Funded PhD Opportunity Resistance Exercise, Ageing and Functional Capacity.

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism


Ageing is a complex phenomenon associated with declines in muscle strength (Frontera et al, 1997) and endurance (Pollack et al. 1997). Such changes decrease functional capacity, quality of life and increase the risk for chronic illness/disability (Nelson et al, 2007). Muscle mass predicts longevity (Srikanthan and Karlamangla, 2014) and regular exercise can exert protective effects on physiological and ageing indices (Rinder et al, 2000). Furthermore, positive exercise adaptations still occur in older individuals (Robinson et al, 2017). Resistance training is an effective and efficacious intervention for the muscle-tendon complex (Law et al. 2016, Onambele et al. 2012) in Sarcopenia.

However, optimisation of resistance protocols for ageing populations is poorly understood; effective training may reduce the risks of several metabolic diseases and functional hazards such as trips and falls. DNA damage accelerates the ageing process, possibly due to oxidative stress. Aerobic exercise can down regulate important genes associated with DNA repair following damage (Davison & McClean unpublished). Yet, there is no data regarding the potential effects of resistance exercise on DNA damage, oxidative stress and ageing in older populations.

This project will examine the impact of resistance exercise in relation to:

1.Oxidative stress, DNA damage and ageing;

2.Neuromuscular, tendon and functional changes following training in ageing.

This studentship will involve several linked studies using several experimental techniques. This PhD project would suit a graduate from Sport and Exercise Science, Biomedical Science or a related area. Applicants should have good knowledge of Exercise Physiology and experience of wet laboratory techniques is advantageous. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively through oral and written means is also desirable.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
  • Practice-based research experience and/or dissemination
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project
  • Publications - peer-reviewed
  • Publications record appropriate to career stage
  • Experience of presentation of research findings
  • Use of personal initiative as evidenced by record of work above that normally expected at career stage.


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

Watch Video

Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 19 February 2018
Interview Date
March 2018

Contact Supervisor

Dr Conor McClean

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #237392 when applying for this PhD opportunity