The development of nutritional strategies to promote optimal brain health and psychobiological wellbeing across the lifespan is a broad and rapidly growing area of research. One class of nutrients that has shown promise in this respect is phospholipids. Phospholipids are fundamental to maintaining biological membrane structure and function, and, although they are present in all cell types, are particularly abundant in the central nervous system. In vivo studies have demonstrated that membrane phospholipid composition is modifiable by dietary intake, the predominant sources of which are milk, soy, and egg yolk. Preliminary evidence suggests that a diet enriched with phospholipids may be beneficial to cognitive processes, however much of the research to date has focussed on early life interventions, with few studies evaluating their effects in adulthood. Of particular interest is emerging evidence indicating that increased intake of dietary phospholipids may be an effective strategy to reduce the impact of challenges to cognitive function during chronic stress and ageing. However, much more evidence is required.
The overarching objective of this PhD programme is to investigate the effects dietary phospholipids on brain health, psychobiological wellbeing and behaviour in adults. The programme will explore the effects of a high phospholipid bovine milk-derived supplement on behaviour including cognitive and psychobiological processes in a series of randomised controlled intervention studies designed by the student in collaboration with the supervisors and the external partner (see below).
This PhD offers and exciting opportunity to conduct doctoral research within the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre (BPNRC, www.nutrition-neuroscience.com), which has an international reputation for conducting randomised controlled trials examining the effects of nutritional and dietary interventions on human behaviour. In addition, as the project is a collaboration between BPNRC and Volac International Ltd (www.volactive.com), the student will also benefit from the experience of working with an industry partner.
The project will be supervised by Dr Philippa Jackson (BPNRC) and Prof Mark Wetherell (Psychobiology of Stress and Wellbeing group) and be based at Northumbria University.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
· Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
· Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
· Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.
For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see
Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDFC22/…) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 30 November 2022
Interviews: January 2023
Start Date: 1 March 2023
Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers
Informal enquiries to: Dr Philippa Jackson (Philippa.firstname.lastname@example.org)