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Women with non obstructive coronary artery disease: targeting progression to cardiac events with exercise.

Project Description

The Women’s Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation suggest that 3–4 million women and men with signs/symptoms suggestive of myocardial ischemia have no obstructive coronary artery disease (INOCA). These individuals incur health-care costs/disabilities similar to many with obstructive coronary artery disease. Two thirds of women undergoing tests for ischemic heart disease have INOCA and a 2.5% yearly increased risk for major adverse cardiac event, non-fatal stroke and heart failure (HF) hospitalization over 5 years. However, treatment for HF in the later years is currently poor and metabolic syndrome and loss of oestrogen combine to drive inflammation and microvascular and cardiac dysfunction.

This PhD will examine (i) characteristics underpinning INOCA in women across different ages to determine whether progression to adverse cardiac events and HF can be decelerated using exercise and (ii) whether differing characteristics can be targeted more precisely with specific exercise regimes (e.g interval or resistance training) and/or dietary interventions.

The PhD student will work with cardiologists, cardiac rehabilitation services and GP surgeries to determine different phenotypes related to disease, medication use, age, micro/macrovascular/cardiac function, physical activity status, cardiorespiratory fitness, diet and blood borne markers. Echocardiography, Doppler ultrasound, blood sampling, fitness testing and exercise training will be undertaken during the PhD.

Funding Notes

We are seeking PhD applicants with the skills and enthusiasm to undertake demonstrating with our Sports and Exercise Sciences undergraduate cohorts. The successful candidate will undertake 120-250 hours of teaching per year alongside their PhD research. You should hold (or be expecting) at least a UK upper second class honours, in a relevant discipline and should also have an interest in teaching.
The studentship is open to UK or EU candidates and will provide fees at UK/EU level plus a stipend of £14,777 for 4 years (subject to progress).


O'Mahoney LL, Matu J, Price OJ, Birch KM, Ajjan RA, Farrar D, Tapp R, West DJ, Deighton K, Campbell MD. (2018) Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids favourably modulate cardiometabolic biomarkers in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis and meta-regression of randomized controlled trials. Cardiovasc Diabetol. 7;17(1):98.

Harris E, Rakobowchuk M, Birch KM. (2017) Interval exercise increases angiogenic cell function in postmenopausal women. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 3(1):e000248.

Harris E, Rakobowchuk M, Birch KM (2014) Sprint interval and sprint continuous training increases circulating CD34+ cells and cardio-respiratory fitness in young healthy women. PLoS One. 9(9):e108720.

Taylor BJ, How SC, Romer LM. Expiratory muscle fatigue does not regulate operating lung volumes during high-intensity exercise in healthy humans. J Appl Physiol, 2014; 114: 1569-1576.

How good is research at University of Leeds in Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 12.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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