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The effects of different [supraphysiological] concentrations of oestrogen and progesterone on aspects of physiological functioning and performance in cis-gender women


   Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine

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  Prof Kirsty Elliott-Sale  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

There is a shortage of high-quality data relating to female endocrinology and exercise physiology. This lack of knowledge and understanding has limited the appliance of science in active women (i.e., within a sport and exercise science context). As such, there are currently no bespoke, fit-for-purpose, evidence-based guidelines for female exercisers/athletes to follow, which clearly needs to be addressed. This PhD programme will examine the effects of large (known as supraphysiological) changes in ovarian steroid hormones on different aspects of physiological functioning and on athletic performance. The results of this work will contribute to a growing body of top-class research on active women, with a view to one day providing scientific evidence to support female exercisers/athletes from both a sports performance and health perspective.

The successful candidate will be based within our Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine Research Centre.

Aims and objectives

This project aims to investigate if supraphysiological changes in oestrogen and progesterone affect aspects of physiology and athletic performance in cis-gender women.

This project will provide:

  1. A high-quality dataset; exceeding previous published methodological standards
  2. A novel dataset; addressing gaps in current knowledge and understanding
  3. A new blueprint (e.g., protocol papers and/or methodological papers) for designing studies in this area; providing protocols for best practice
  4. Guidance for female exercisers and athletes (e.g., reports, expert statements, viewpoints); providing guidelines on the effects of different hormonal profiles on athletic performance and the physiological components that underpin it

Specific requirements of the project 

We are looking for a PhD researcher to investigate the effect of different [supraphysiological] concentrations of oestrogen and progesterone on aspects of physiological functioning and performance in cis-gender women, which could include athletes, clinical populations, and/or pregnant women. The studies will have an applied and basic-science focus and there is certainly some scope for the PhD researcher to have input into the outcome measures included in the programme of work. These studies will employ the current gold-standard techniques available in the area of female endocrinology and exercise physiology and aim to contribute high-quality datasets to this field of research. As such, applicants should have:

  1. Knowledge and some experience of standard research techniques and methods within sport and exercise science, and the ability to develop skills further in this area, particularly in female physiology;
  2. The ability to collate, interpret, and analyse data;
  3. A keen and active interest in female endocrinology and exercise physiology

Funding Notes

Fully-funded PhD (home fees), stipend paid at 2022/23 rate of £16,062. Expected start date January 2023.

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