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Neurophysiological responses following single and repeated bouts of eccentric exercise (ref: RDF20/SER/GOODALL)

Project Description

The Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation at Northumbria University, Newcastle has a global reputation for academic excellence that is underpinned by a vibrant, high quality research-rich environment. Our work is encapsulated within three integrative research themes; 1) Optimising Human Performance; 2) Promoting and Preserving and Health and Well-being; and 3) Informing Practice and Policy. We are seeking enthusiastic and talented PhD candidates for the following project.

Unaccustomed eccentric exercise, involving repetitive lengthening muscle actions is known to produce damage to ultrastructural and cytoskeletal components of skeletal muscle fibres. Such damage produces an immediate decline in maximal and evoked force generating capacity, which persists for several days after exercise. During this time, there are also increases in oedema, muscle stiffness, inflammation and soreness. However, when the same bout of exercise is repeated, similar initial losses in force are experienced but in the days post, a quicker recovery is evident with an attenuated damage response. Whilst many investigations have studied the damage response, little is known about how the motoneurone pool and motor units respond. It is therefore the purpose of the proposed project to investigate neurophysiological responses following single and repeated bouts of eccentric exercise.
We would welcome candidate with appropriate undergraduate and/or postgraduate qualifications in the biological and exercise sciences, with a keen interest in understand fatigue/stress and recovery from strenuous exercise.

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. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

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.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Škarabot, J., Ansdell, P., Brownstein, C., Thomas, K., Howatson, G., Goodall, S. & Durbaba, R. (2019). Electrical stimulation of human corticospinal axons at the level of the lumbar spinal segments. European Journal of Neuroscience, 49, 1254-1267.

Goodall, S., Thomas, K., Barwood, M., Keane, K., Gonzalez, J., St Clair Gibson, A. & Howatson, G. (2017). Neuromuscular changes and the rapid adaptation following a bout of damaging eccentric exercise. Acta Physiologica, 220, 486-500.

Keane, K., Salicki, R., Goodall, S., Thomas, K. & Howatson, G. (2015). The muscle damage response in female collegiate athletes following repeated sprint activity. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29, 2802-2807.

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