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PhD Scholarship: Inhaled hydroxy gas as an alternative therapy for individuals with asthma and EIB

School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

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Dr Glen Davison , Dr Steve Meadows No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Asthma and exercise induced bronchoconstriction (EIB) are more prevalent in athletic populations than in the general population. Asthma and EIB are obstructive airway diseases that are driven by inflammatory processes that occur in the walls of the small airways. There are established treatment pathways for the management of both conditions that predominantly include inhaled glucocorticoid and β2-Agonists. Despite these established treatments, some patients do not respond to standardised therapy, others experience significant side effects, whilst others are non-compliant in regular use of their inhaler therapy. Furthermore, athletes may be hesitant to use inhaler therapy, as they are worried of anti-doping restrictions and bans from incorrect use of a permitted therapy.

An alternative therapy for asthma may involve the inhalation of hydroxy gas. A recent study demonstrated that inhaling hydroxy gas (comprised of 67% hydrogen, 33% oxygen) for 60 minutes a day for seven days attenuated airway inflammation and oxidative stress in allergic asthmatic mice (Zhang et al. 2018). Recent studies have also shown an enhanced alveolar macrophage phagocytosis in atopic mice (Huang et al., 2019). These studies provide promise for the use of inhaled hydroxy gas as an alternative therapy for individuals with asthma and EIB, but further research is needed in humans.


To investigate the acute and long-term impact of inhaled hydroxy gas on the airway health and airway hyper-responsiveness in athletes with asthma and exercise induced bronchoconstriction

Aims of Project:

1. To determine whether acute inhaled hydroxy gas reduces severity of asthma and EIB in athletes.

2. To determine whether long term use of inhaled hydroxy gas reduces severity of asthma and EIB in athletes.

3. To determine whether inhaled hydroxy gas improves the airway health and inflammatory profile in athletes with asthma and EIB.


The successful PhD candidate will require the necessary academic credentials and skills for PhD level study. Whilst there will be strong leadership from the supervisory team, working on their own initiative is a required skill. The successful scholarship candidate will have a keen interest in exercise respiratory physiology. Experience in the measurement of lung function, working with industry partners and working with patient populations would be an advantage.

Applicants are required to have a good Honours degree (at least 2.1 or equivalent) in an appropriate subject (E.g. sport science, biomedicine, health science, physical sciences. A Masters in a relevant subject is desirable.

How to Apply

Applications to the University of Kent should be completed on-line at

As part of this application please provide a 1,500 word research proposal outlining a potential first study that you could undertake to work towards the PhD aims.

The closing date for applications: 10th March 2021

Interviews to be held week commencing 5th April 2021.

More specific details about the project can be obtained by emailing Prof. John Dickinson ([Email Address Removed]).

Note that the project will be co-supervised by Dr. Glen Davison and Dr. Steve Meadows from the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Further details about the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences

The School of Sport and Exercise Sciences is a leading department for the study of sport that is friendly, dynamic and innovative. We are an ambitious academic department, and our aim is to establish the University of Kent as a premier institution for Sport and Exercise in teaching and research. The School is currently based at the University of Kent’s Medway Campus but will be relocating to the Canterbury Campus for the start of the 2021 academic year (commencing September 2021, further details can be found here: The Canterbury Campus is a safe, friendly, well-equipped campus in a desirable location. The move to the Canterbury campus will also bring enhanced sport and recreation facilities for staff and students (see:

Please visit our website for more information on the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences:

Funding Notes

The School of Sport & Exercise Sciences is offering one PhD Scholarship. The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home/EU rate plus a maintenance grant equivalent to the maintenance grant offered by the UK Research Councils £15,285 in 2020-21.
The PhD will be offered for one year in the first instance, and extended to a maximum of three years in total subject to satisfactory academic performance at the end of the first year.

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