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Investigation into the biological effects of exercise training on muscle wasting in patients with lung disease (ref: SF18/APP/SIMOES)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Simoes
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Accentuated skeletal muscle loss in patients with non-communicable diseases such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a strong independent predictor of hospitalisation and mortality. Exercise training remains the most powerful intervention for reversing in part muscle wasting in these patients. However, a proportion of patients experience limited clinical outcomes, even when exercise training has been adequately performed.
As skeletal muscle function and regenerative capacity are facilitated by a population of muscle stem cells (satellite cells) the project will investigate (1) biochemical and biological effect of exercise training on promoting satellite cell proliferation and muscle hypertrophy and (2) the pathological effect of COPD on satellite cell function and muscle hypertrophy.
This project is multi-disciplinary including physiological, molecular biological and cellular techniques, image analysis, cell culture, immunostaining and gene expression. The project benefits from access to a Biobank of human skeletal muscle samples of well-characterized cohort of cachectic and non-cachectic patients and in vitro facilities to study human satellite cells. Additionally the project will benefit form an experience supervisory team including Dr. Davina C M Simoes, Prof. Steve Todryk and Prof Mihalis Panagiotidis.
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.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications should include a covering letter that includes a short summary (500 words max.) of a relevant piece of research that you have previously completed. Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. SF18/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 1st July 2019 for October 2019 start, or 1st December 2018 for March 2019 start
Start Date: October or March

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality and is a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers

Funding Notes

This studentship is only open to self-funding candidates. Self-funding candidates are expected to pay University fees and to provide their own living costs. University fee bands are shown at
Projects in Applied Sciences are typically costed at Band 4.


1. Simoes DCM, Alissafi T, Kourepini E, Paschalidis N, Aggelakopoulou M, Sparwasser T, Boon L; Hammad H; Lambrecht B, Panoutsakopoulou V (2017). Osteopontin promotes protective antigenic tolerance against experimental allergic airway disease. The Journal of Immunology, 200(4): 1270-1282.

2. Simoes DCM, Vogiatzis I (2018). Can muscle protein metabolism be specifically targeted by exercise training in COPD? Journal of Thoracic Disease; 10(12): S1377-S1389.

3. Papaporfyriou A, Loukides S, Kostikas K, Simoes DCM, Papatheodorou G, Konstantellou E, Hillas G, Papiris S, Koulouris N, Bakakos P (2014). Increased levels of osteopontin in sputum supernatant in patients with COPD. Chest; 146(4): 951-958.

4. Simoes DCM, Psarra AMG, Mauad T, Pantou I, Roussos C, Sekeris CE, Gratziou C. (2012) Glucocorticoid and Estrogen Receptors Are Reduced in Mitochondria of Lung Epithelial Cells in Asthma. Plos One 7(6): e39183.

5. Vogiatzis I, Simoes DCM, Stratakos G, Terzis G, Georgiadou O, Zakynthinos S, Roussos C (2010). Effect of pulmonary rehabilitation on peripheral muscle remodeling in cahectic and non-cahectic COPD patients European Respiratory Journal, 36: 301-310

6. Simoes DCM, Xanthou G, Petrochilou K, Panoutsakopoulou V, Roussos C, Gratziou C (2009). Osteopontin deficiency protects against airway remodeling and hyperresponsiveness in chronic asthma. The American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 179: 894-902.

7. Xanthou G, Alissafi T, Semitekolou M, Simoes DCM, Oikononidou E, Gaga M, Lambrecht BN, Lloyd CM, Panoutsakopoulou V (2007). Osteopontin has a crucial role in allergic airway disease through regulation of dendritic cell subsets. Nature Medicine, 13 (5): 570-578.

8. Vogiatzis I, Stratakos G, Simoes DCM, Terzis G, Georgiadou O, Zakynthinos S, Roussos C (2007). Effects of rehabilitative exercise on peripheral muscle TNF-alpha, IL-6, IGF-I and MyoD expression in COPD patients. Thorax 62: 950-956.

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