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PhD Studentship: Blood-based Biomarkers of Frailty and Ageing

Loughborough University - Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Location: Loughborough
Salary: £18,622 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 1st December 2023
Closes: 14th January 2024
Job Ref: FP-AS-2023R
 

We are looking for a highly motivated doctoral student who is interested in studying the validity of blood-based biomarkers in frailty in an aged population and expanding our understanding of the underlying biology of ageing by studying different possible pathways.

Increased life expectancy means that we are living longer. Older people are at increased risk of disease and disability, which can affect their quality of life, their families and place demands on health and social care services. Treatment of our ageing population is important for us all.

As part of the project “A volatilome-based signature for age-related recovery & resilience” funded by the Wellcome LEAP Dynamic Resilience Program the group aims to establish a volatilome signature of aging in humans.  

The overall project will examine the role of the following in predicting frailty:

  • Volatiles: The human breath volatilome is the sum of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are present in the exhaled breath of humans. VOCs are small molecules that are produced by the body and released via the breath. The human breath volatilome is a promising field of research that offers a non-invasive, rapid, and low-cost method for clinical diagnosis and monitoring.
  • Frailty biomarkers: Frailty is an ageing-associated syndrome that produces subclinical dysfunction across multiple organ systems, leading to an increased risk of mortality. Markers of health, physical and cognitive function will be assessed.
  • In addition, blood samples will be collected for analysis of proteomic biomarkers of ageing and frailty. Biomarkers identified through the implementation of multivariate strategies may be used to support the detection of frailty. 

This project has the potential to transform our understanding of ageing, and pave the way for interventions that promote longer, healthier lives. Within this, there are opportunities for a student to investigate blood-based biomarkers of ageing. You will be involved in measurement of participants: particularly frailty (e.g. measures of physical and cognitive function) and blood-based markers. You will also support breath sample collection. You will gain training and experience in a broad range of research techniques.

The research group has a range of multidisciplinary experience and an international reputation for research in this area, benefiting from clinical collaboration. The main work will be based within the School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences and benefit from the outstanding facilities of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine. You will be working as part of a large, active and supportive research environment.

The project involves interactions with colleagues in the Chemistry, Engineering and Computer Science Departments of Loughborough University and liaison with other investigators working for the programme and well as with some third-party suppliers and collaborators.

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