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Investigating the relationship between biological aging and the prevalence and incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in NICOLA and TILDA

School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

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Dr R Hogg , Prof AJ McKnight No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
Belfast United Kingdom Epidemiology

About the Project

This project seeks the explore the associations between a variety of ageing biomarkers and the presence and progression of Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). While Age is the most significant risk factor for the development of AMD the precise mechanisms driving this relationship are not well understood.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of registerable sight loss in the UK. Despite age being the strongest risk factor for AMD, the precise mechanisms driving this relationship are not well understood. A variety of methods for characterising “biological age” are available either encompassing clinical manifestation of aging such as frailty indices, composite markers of multi-system biological dysregulation such as allostatic load or epigenetic clocks which represent cumulative DNA damage via methylation patterns. The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Aging (NICOLA) ( ) and The Irish Longitudinal Study (TILDA) ( )have extensive information on participants to enable the calculation of these indices as well as AMD classification from retinal grading. Genome-wide association study data (GWAS) is available from NICOLA and major AMD risk loci typed within TILDA to allow the genetic risk factors to be accounted for within the analysis. Understanding the mechanisms which drive earlier onset of this sight threatening disease in some people will be important in developing prophylactic therapies and identifying those most at risk.

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE). For UK domiciled students the value of an award includes the cost of approved fees as well as maintenance support. (Stipend rate for 2020-21 £15,285)
To be considered eligible for a full DfE studentship award you must have been resident in the United Kingdom for the full three year period before the first day of the first academic year of the course. You must hold or expect to get an upper second class honours degree.


Please visit the QUB website for further information about the School
Applications are made via our Direct Applications Portal
When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School.

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