University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
University of Oxford Featured PhD Programmes
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) Featured PhD Programmes

Investigating associations between traditional and non-traditional risk factors and cardiometabolic disease in African populations, by contrasting traditional epidemiological techniques with Mendelian randomization - Reference: T23/22

Department of Health Sciences

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Dr A Guyatt , Prof N Sheehan No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Over the last two decades, cardiovascular diseases have risen in sub-Saharan Africa, a rise attributed to increases in many traditional cardiometabolic risk factors. This is a major health equity issue: the poorest people in low- and middle-income countries are affected most by the rise in cardiovascular diseases. Studying cardiometabolic risk factors (e.g. smoking, blood pressure, lipids and anthropometry) and cardiovascular disease informs understanding of prevention and risk, but traditional regression modelling may be vulnerable to confounding (where a third factor influences risk factor and outcome), and reverse causation (where outcome may influence risk factor). Using genetic variants as proxies for risk factors (Mendelian randomization) can mitigate these limitations, under certain assumptions, allowing for inference about whether a risk factor causes disease, and by how much. However, there is a lack of Mendelian randomization studies in individuals from Africa. This proposal, based in the Genetic Epidemiology group, would involve finding suitable genetic variants and applying these in Mendelian randomization of cardiometabolic risk and disease, using data from African studies, alongside project partners, including the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The student would receive training in observational and genetic epidemiology, and have a placement opportunity in a low-and-middle-income country after the PhD.

Entry requirements
• Candidates applying to the 4-year PhD should hold or expect to hold a UK first-class or upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate degree or a Master's degree in a relevant subject or overseas equivalent
• Candidates applying to the 1-year MSc + 4-year PhD should hold or expect to hold a first-class or upper second-class (2:1) undergraduate degree or overseas equivalent
• University of Leicester English language (URL: requirements apply
Candidates who do not meet these entry requirements, but feel they have additional research experience should describe this clearly in the applicant statement.
Applicants should note that this programme is not intended for clinically active, medically qualified candidates.

UK/EU and International* applicants may apply.
*International applicants not applying from a Low or Middle Income Country must be able to demonstrate that they can fund the difference between UK/EU and International tuition fees for the duration of the PhD.

For project enquiries please contact the relevant Theme lead or the project supervisor in the first instance.

Administration and general enquiries to Sarah Robinson at [Email Address Removed].

To Apply
Please follow the application advice and submit your application using the online application form at
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