Characterising skeletal muscle protein metabolism in adults with Becker Muscular Dystrophy using non-invasive approaches

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

Description

Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive losses in muscle size, strength and function primarily in the thigh, shoulders and arms. Dietary protein is one factor which can contribute to the maintenance of muscle size/function in various populations, however, the common dietary protein habits of individuals with BMD have not been characterized. Moreover, other populations with reduced muscle size/strength, for example sarcopenic individuals, exhibit impaired protein turnover responses to dietary protein ingestion although this is also yet to be investigated in BMD. Importantly, our group (and collaborators) have pioneered several techniques which assess indices of muscle protein turnover in a non-/minimally-invasive manner, providing us with methods that can be easily applied to clinical populations with low participant burden.

This PhD studentship will utilize these techniques in individuals with BMD to understand how their bodies utilize ingested protein for muscle protein turnover in addition to determining if muscle size, strength and function can be improved by chronic protein supplementation. The successful applicant will gain experience with working with this clinical population at our partner organization, Neuromuscular Centre, Winsford as well as undertaking in-depth analytical laboratory analyses within our own world-leading facilities and those of collaborators (University of Nottingham).

This 4-year PhD studentship has the following aims:

  1. To characterise common dietary habits of individuals with Becker Muscular Dystrophy and determine if these are associated with muscle size, strength and/or function.
  2. To investigate, using non-/minimally-invasive methods, if protein turnover in response to dietary protein ingestion is impaired in individuals with Becker Muscular Dystrophy.
  3. To determine if chronic protein supplementation in individuals with BMD can improve, or offset losses, in skeletal muscle size, strength and function.

Entry Requirements

In addition to the standard entry requirements for PhD programmes at Manchester Metropolitan University, applicants should have:

  1. Knowledge and some experience of standard research techniques and methods to assess diet, body composition and skeletal muscle size, strength and function
  2. A strong understanding of protein metabolism and an appreciation for methodologies which can be used to assess this (full training in techniques will be provided)
  3. The ability to collate, interpret, analyse and present data
  4. Strong interpersonal and communication skills

Furthermore, as much of the data collection for studies will occur off-campus at our collaborator site, The Neuromuscular Centre, the applicant may benefit from access to a vehicle. However, full transport costs will be provided/reimbursed.

Fees

This is a full-time, funded PhD opportunity in the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences. It is open to both Home and Overseas students. Please note that only Home fees will be covered - eligible overseas students will need to make up the difference in tuition fee funding.

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 Nathan Hodson 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 Narrative CV 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 PGRAdmissions@mmu.ac.uk

Closing date: 22 May 2024. October 2024 start.

Please quote the reference: SciEng-NH-2024-BMD

Who is eligible to apply?

It is open to both Home and Overseas students. Please note that only Home fees will be covered - eligible overseas students will need to make up the difference in tuition fee funding.

Manchester Metropolitan University Campus

Where is Manchester Metropolitan University?

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