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Sex hormone actions in frailty and health during ageing

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

It is well established that testosterone and estrogens can influence ageing, with hormone administration improving physical function, muscle and bone strength in some cohorts of the elderly. However, both hormones can have deleterious effects on other aspects of health, limiting their suitability as long-term treatments. Sex-hormone signalling is a complex process that involves metabolism of sex-hormones to different forms, and tissue-specific signalling effects that individually or additively influence treatment responses. Understanding the specific components of sex-hormone signalling that lead to positive and negative effects on health and physical function could lead to more specific/novel treatments that provide beneficial effects only. The current project seeks to establish the role of classical sex-hormone receptors in control of functional responses to sex-hormones, in addition to establishing the role of novel and non-classical sex-steroids in regulation of ageing processes. The candidate will use genetically modified mice with loss of sex-hormone receptor expression to isolate the role of specific receptors in generating sex-hormone responses, with a particular focus on skeletal muscle and exercise capacity as outputs. The candidate will also treat mice with different sex-steroid metabolites, including estrogens that differ in their binding affinity to classical estrogen receptors, and test whether application of these at different life stages can improve physical function in mice of either sex.

The student will be under supervision of Dr. Michael Garratt, whose interests lie in understanding the links between reproduction and aging. The Department of Anatomy at the University of Otago has diverse and complimentary research interests, including research groups focusing on reproduction, genomics, development, neuroscience, neuroendocrinology, clinical anatomy and biological anthropology. The University of Otago is located in the beautiful town of Dunedin in the South Island of New Zealand.

Dr. Michael Garratt
Department of Anatomy
School of Biomedical Sciences
University of Otago
New Zealand

Funding Notes

Interested applicants should contact Michael Garratt, including their CV, academic transcript and evidence of English language test if required. PhD Scholarships are available to international students, but students must apply and be awarded a doctoral scholarship from the Department of Anatomy or University of Otago scholarship programs. These scholarships provide a tuition waiver and a tax-free stipend.

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