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The role of (poly)phenol-rich fruit on exercise recovery and performance (ref: RDFC21/HLS/SER/HOWATSON)

   Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

  ,  Friday, July 02, 2021  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Newcastle United Kingdom Agricultural Sciences Biochemistry Food Sciences Physiology Plant Biology Sport Therapy

About the Project

The ability to recover quickly from exercise is of great importance for many athletes that train or compete on single and consecutive days. We know that strenuous exercise can result in several unwanted consequences such as muscle soreness and declines in muscle function that can be present for several days after the initial bout of exercise. The knock-on effects are that subsequent planned exercise or competition can be negatively affected and reduce performance.

Consequently, numerous recovery strategies have been explored to improve the recovery process and abate the signs and symptoms associated with strenuous physical activity. One such intervention is the use of functional foods, and their derivatives, that are rich in numerous phytochemicals. These interventions often have high concentrations in numerous (poly)phenols that possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and hence have the potential to manage the negative effects associated with strenuous and damaging exercise.

This course of research will explore the effects of yet unexplored, fruit-derived, dietary (poly)phenol-rich products in exercise recovery and human performance. The work is a rare opportunity to explore nutritional interventions with an industry partner in the area of human performance. There is a great deal of free reign for the candidate to contribute to the design and direction of the work in a team with a strong international reputation and established track record in this area of research.

We are seeking applications from those with a strong interest in exercise recovery, human performance and nutrition. The ability to conduct research in an autonomous manner and being organised will be important, along with the ability to use critical thought, communicate clearly (written and orally) and work in a team and independently. A post-graduate degree (in a relevant area or complementary area) and/or experience in the area of study will be a distinct advantage for this post.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

·      Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

·      Appropriate IELTS score, if required.


For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see 


Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDFC21/HLS/SER/HOWATSON) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: 2nd July 2021

Interviews: July 2021

Start Date: 1st October 2021

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. 

For informal enquiries, please contact Prof Glyn Howatson ()

Funding Notes

The studentship is only available to Home students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22, this is £15,609 pa) and full Home fees.
Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
• have settled status, or
• have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
• have indefinite leave to remain or enter.


1. Hill, J.A., Keane, K.M., Quinlan, R., and Howatson, G. (2021). Tart cherry supplementation and recovery from strenuous exercise: a meta-analysis. International Journal of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 31, 154-167.
2. Bongiovanni, T., Federico Genovesi, F., Nemmer, M., Carling, C., Alberti, G., and Howatson, G. (2020). Nutritional interventions for reducing the signs and symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage and accelerate recovery in athletes: current knowledge, practical application and future perspectives. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 120, 1965-1996.
3. Stander, Z., Luies, L., Mienie, L.J., van Reenen, M., Howatson, G., Keane, K.M., Clifford, T., Stevenson, E.J., and Loots, D.T. (2020). The unaided recovery of marathon-induced serum metabolome alterations. Scientific Reports, 10, 11060.
4. Kimble, R., Keane, K.M., Lodge, J., and Howatson, G. (2019). Dietary intake of anthocyanins and risk of cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 59, 3032-3042.
5. Brown, M.A., Stevenson, E.J., and Howatson, G. (2019). Montmorency tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) supplementation accelerates recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage in females. European Journal of Sport Sciences, 19, 95-102.
6. Owens, D.J., Twist, C., Cobley, J.N., Howatson, G., and Close, G.L. (2019). Exercise-induced muscle damage: what is it, what causes it and what are the nutritional solutions? European Journal of Sport Sciences, 19, 71-85.
7. Keane, K.M., Bailey, S., Vanhatallo, A., Jones, A.M., and Howatson, G. (2018). Effects of Montmorency tart cherry (L. Prunus Cerasus) consumption on nitric oxide biomarkers and exercise performance. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 28,1746-56.

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