Funded PhD Opportunity Neuro-muscle-tendon Responses & Adaptations to Resistance Training in Females

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism


Muscle and tendon function together as a single unit to bring about movement in humans. Consistent evidence indicates that human tendon alters its morphology and mechanical properties in a magnitude-of-force–dependent manner applied during exercise (Kongsgaard et al. 2007; Arampatzis et al. 2010; McMahon et al. 2013), with this force propagated via muscular contraction. However, recently McMahon et al. (2018) demonstrated that female tendon mechanical properties do not adapt as well as male mechanical properties when undergoing high intensity muscular contractions, which could explain a reduced rate-of-force development in females compared to males (Bell et al. 1989).

This has been underpinned by multiple acute studies investigating the response of female tendon to exercise (Miller et al. 2005; Miller et al. 2007; Sullivan et al. 2010). This phenomenon may be due to the fact female tendons undergo less absolute forces during resistance training (McMahon et al. 2018). Therefore performing a resistance training program aimed at maximising the time under higher absolute forces may be critical in improving tendon adaptation, function and task performance.

This project will examine the impact of acute and chronic resistance exercise on neuro-muscle-tendon properties of females following various types of resistance training in relation to:

1.Neuro-muscle-tendon morphology

2.Neuro-muscle-tendon function & performance

This studentship will involve several linked studies using several experimental techniques.

This PhD project would suit a graduate from Sport and Exercise Science, Sports Medicine, Strength & Conditioning or a related area. Applicants should have good knowledge of Exercise Physiology and experience of imaging 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

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Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 18 February 2019
Interview Date
mid-March 2019


Jordanstown campus

Jordanstown campus
The largest of Ulster's campuses

Contact Supervisor

Dr Conor McClean

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #344712 when applying for this PhD opportunity