Skeletal Muscle and Liver Axis; what is the role of exercise in the reversal of metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD)?

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

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU/International)

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

Application deadline: 19th March 2021

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2021

For queries please contact Dr Mark C Turner

Trailblazers PhD studentships

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Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences (CSELS).

Project details

Metabolic associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is considered a silent epidemic, affecting approximately two billion people worldwide. Exercise has been shown to have a several metabolic benefits in hepatocytes of patients with MAFLD, however the cellular mechanisms which underpin these changes require further investigation.

In collaboration with Professor Leanne Hodson at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism; this project will investigate if secreted proteins from exercising human skeletal muscle cells (myokines) impacts the synthesis, storage and oxidation of lipids in physiological and pathophysiological hepatocyte models of fatty liver disease.

The project will provide an opportunity to identify the underlying mechanisms of myokines, on hepatocyte metabolism in physiological and pathophysiological settings. This project will enhance our understanding of the skeletal muscle-liver axis in MAFLD and the impact of pharmacological and lifestyle interventions as effective therapeutic treatments.


This is a fully-funded studentship including full tuition fees (UK/EU/International) plus stipend (based upon the applicable UKRI rate at the point of the award) and additional allowances.


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. 

The candidate will be based in the Centre for Sport, Exercise and Life Sciences (CSELS) Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The CSELS DTC programme is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, which enables the doctoral researcher to fast-track chartered biologist (CBiol) status upon graduation. The successful candidate will be encouraged to engage with all development activities and opportunities across the university at university and faculty level.

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 3.5 years
  • a minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

In addition

  • Experience in skeletal muscle and/or liver metabolism
  • Experience of mammalian cell culture techniques
  • Molecular biology techniques such as qPCR, Immunoblotting, ELISA and Immunofluorescence are advantageous.

How to apply

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

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Mark Turner.

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