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Relating skeletal muscle oxygenation dynamics to exercise intolerance mechanisms in heart failure: developing a computational model to interpret near infrared spectroscopy measurements

Project Description

The principal symptom of heart failure is profound exercise intolerance. Although heart failure patients have heart problems, a large proportion also have skeletal muscle oxygen delivery or utilisation problems that contribute to the exercise intolerance. For these patients, improving heart function has little effect on exercise intolerance, and treatments should also be targeted at the skeletal muscle. However, identifying these patients is problematic, as direct measures of oxygen delivery and utilisation can only be made invasively. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) can be used non-invasively to measure overall oxygenation, but is limited by its inability to determine whether oxygenation issues are due to delivery or utilisation problems.

In an attempt to overcome this limitation, we have recently constructed a computational model simulating skeletal muscle oxygen delivery and utilisation, tissue oxygenation, and the NIRS signals that would be measured experimentally during exercise testing protocols. This model potentially provides a clinical tool to identify patients with skeletal muscle oxygen delivery or utilisation issues. During this project, you will optimise and validate this model using measurements made in young healthy subjects during exercise, and assess the effectiveness of the model at back-calculating separate oxygen delivery and utilisation information from NIRS signals.

Funding Notes

We are seeking PhD applicants with the skills and enthusiasm to undertake demonstrating with our Sports and Exercise Sciences undergraduate cohorts. The successful candidate will undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year alongside their PhD research. You should hold (or be expecting) at least a UK upper second class honours, in a relevant discipline and should also have an interest in teaching.
The studentship is open to UK or EU candidates and will provide fees at UK/EU level plus a stipend of £14,777 for 4 years (subject to progress).


Benson AP, Bowen TS*, Ferguson C, Murgatroyd SR* & Rossiter HB (2017) Data collection, handling and fitting strategies to optimize accuracy and precision of oxygen uptake kinetics estimation from breath-by-breath measurements. Journal of Applied Physiology 123, 227-242.
Davies MJ*, Benson AP, Cannon DT*, Marwood S, Kemp GJ, Rossiter HB & Ferguson C (2017) Dissociating external power from intramuscular exercise intensity during intermittent bilateral knee-extension in humans. Journal of Physiology 595, 6673-6686.
Ferguson C, Wylde LA*, Benson AP, Cannon DT* & Rossiter HB (2016) No reserve in isokinetic cycling power at intolerance during ramp incremental exercise in endurance-trained men. Journal of Applied Physiology 120, 70-77.
Benson AP, Grassi B & Rossiter HB (2013) A validated model of oxygen uptake and circulatory dynamic interactions at exercise onset in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology 115, 743-755.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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