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PhD Scholarship: University of East Anglia, UK

Topic: Ageing and the Renal-bone Axis: the Effect of Ageing and Renal Impairment on Vitamin D Metabolism (Schoenmakers_U17FMH)

Institution: University of East Anglia – Norwich Medical School

Start Date: April 2018

No. of positions available: 1

Supervisor: Dr Inez Schoenmakers

Project description:

We have a vacancy for a PhD studentship in the Musculoskeletal Research Group. This group undertakes research into factors that regulate the maintenance of a healthy musculoskeletal system as well as those involved in variety of pathologies.

Bone and renal metabolism is regulated by common factors and there is extensive cross-talk between these organs. This is referred to as the renal-bone axis.  Ageing is associated with renal impairment, increased resistance to the regulating hormones and consequently changes in the renal-bone axis. Vitamin D may slow this ageing process. The mechanisms of these age-related changes and the effects of vitamin D are poorly understood. 

Objectives of the PhD:

The focus of this PhD will be to investigate these mechanisms in order to identify and evaluate targets for the prevention and progression of renal impairment and disorders of bone metabolism in older people. The project will initially utilise existing data and samples derived from a randomised controlled trial in older people supplemented with vitamin D (collaboration Newcastle University). In the second phase, a study will be set up investigation vitamin D metabolism using a novel tracer technique.

The student will carry out data processing and analyses, laboratory analyses and in the second phase, conduct a study with human participants/patients. It is expected that the student will prepare and publish at least 2 high impact scientific papers.

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is located at Norwich Research Park. There is access to extensive research facilities and clinical and non-clinical expertise, including health statistics, clinical trial units and state-of the art biochemical equipment. Further information about research at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of East Anglia can be obtained from the website ( Informal enquiries are welcomed to Dr Inez Schoenmakers ( 

Person specification:

Applicants should have an interest in statistical analyses, endocrinology and laboratory work and should have an affinity for working with study participants. Comprehensive training in these disciplines and other required skills will be provided.

Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a 2.1 Hons degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject, e.g. biochemistry, physiology, nutrition, chemistry, medicine.

Successful completion of this PhD is anticipated to open opportunities to pursue a career in medical and health sciences, public health or bio-technical industry.

Funding notes:
This PhD project is funded by the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences for 3 years and comprises home/EU fees (£4,195), an annual stipend of £14,296 and £1000 per annum to support research training. International students are welcome to apply but will need to be able to meet the difference between Home/EU fees and Overseas Fees (£18,000).


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