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Synergist effects of krill oil and krill protein on muscle mass/function and muscle protein metabolism

   College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences

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  Dr Stuart Gray, Dr E Combet Aspray  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


The age-related loss of muscle mass and function, sarcopenia, has several deleterious effects, such as a reduction in the quality of life and increased incidence of falls, often leading to hospitalisation. Moreover, the excess cost of muscle weakness is estimated to be around £2.5 billion/year in the UK. With the percentage of older people (>65y) predicted to rise from in the UK, it is crucial to develop therapies to increase muscle mass and function in older adults. 

We have recently demonstrated that dietary supplementation with krill oil can result in increases in skeletal muscle mass and function in older adults. Other potential strategies to improve muscle mass and function in older people include resistance exercise, which although effective in all age groups is less effective than in younger people due to the so-called anabolic resistance, and dietary protein - with data on its long-term effectiveness relatively mixed. 

Whilst our data showing the effectiveness of krill oil is promising, determining whether it has synergistic effects alongside exercise and/or dietary protein may increase its potential and lead to novel product development. 

The current proposal is an industrial collaboration with Aker Biomarine and with Dr Chris McGlory from Queens University in Canada where the student will spend some time for stable isotope analysis.

The aims of the current studentship are:

1) to determine the interaction between krill oil and krill protein on post-exercise muscle protein synthesis in healthy older adults.

2) to investigate the effects of krill oil and krill protein on adaptations to short term resistance exercise training in healthy older adults  

The programme offers a high-quality research training opportunity, with interaction (and placemen)t with industry, as well as an international component – these features will ensure that the student selected benefits from a high quality research environment for development of transferable skills, whilst generating research outputs contributing to the broader impact narrative in nutrition, health and wellbeing.

The student will receive state of the art training in the field of exercise physiology, nutrition and ageing, with specific skills outlined below.

Skills and training:

- Dietary assessment

- Muscle physiology and muscle function testing

- Phlebotomy training

- Lab biochemistry (mass spectrometry, ELISA assays, colorimetric assays, RT-PCR, Western blotting)

- Microscopy and immunohistochemistry

- Study (intervention) design and ethics application development

- Recruitment of healthy participants and study logistics

- Database management and statistics

Funding Notes

All student applications will be accepted, but it should be noted that the studentship will only cover home student fees.
Eligibility: First or upper second-class honours degree. £12k bench fees are provided. Studentship is for 3.5 years and fees are at RCUK rate.
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