The number of older adults worldwide is expected to double to 1.5 billion people by 2050 (United Nations 2019), however increasing numbers of older adults are living out their later lives in poor health. Healthy ageing has been defined as “the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age” (WHO 2015), and it involves promotion of health and wellbeing from an individual, through to social and structural levels. One bodily system gathering increasing interest from researchers working in the field of healthy ageing is the gut microbiome. Existing research amongst older adults indicates that the composition of the microbiome shifts in older age, and that this shift could in part be linked to poorer health. Therefore, there has been a lot of interest in the potential of prebiotics to facilitate healthy ageing. This project will allow us to better understand how the gut is linked to healthy ageing.
This PhD project will be conducted in the School of Psychology, under the supervision of Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh and Dr Kimberley Smith. It will combine evidence synthesis, secondary data analysis and primary data collection. You will learn more about psychological and lifestyle assessments with microbiome sampling and sequencing and you will be trained in cognitive neuroscience, clinical assessment and microbiome modelling. With the use of these skills and approaches you will be able to develop an in-depth understanding of how the gut is linked to healthy ageing. No research to date has combined the different methodological approaches in a sample of older adults and we predict that the outcome of this project will not only show how lifestyle can enhance gut microbiome function but will also pave the way for new interventions that can contribute to healthy ageing. This project will be co-produced with an advisory group to ensure that both research focus and delivery mode are age-appropriate and relevant to the lives of healthy ageing women.
Principle Supervisor: Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh
[Email Address Removed]
Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh | University of Surrey
Open to UK and international students with the project starting in October 2023. Note that a maximum of 30% of the studentships will be offered to international students.
You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our PhD programme https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/psychology-phd#entry.
How to apply
Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant principal supervisor(s) to discuss the project(s) before submitting their application.
Applications should be submitted via the https://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/psychology-phd#apply programme page (N.B. Please select the October 2023 start date when applying).
You may opt to apply for a single project or for 2 of these Faculty-funded studentship projects.
When completing your application, in place of a research proposal, please provide a brief motivational document (1 page maximum) which specifies:
- the reference numbers(s) for the project or two projects you are applying for
- the project title(s) and principal supervisor name(s)
- if applying for two projects, please also indicate your order of preference for the projects
- an explanation of your motivations for wanting to study for a PhD
- an explanation of your reasons for selecting the project(s) you have chosen
Additionally, to complete a full application, you MUST also email a copy of your CV and 1-page motivational document directly to the relevant project principal supervisor of each project you apply for. Due to short turnaround times for applicant shortlisting, failure to do this may mean that your application is not considered.
Please note that online interviews for shortlisted applicants are expected to take place during the week commencing 30th January.