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Plastic Pollution as an Anthropogenic Threat to Human Health: The Impact of Nano- and Microplastics Accumulation on Skeletal Muscle Function

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 27 May 2024

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2024

For further details contact: Dr Jason Tallis.


This PhD aims to examine the impact of nano- and microplastic accumulation on skeletal muscle (SkM) function and will provide important insight into the threat of plastic pollution to human health. Recent evidence suggests that microplastics can accumulate in biological tissues, including SkM. However, the impact of plastic particle accumulation on physiological and functional capacity of SkM is largely unknown and has resulted in a call to action from experts in the field to better understand the impact of plastic pollution on human health.

Project details

Based on world-leading expertise in evaluating isolated skeletal muscle function and utilising equipment exclusive to Coventry University, this PhD will, for the first time, establish the effect of nano- and microplastic accumulation on SkM function. This is especially significant given that impaired muscle function is an independent marker of disease and all-cause mortality. Specifically, the PhD will examine the effects of plastic particle size and dose on SkM function, explore if detrimental effects can be reversed, and establish if an interaction exists between plastic particles and other known pollutants suggested to affect SkM health. This interdisciplinary research will therefore provide necessary data to support robust human health risk assessment of the impact of plastic particle pollution.


This is a fully-funded studentship, including tuition fees and stipend/bursary.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years.
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS academic overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).

How to apply

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Jason Tallis.

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

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