PhD Research Studentship: Interaction between genetics, exercise, appetite and gut hormones

Department Of Medicine, University College London

Applications are invited for the above studentship based in the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences, Loughborough University, commencing January 2014. The studentship will be jointly supervised by Dr David Stensel (internal supervisor) and Dr Rachel Batterham (external supervisor).  

Obesity is a major health issue affecting millions of people worldwide. Efforts to prevent and treat this condition are a public health priority. There is a pressing need to learn more about the factors that predispose individuals to obesity and identify strategies that facilitate weight loss and weight loss maintenance. Gut hormones, including ghrelin, peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1, play a key role in regulating appetite and body weight. Previously, we have shown that exercise, a key determinant of healthy body mass, modulates circulating gut hormone levels and reduces appetite (Broom et al 2009 Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 296: R29–R35, King et al 2011 J. Clin. Endocrinol Metab 96: 1114-1121). In recent years, genetic determinants of body mass and obesity risk have been identified. It is now clear that genetic factors influence the extent to which diet and exercise are effective in maintaining a healthy body mass, although there is still much to learn about the mechanisms responsible.

Gaining an understanding of the interaction between obesity-risk genetic variants, exercise and appetite regulation has major health implications for both obesity prevention and treatment and is the focus of this PhD studentship.

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Applicants should have a good first degree in Exercise Science, Medicine or a related discipline. An MSc or research assistant experience in one of these areas is also desirable. In addition, applicants should have excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as confidence in quantitative statistics.

Due to funding restrictions the studentship provides a stipend of £13,726 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for up to three years.

Informal enquiries about the project are strongly encouraged and should be made to Dr David Stensel ( or Dr Rachel Batterham (

Information about the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and details about the application process can be found by clicking the Apply link below.

The closing date for applications is Monday 25 November 2013.

Interviews will be held on Monday 9 December 2013. 

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