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PhD Studentship: Studying Cardiovascular Genetics in Mid Versus Later Life to Improve Understanding and Clinical Prediction

University of Exeter - Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Stipend of at least £18,622 (in alignment with standard Research Council UK rate)
Hours: Full Time, Part Time
Placed On: 23rd November 2023
Closes: 2nd January 2024
Reference: 5007

Project description:

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the UK is more common in older people, with prevalence increasing from 5% in middle age to over 20% in people aged over 75. Many risk factors are known (obesity, smoking, etc.) but the clinical features vary with age. Identifying high-risk individuals and intervening to reduce risk remains a complex clinical challenge. Studies of genetics in CVDs are providing insights into mechanisms and clinical prediction tools, yet these are generally from cohorts focussed on mid-life. Improving our understanding using a life course genetics approach will allow more personalised approaches to patient care, tailoring interventions and improving health outcomes. 

The UK Biobank is a large study of 500,000 adults, with linked genetics and electronic medical records data. As time progresses, the age of the participants is increasing, providing exciting opportunities to study the effect of genetics on CVD risk at different ages. We want to find out if there are unique genetic factors contributing to CVD as people age. By doing this, we hope to design more personalised approaches to predict and manage cardiovascular health. We hypothesise that genome-wide genetic analyses of specific CVD, such as heart attack and stroke, in different age groups will uncover different biological pathways and risk factors. 

Fees and funding 

For eligible students, the studentship will cover Home tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £18,622 (in alignment with standard Research Council UK rate) for 3 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study, in addition to a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG). The student would be based in College House on the St Luke’s Campus in Exeter.  

*Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend. International applicants need to be aware that you will have to cover the cost of your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD. 

The conditions for eligibility of home fees status are complex and you will need to seek advice if you have moved to or from the UK (or Republic of Ireland) within the past 3 years or have applied for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Timeline

The closing date for applications is midnight on Tuesday 2nd January 2024. 

Interview panels will be held virtually in late January/ early February 2023 for a September 2024 start. 

Contact details 

If you would like to discuss the studentships further, please contact the primary supervisor as stated in the advert. If you have any queries surrounding the application process or the BRC more generally, please contact Dr Sophie Gould (NIHR Exeter BRC Training and Events Manager) at S.L.Gould@exeter.ac.uk

Entry requirements 

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate subject area.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level as per our guidance at https://www.exeter.ac.uk/pg-research/apply/english/ 

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