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  Physiological implications of repetitive head impact in contact sports; the link to accelerated brain ageing


   Faculty of Life Sciences and Education

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  Prof Damian Bailey, Dr Tom Owens, Dr Chris Marley  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, University of South Wales. The successful applicant will join the Neurovascular Research Laboratory, based at the Pontypridd campus in South Wales.

Project details

Sports-related concussion represents a significant and growing public health concern yet remains one of the least understood injuries facing the wider health community today. An increasing number of retired athletes with a history of concussion suffer from neurological complications, including cognitive impairment and depression, established risk factors that can lead to neurodegeneration in later life. Research has suggested that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a form of dementia only observed in those with a history of repetitive head trauma, is a potentially late and under recognised consequence of participation in contact sports.  

Recently published work by our group has identified key mechanisms underlying increased susceptibility to neurodegeneration in contact sports, including associated biomarkers that may prove useful in terms of future prevention. The current PhD studentship serves to extend these important findings and explore the functional interactions between molecular, cerebrovascular, and clinical biomarkers in formerly concussed middle-aged (30-60 years) rugby players. 

The supervisory team includes Dr Tom Owens and Dr Chris Marley (supervisors), and Professor Damian Bailey (Director of Studies).

Scholarship details

The studentship includes tuition fees at the UK home student rate (£4712 per year, full-time) and a stipend of £18,622 per annum for three years.

Eligibility of student

Essential criteria:

  • Hold a relevant undergraduate degree (2:1 or higher)
  • Possess a sound understanding of human physiology and research methods
  • Be highly self-motivated, with a capacity to learn and develop new research skills
  • Have well-developed interpersonal skills for collaborative work 
  • Be motivated to communicate findings as publications in biomedical journals and disseminate findings at research conferences
  • UK resident  

How to apply:

Please visit the Graduate School webpages 

You will need to select MPhil / PhD (Sport) from the drop-down course list in the online application form. Please indicate in your personal statement that you are applying for this studentship. Please note: A research proposal is not required. 

You may contact Jane MacCuish [Email Address Removed] in the Graduate School for advice on the application process.  

For informal discussions about the research, please contact Professor Damian Bailey – [Email Address Removed] 

Closing date: Monday 4th September

Interview date: TBC. 

Start date: 1st October 2023


Medicine (26) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

 About the Project