The Faculty Research Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences is looking to recruit to up to eight fees funded PhD studentships. Each studentship will include fee payment (currently £3,996), for three years and each project will be supported via an appropriate consumables and/or equipment budget as agreed with the supervisory team. There is no bursary/maintenance grant attached to these studentships. It is preferable for the studentship to be studied full time for three years of study with a view to the student starting the PhD in January 2015 and completing within three years. Any successful applicants who do not have a taught Masters qualification, with an average grade of at least 60%, will be required to start on a one year full time Masters by Research programme which, if the student performs well, allows transfer to the second year of a PhD after one year of MScR. If the student needs to extend their studies beyond three years, e.g. for a write-up year then the student will probably have to pay their own fees for the extra year and is unlikely to receive any financial support from the University. These studentships are only open to applicants who are eligible for payment of UK/EU level fees.
January 2015 start (induction is on 12/01/15)
Funded by: Coventry University Faculty Research Centre for Applied Biological and Exercise Sciences
Fees: UK/EU fee equivalent paid by Faculty Research Centre
Maintenance grant: None
Studentship academic contact: Dr. Mike Price (email@example.com)
External collaborators (if applicable)
Details of proposed research:
Amongst other factors ageing is characterised by progressive loss of muscle mass and muscular strength (Peterson et al. 2012). This translates into decreased functional capacity as evidenced by peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) (Hopker et al, 2013). Although this progressive decline in VO2peak has been observed for the lower body (Conley et al, 2012) little information is available regarding upper body VO2peak. Recently, upper body exercise training has been shown to elicit improved lower body functional capacity in healthy elderly (Pogliaghi et al, 2012) and clinical populations (Tew et al. 2008). Such a cross transfer effect from training the upper body may be due partly to the initial level of aerobic fitness and the relatively ’untrained’ nature of the upper body. Although the upper body has a smaller muscle mass, lower VO2peak and possibly lower muscle ‘quality ‘ (Russ et al., 2012, Hill et al, 2014; Price et al, 2014) whether the same age related decline in functional capacity occurs for upper body exercise is unknown. As many activities of daily living correlate with upper body functional capacity (Hill, 2014), and contribute to independent living in elderly populations, establishing the decline in upper body function with age is of key importance.
The key aims are to;
1. establish the effects of age on upper and lower body functional capacity
2. determine the effect of initial fitness level on the cross transfer training effects of upper body exercise in relation to age.
Specific objectives are to determine the;
1. effects of age on upper body and lower body functional capacity (VO2peak)
2. muscle strength, muscle mass and muscle quality (strength:muscle mass) of the upper and lower body
3. effects of age on functional capacity tests (Y-balance, multidirectional functional reach; MDFR) and habitual physical activity (including upper and lower body predominant activities)
4. cross over effect of upper body training in relation to age
5. cross over effect of upper body training in relation to initial functional capacity
Study 1 (Aim 1, objectives 1-3) assesses the relative functional capacity of the upper and lower body in a range of laboratory based tests and activities of daily living in relation to age. This cross sectional design allows not only the determination of the [hypothesized] loss of functional capacity with age in relation to changes in muscle mass but also, using muscle quality inferences, whether upper and lower body functional capacity differs as a result of ageing per se. Furthermore, our previous work (Hill, 2014) has observed how upper and lower body functional capacity is related to different functional balance tests. Therefore, this study will also be the first to determine how the functional capacity of the upper and lower body relates to habitual physical activity, thus aiding assessment of upper body ‘fitness’.
Study 2 determines the magnitude of cross transfer effects of 12 weeks upper body exercise training on lower body functional capacity. Firstly, groups of young (18-30 years) and old (60-70 years) participants will be assessed at weeks 0, 4, 8 and 12 for functional capacity. Secondly, a group of young participants matched for the ‘upper body fitness’ of the older group (potentially VO2peak, Wpeak muscle mass or muscle quality) will also be compared. Thus, the time course of upper body cross training effects based on age per se and muscle mass can be compared.
Conley, K.E., Esselman, P.C., Jubrias, S.A., Cress, M.E., Inglin, B., Mogadam, C., Schoene, R.B., (2000). Ageing, muscle properties and maximal Oxygen uptake rate in humans. Journal of Physiology. 526(1), 211—217
Hill, M.W. (2014). ‘The Effects of Upper and Lower Body Exercise on Postural Sway’ PhD
Thesis (submitted), Coventry University.
