Fully Funded PhD: Developing our understanding of active and healthy ageing using biological assessments

  • DeadlineDeadline: 22 July 2024
  • North West, All EnglandNorth West, All England


Ageing is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that involves a gradual decline of physiological systems and cellular processes. It is usually quantified as a measurement of the time elapsed since birth (i.e. chronological age). However, this simple count cannot explain the large variations in the ageing trajectories that exist between older people of similar age. For these reasons, researchers have tried to identify alternative descriptions of ageing based on assessments that reflect the ‘biological age’ of an individual. This was linked to the interactions of genes, environment and lifestyle choices.

The research planned within this PhD project aims to address this question of how biological age can be measured and used as a biomarker to improve the ageing process. We will develop metrics to accurately predict biological age with the longer-term goal of making the validated assessments available across very large populations of people for promoting healthy ageing. This will have an enormous impact on our society by raising the quality of life of older people living in our communities.


The project is split into three phases which include:

  1. Comprehensive biomarker identification: this involves conducting a systematic review of existing literature, examining various biomarkers that have been used to assess biological age. 
  2. Physiological and functional assessments of human adults: this phase of the project will establish a unique dataset by recruiting human volunteers to complete assessments in our research facilities. We will utilise advanced technology to determine mechanisms of ageing and their candidacy as biomarkers of biological age.
  3. Validation of short-form assessments: advancing from the gold-standard comprehensive studies (phase two, above), the third phase of the project will validate a short-form of the assessments.

Entry Requirements

Ideal candidates will possess a robust background in human physiology, with a preference for those who exhibit outstanding data analysis and coding skills. A minimum of an honour’s degree at first or upper second-class (2:1) level in sport and health disciplines is required. A solid foundation in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and experience working with elderly participants will be viewed favourably.

We seek proactive, independent, and enthusiastic individuals with a critical mindset to play a pivotal role in this cutting-edge research project. Successful applicants will become part of our research team at the Manchester Metropolitan University Institute of Sport, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment. Additionally, Manchester is recognised as one of the best cities for studying and work life balance in the UK.


This is a full-time, funded PhD opportunity in the Faculty of Science and Engineering. It is only open to home students. Home fees will be covered.

This opportunity provides an annual stipend of the research council minimum rate (set by UKRI) of £19,237 for 2024/25.

How To Apply

Interested applicants should contact Dr Fabio Zambolin ( for an informal discussion.

To apply you will need to complete the online application form for a full-time PhD in Sport and Exercise Science (or download the PGR application form).

You should also complete a CV (candidate’s choice of standard or Narrative CV) with a cover letter, addressing the project’s aims and objectives, demonstrating how the skills you have maps to the area of research and why you see this area as being of importance and interest. 

If applying online, you will need to upload your statement in the supporting documents section or email the application form and statement to

Closing date: 22 July 2024

Expected start date: October 2024

Please quote the reference: SciEng-FZ-2024-Healthy-Ageing

Who is eligible to apply?

Home students only

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