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  Sarcopenia: from motor unit remodelling to motoneuronal output and muscle function

   School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

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  Dr Jakob Skarabot, Dr J Folland, Dr M Piasecki  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF, 2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. Find out more.


3 years full time

Start date: October 2022

Application deadline: 9th March 2022

Ageing is accompanied by sarcopenia, a loss of muscle size and function leading to reduced mobility, diminished quality of life, and fall-related injuries. During ageing, remodelling of motor units occurs due to the loss and subsequent sprouting of surviving motoneuron axons, a finite process leading to sarcopenia and frailty.

However, little is known about the relation between the age-related structural changes (motor unit remodelling and sarcopenia) and the motoneuron output that determines muscle function. Using state-of-the-art techniques, this research will aim to provide a physiological link between motor unit remodelling and motoneuron output that determines force production.

Special consideration will be given to the definition of ageing based on sarcopenic stage (rather than chronological age), the influence of sex differences in ageing, and the role of lifelong exercise (e.g. Master athletes) on neuromuscular characteristics of ageing.

The project will involve a range of neuromuscular techniques, including measures of mechanical outputs (force, torque), decomposition of high-density surface and intramuscular EMG to discern the activity of individual motoneurons, and potentially a range of neurostimulation techniques (nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation).


Primary supervisor: Dr Jakob Škarabot

Secondary supervisors: Prof Jonathan FollandDr Mathew Piasecki


Our entry requirements are listed using standard UK undergraduate degree classifications i.e. first-class honours, upper second-class honours and lower second-class honours.

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a minimum of MSc degree in Sport and Exercise Science, Biomedical Science, Bioengineering or a related degree subject. A demonstrable interest/experience of neuromuscular research (EMG, TMS) and/or signal processing would be advantageous.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Find out more about research degree funding


All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select 'Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences'. Please quote the advertised reference number SSEHS/JSK/F in your application. To avoid delays in processing your application please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

Apply now

Engineering (12) Sport & Exercise Science (33)

Funding Notes

UK Fully Funded
International Fully Funded.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Fees are reviewed annually and are likely to increase to take into account inflationary pressures.