to diabetes testing in the community. (EnglishEU19SF)

Faculty of Medicine and Health Science

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Dr E English , Prof J Wain No more applications being accepted Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Diabetes is a major global health burden and is the 7th leading cause of death worldwide. Early identification and treatment of the disease has been shown to reduce the rate of complications. It is estimated that half of all people who have diabetes are currently undiagnosed, rising to nearly 70% in sub Saharan Africa. Rapid testing for people who are at high risk for the disease will enable greater identification of undiagnosed cases and timely intervention to improve patient outcomes. In order to broaden the ways in which people can access diabetes testing, community based provision has been highlighted as an innovative new approach. There is increasing interest in the use of point of care testing (POCT) of HbA1c (biomarker) for people at high risk of diabetes and there are global examples of well-established community or primary care testing networks.

In this project we aim to undertake both analytical and clinical studies to assess performance of POCT HbA1c in community settings using International Quality Targets. It is essential that any community based testing is comparable in performance to established quality standards applied to laboratory based testing to fulfil WHO and UK guidance on diabetes diagnosis.

This PhD offers an exciting opportunity to gain both quantitative and qualitative research skills. The project consists of an analytical study with potential to undertake elements at the European Reference Laboratory and a clinical study to understand the quality and acceptability of POCT for diabetes in a community setting, currently an under-researched area. The supervisory team includes members of the International Committee for Education on the Utility of Biomarkers for Diabetes as well as leading specialists in the field of point of care testing and global diabetes care. You will learn a broad range of analytical and transferable skills in a research intensive University, on a project led by global experts in the field of diabetes testing.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

This is a PhD project.

The start date of the project is 1 October 2020.

The mode of study is full-time. The studentship length is 3 years with a 1-year registration period.

Entry requirements:

Acceptable first degree in Biomedical Science, Biological Sciences, Medical Sciences, MBBS or equivalent. MSc desirable.

The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Please note: Applications are processed as soon as they are received and the project may be filled before the closing date, so early application is encouraged.

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee may also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.


(i) The global impact of the International Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Education and Management Division: engaging stakeholders and assessing HbA1c quality in a multicentre study across China English, E., Weykamp, C., Ji, L., Siebelder, C., Shan, Z., Wang, Y., Li, H. & John, W. G. 19 Dec 2018 In : Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. 57, 2, p. 288–295

(ii) Evaluation of Four HbA1c Point-of-Care Devices Using International Quality Targets: Are They Fit for the Purpose? Lenters-Westra, E. & English, E. 1 Jul 2018 In : Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology. 12, 4, p. 762-770 9 p.

(iii) EurA1c: the European HbA1c Trial to Investigate the Performance of HbA1c Assays in 2166 Laboratories across 17 Countries and 24 Manufacturers by Use of the IFCC Model for Quality Targets. The EurA1c Trial Group Jun 2018 In : Clinical Chemistry. 64, 6

(iv) The use of POCT HbA1c devices in the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme: Recommendations from an expert working group commissioned by NHS England. Misra, S., John, W. G., Alberti, G., Barth, J. H., English, E. & Oliver, N. 2016 NHS.

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