Hill, M.W., Duncan, M., Goss-Sampson, Price, M.J. (2014). The Effects of Upper and Lower Body Exercise on Postural Sway, European Journal of Sports Sciences. In press.
Hopker, J.G, Coleman, D.A, Gregson, H.C, Jobson, S.A, Von der Haar, T., Wiles, J., Passfield, L.
(2013). The influence of training status, age, and muscle fibre type on cycling efficiency and
endurance performance. Journal of Applied Physiology. 115; 723-729.
Peterson, C.M., Johannsen, D.L., Ravussin, E. (2012), Skeletal Muscle Mitochondria and Aging: A Review. Journal of Aging Research Article ID 194821, 20 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/194821
Pogliaghi, S., Terziotti, P., Cevese, A., Balestreri, F., & Schena, F. (2006). Adaptions to endurance
training in the healthy elderly: arm cranking versus leg cycling. European Journal of Applied
Physiology, 97, 723-731.
Price, M.J., Beckford, C., Dorricott, A., Hill, C., Kershaw, M., Singh, M., Thornton, I. (2014). Oxygen uptake during upper body and lower body Wingate anaerobic tests. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. In press.
Russ, DW, Gregg-Cornell, K, Conaway, MJ, Clark, BC, (2012). Evolving concepts on the age-related changes in “muscle quality”. J Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle. 3(2): 95–109
Tew, G., Nawaz, S., Zwierska, I., & Saxton, J.M. (2009). Limb-specific and cross-transfer effects of arm
crank exercise training in patients with symptomatic peripheral arterial disease. Clinical Science, 117,
For entry onto a PhD programme of study: Masters degree, with overall marks >60%, in a relevant subject area and >60% for the project, but a minimum of the equivalent of a 2:1 in a first degree in a relevant subject area.
For entry initially onto a MScR programme of study: minimum of the equivalent of a 2:1 in a first degree in a relevant subject area with a minimum of 60% in the project
Each applicant must complete a Coventry University application form that can be downloaded from the following web page. Each applicant must also provide 2 references. Any applicant who fails to submit two completed references will not be considered for the studentship.
Applicants will be shortlisted according to their qualifications, experience and suitability to the project. We will also consider the strength of the research proposal proposed (and literature review provided), the likely outputs from the project and the fit of that proposal with the themes of research within the Faculty Research Centre (clearly the specific research proposals that are being advertised are considered strong proposals that fit within the research themes of the Faculty Research Centre).
It may be possible for students who are currently studying for a directly relevant MScR to apply. However, in such a case if a studentship was awarded it would be for two years to allow the student to convert and complete a PhD, dependent on their Progress Review Panel recommending that they could transfer to PhD at the end of the first year of their MScR.
Completing the application form:
Section 1: Target award = PhD or MScR (depending on current qualifications); Host Faculty = Health and Life Sciences; Mode of study = full time; Preferred entry date = January 2015.
Sections 2: fill in your details
Section 3: fill in your details. Who is expected to pay your fees = FRC ABES studentship
Sections 4, 5 and 6: fill in your details
Section 7: If you are applying for one of the PhD projects detailed in the advertisement: Project title = the project title given; Potential Director of studies = the Director of studies listed in bold next to the project title; Ignore the other sections as we have already given details of the aims, objectives, methodology and background. i.e. we do not require a project proposal. Instead write a 500 word literature review relevant to the proposed study (do not copy the background provided in the information given for the project). However, if you are proposing a different project then you should follow the guidelines on the web page above regarding project proposals etc. Note that any projects proposed by applicants that have not been discussed with Coventry University staff will automatically be rejected.
The other sections (section 8 onwards) should also be completed as indicated on the form.
If you have any questions about the application process or need to identify a suitable member of staff to discuss your potential research studentship project application ideas with then please contact Dr Rob James firstname.lastname@example.org or one of the named Director of Studies below
Closing date: 22nd October 2014
Interview date: 10th or 11th November 2014
To view details of Studentship, please visit the link: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/d/795
If applicable: (please submit a: (2000 word proposal on how you would address the research theme) – required / not required (please delete as appropriate)
For an application form please visit the link: http://www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/studentships/a/5763
For guidance on writing a proposal, please visit the following link http://www.coventry.ac.uk/researchnet/d/781
Complete the application form and return with a covering letter to:
Research Recruitment and Admissions team