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PhD Studentship in: Studying Muscle Disease and Systemic Inflammation in the Chronic Lung Infection Syndrome Bronchiectasis (BAMS, Bronchiectasis, Ageing and Muscle Sarcopenia Study)

Newcastle University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £14,553 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 3rd December 2018
Closes: 5th January 2019
Reference: GM010

Value of award

Full UK/EU fees for 3 years and an annual stipend of £14,553 per annum.  Successful international candidates will be required to fund the difference between UK/EU fees and international fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

February 2019 for 3 years.

Application closing date

5 January 2019.


Sarcopenia, a progressive loss of muscle mass, strength and function and is increasingly recognised in older patients1,2, but to date there is a paucity of work on how this syndrome interrelates with sarcopenia observed in patients with advanced lung disease. Whilst sarcopenia is well described in smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it is not well described in bronchiectasis. Both COPD and bronchiectasis are increasing in prevalence (especially in older adults aged ≥70 years) and are both chronic inflammatory syndromes characterised by breathlessness, reduced physical activity and systemic spillover of cytokines from the pulmonary compartment. In contrast to the well described sarcopenia in COPD patients, the effect of lung inflammation on skeletal muscle in the absence of smoking is unclear. Bronchiectasis affects approximately 300,000 people in the UK, yet is poorly studied.

It has recently been categorised into severity grades (Bronchiectasis Severity Index, BSI6). Those with the highest severity have an increased mortality; 40% at 4year follow-up. Bronchiectasis has been shown to be part of the “inflammaging” syndromes (De Soyza et al, AJRCCM 2017).  In this project the student will undertake analysis of body mass, performance status (using short performance battery test), quality of life questionnaires and non invasive breath tests. Later analyses may include in vitro studies of systemic inflammation on blood samples collected by the wider research team.

1 Cruz-Jentoft AJ, Landi F, Schneider SM, Zúñiga C, Arai H, Boirie Y, Chen LK, et al. Prevalence of and interventions for sarcopenia in  ageing adults: a systematic review. Report of the International Sarcopenia Initiative (EWGSOP and IWGS). Age Ageing. 2014 Nov;43(6):748-59.

2  Naranjo JD, Dziki JL, Badylak SF. Regenerative Medicine Approaches for Age-Related Muscle Loss and Sarcopenia: A Mini-Review. Gerontology. 2017 Aug 17.  doi: 10.1159/000479278. [Epub]


National Institute of Health Research Biomedical research centre (NIHR BRC Newcastle)

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Anthony De Soyza, Dr Antoneta Granic, Dr Alison Yarnall.

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must have good general skills in word processing, be computer literate and able to work within a group and independently. Basic science or clinical physiology degree at 2:1 or higher. A good standard of English is require (in IELTS, an overall score of 6.5 with no individual component below 5.5).

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, please include the following information:

  • insert programme code 8300F in the programme of study section 
  • select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences (full time) – Genetics’ as the programme of study 
  • insert studentship code GM010 in the studentship/partnership reference field 
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code GM010 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project 
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further information contact Professor Anthony De Soyza.

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