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PhD Studentship in Visceral Adipose Tissue and Cardiometabolic Risk Stratification

The Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences and the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health, are inviting applications from high calibre individuals to undertake a 3-year fully funded PhD on the topic of visceral adipose tissue and cardiometabolic risk stratification. The PhD programme is part of a new industry partnership between Durham University and GE Healthcare. The successful candidate will undertake the PhD within the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences under the academic supervision of Dr Karen Hind.

Funding: Subject to eligibility, the scholarship covers UK tuition fees and a grant towards living expenses of £15,285 per annum, for three years. Successful applicants will also have access to a Research Training Support Grant.

Hours: Full time

Starts: TBC, 2021

The Project

The planned area of PhD investigation will be cardiometabolic risk stratification using dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) imaging of visceral adipose tissue. The research will establish age and sex-specific visceral fat cut-offs that correspond with elevated cardiometabolic risk in adults, and there is scope to explore variation in risk stratification by ethnicity and/or in athletic groups. The research will take place in the new Truscott Imaging Suite at the Sports and Wellbeing Park, Maiden Castle - part of a ~£30m Durham University development. The successful PhD applicant will join a growing community of DXA imaging researchers within the Department and gain valuable experience from working in partnership with a global leader in the medical imaging industry. We are looking for someone with a strong interest in physiology and health science and a genuine commitment to undertaking research at doctoral level. Full training on DXA and other skills required for this PhD will be provided.


The ideal candidate will have:

·         Honours degree in any of the following areas (or related): physiology, sport and exercise sciences or clinical/health sciences (min 2.1).

·         Experience of conducting research in any of the above areas.

·         Proficient in statistical analyses and willing to develop skills in statistics.

·         Strong interpersonal skills given that data collection will require working directly with the public/patients.

Desirable Criteria:

·         MSc or MRes in  an appropriate area (see above).

·         Experience and/or understanding of DXA imaging.


How to apply

Applications should be made via the Durham University online application system: quoting program code B6A101

Please state on your application under the section on Finance and Funding which scholarship you are applying for – please state ‘Cardiometabolic Risk Stratification’.

Selection will be based on application documents and interview.

Supporting Documents:

1) A 3-page (maximum) proposal for a study on the measurement of visceral adipose tissue for cardiometabolic risk stratification. The proposal should include a brief review of the literature on the epidemiology and risk factors for cardiometabolic disease and the role of visceral adipose tissue, a rationale for the study, aims, study design, data analysis and expected outcomes. You may include figures, diagrams, or tables to illustrate any aspects of study if you feel it is helpful. You may also include ideas for sub-study investigation in specific population/s.

2) Evidence of previous study – transcripts and certificates.

3) Letters of references – from two academic sources.

4) CV (no more than 2 pages).

5) English Language Evidence – please refer to following web page for details of accepted evidence

Enquiries regarding the study programme should be made to Dr Karen Hind:

Enquiries regarding the application process should be forwarded to

Closing Date: 31st March 2021

Interview Date: April 2021