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. Therefore high intensity (e.g. 80% 1RM) resistance exercise in particular provides a potent stimulus for altering the morphology and mechanical properties of tendons to enhance function. Several studies have reported that performing resistance training with blood flow restriction is an effective method for improving muscle mass and strength (Loenneke et al. 2013 Abe et al. 2015).
However, performing resistance training with blood flow occlusion is typically performed at low intensity (e.g. 20-40% 1RM) with the stimulus for adaptation primarily derived from metabolic activity. As such this potentially provides a sub-optimal stimulus to induce a simultaneous muscle-tendon adaptation (Kubo et al. 2005), which may in fact lead to maladaptation and function of the muscle-tendon unit. Currently there is sparse research available in this contemporary mode of exercise with conflicting reports on the adaptations of the muscle-tendon complex (Kubo et al. 2005; Centner et al. 2019)
This project will examine the impact of acute and chronic resistance exercise on neuro-muscle-tendon properties in relation to:
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.
- To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.
- Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
- A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
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
- Masters at 65%
- 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
- Experience of presentation of research findings
- Use of personal initiative as evidenced by record of work above that normally expected at career stage.
The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:
Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)
Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)
Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,500 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)
Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).
This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Department for the Economy (DFE)
The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,285 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.
Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies
The Doctoral College at Ulster University
My research examined the ability of exercise to inflict damage to DNA and other biologically important structures. During my PhD I had the pleasure of being supervised by Prof Gareth Davison and Dr Ciara Hughes. Pursuing a PhD was never a goal from the outset of my academic career - I wanted to be a PE teacher and completed my BSc in Sport and Exercise Science. However, I carried on with my studies and completed a MSc in Sports Nutrition before enrolling in my PhD.If I could give advice to any new graduate student, it would be the nature of research means that things will not always go according to plan. Keep calm, take a break and then carry on. Have a life outside work. Although your lab group is like your work family, it’s great for your mental health to be able to escape work especially when things don't go to plan.
Joshua Williamson - PhD in Sports Science