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  PhD studentship: Neuromuscular fatigability and exercise intolerance in chronic heart failure

   Faculty of Medical Sciences

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  Dr Callum Brownstein  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a complex clinical syndrome which leads to reduced cardiac output at rest and/or in response to stress. The hallmark symptom of CHF is severe exercise intolerance, which is an integral contributor to impaired quality of life as well as being a strong prognostic indicator. While the aetiology of exercise intolerance is incompletely understood, impairments along multiple steps of the oxygen transport and utilisation pathway are known to be implicated in lower physical capacity in CHF (Poole et al. 2012). One potential contributor to exercise intolerance which has received little attention is neuromuscular fatigability (Brownstein et al. 2021), defined as the reduction in neuromuscular function occurring in response to exercise.

In this fully funded PhD, you will characterise neuromuscular fatigability in individuals with CHF and provide insight into its mechanistic determinants. You will assess fatigability and adaptations to exercise training using gold-standard assessments of neuromuscular function during exercise, alongside cardiorespiratory and haemodynamic assessments. Accordingly, this PhD could provide therapeutic targets to improve exercise tolerance and quality of life in CHF. 

Number Of Awards


Start Date

22 April 2024

Award Duration

The funding covers a 3-year PhD


Newcastle University, Faculty Medical Sciences


Dr Callum Brownstein, School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences

Dr Sarah Charman, Translational and Clinical Research Institute

Professor Djordje Jakovljevic, Translational and Clinical Research Institute

Professor Guy MacGowan, Biosciences Institute

Eligibility Criteria

You must have at least a 2:1 honours degree and an MSc or MRes in an appropriate subject, including: exercise science, physiological sciences.

This award is available to home and international applicants. Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between home fees and international fees.

English Language requirements: IELTS 6.5 overall, with 5.5 or more in each sub-skill.

How To Apply

To apply for a studentship, you must register and apply through the University’s Apply to Newcastle Portal

Once registered select ‘Create a Postgraduate Application’.

Use ‘Course Search’ to identify your programme of study:

  • please apply for the 2023 academic year for April 2024 start
  • you can search for the ‘Course Title’ using the programme code: 8855F
  • please leave the ‘Research Area' field blank 
  • select PhD Biomedical, Nutrition and Sports Science (NUBI)' as the programme of study

You will then need to provide the following information in the ‘Further Questions’ section:

  • A ‘Personal Statement’ (this is a mandatory field) - upload a document or write a statement directly in to the application form
  • The studentship code BI072 in the ‘Studentship/Partnership Reference’ field
  • When prompted for how you are providing your research proposal - select ‘Write Proposal’. You should then type in the title of the research project from this advert - you do not need to upload a research proposal.

 In addition, before you submit your application you will need to upload the following supporting documentation:

  • covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code BI072 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project  
  • degree transcripts and certificated. If English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualification if already completed. 

Contact Details

For further details, please contact:

Dr Callum Brownstein

School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sport Sciences

[Email Address Removed]

Medicine (26) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

100% of home tuition fees paid and an annual stipend (living expenses) of £18,662. Successful international candidates will be required to fund the difference between the home fees and international fees.


Poole DC, Hirai DM, Copp SW, Musch TI. Muscle oxygen transport and utilization in heart failure: implications for exercise (in)tolerance. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012;302(5):H1050-1063.
Brownstein CG, Millet GY, Thomas K. Neuromuscular responses to fatiguing locomotor exercise. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2021;231(2):e13533.