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The mechanisms of neuromuscular fatigue in female athletes; what makes females less fatigable compared to their male counterparts? (RDF16/SPO/GOODALL)

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Goodall
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Fatigue is a universal and daily phenomenon that involves a myriad of complex mechanisms ultimately characterised as an exercise-induced decrease in maximal force produced by a muscle. In recent years, the investigation of sex differences in muscle fatigue is a topic that has received a great deal of attention within the literature. It is well established that females appear to be less fatigable than males. These conclusions have only been drawn upon from investigations utilising single limb exercises or isolated muscle groups and have little or no application to locomotor exercise (i.e., running and cycling activity).

In addition, there is a stark paucity of research focusing on females in the exercise sciences, particularly within the area of neuromuscular fatigue responses and adaptation to strenuous exercise. At Northumbria, we have a national and international reputation for investigating the neuromuscular system, specifically to probe the central nervous system and peripheral muscle function to understand fatigue and the adaptive responses to exercise. In recent years we have established the use of these techniques in locomotor exercise to examine fatigue following marathon running, high intensity cycling, repeated sprint exercise and muscle-damaging exercise; however, comparable data from a female population is scarce.

The successful applicant will be excellently placed to develop a valuable skill-set and be well versed in applying these techniques in a number of exercise paradigms in male and female populations. The course of study will make important contributions to our understanding of the sex differences relating to exercise-induced fatigue and adaptation from various modes of strenuous physical activity; we further anticipate these data to inform the direction of future work with international collaborators and partners in elite sport.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Please note eligibility requirement:

* Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. normally an Honours Degree: 1st or 2:1 (or equivalent) or possession of a Masters degree, with merit (or equivalent study at postgraduate level). Applicants may also be accepted on the basis of relevant and substantial practitioner/professional experience.

* Appropriate IELTS score, if required (evidence required by 1 August).

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/research/postgraduate-research-degrees/how-to-apply/

Please ensure you quote the advert reference above on your application form.

Deadline for applications: 18 March 2016
Interview date (if known): w/c 2 May or 9 May 2016
Start Date: 3 October 2016

Funding Notes

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (in 2016/17 this is £14,296 pa) and fees (Home/EU £4,350 / International £13,000).


Goodall, S. Charlton, K. Howatson, G. and Thomas, K. (2015). Neuromuscular fatigability during repeated-sprint exercise in male athletes. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47, 528-536.

Goodall, S., Charlton, K., Hignett, C., Prichard, J., Barwood, M., Howatson, G. and Thomas, K. (2015). Augmented supraspinal fatigue following constant-load cycling in the heat. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 25 (Suppl. 1), 164-172.

Thomas, K., Goodall, S., Stone, M., Howatson, G., St. Clair Gibson, A. and Ansley, L. (2015). Central and peripheral fatigue in male cyclists after 4, 20 and 40 km time-trials. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 47, 537-546.

Bishop, D., Gardiner, D., Goodall, S. et al. (2015). Commentaries on Viewpoint: The two-hour marathon: what’s the equivalent for women? Journal of Applied Physiology, 118, 1324-1328.

Keane, K., Salicki, R., Goodall, S., Thomas, K. & Howatson, G. (2015). The muscle damage response in female collegiate athletes following repeated sprint activity. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29, 2802-2807.

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