The impact of prolactin to the neuronal metabolism

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

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International, including EU at international rates from Sept 21)

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

Application deadline: 27 May 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: September 2023

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Isadora Clivatti Furigo.


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

The pituitary lactogenic hormone prolactin (PRL) has well recognized physiological actions in humans and rodents in lactation and reproduction. Accumulating evidence suggests that PRL has a crucial impact on energy and metabolic homeostasis as studies have shown that persistent hyperprolactinemia has emerged as an obesogenic factor. In this sense, the physiological hyperprolactinemia observed in late pregnancy and lactational periods may contribute to the metabolic adaptations to these conditions in the female body. However, whether prolactin has a direct effect on neuronal metabolism requires further investigation.

In collaboration with Dr Mark Turner, Professor Derek Renshaw and Dr Hannah Bridgewater, this project will investigate the impact of prolactin on neuronal metabolism using a hypothalamic cell line subjected to prolactin treatment in vitro and analysing their oxygen consumption. Conditions such as knocking out the PRLR and treatments mimicking the maternal obesogenic environment will also be tested.

The project will provide an opportunity to identify the underlying mechanisms of neuronal metabolism under the effect of prolactin to contribute to the understanding of the central metabolic adaptation that pregnancy and lactation promote to the maternal body.


Bursary and tuition fees.


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.

Candidate specification

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

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Additional requirements
  • Neurophysiology and Neuroanatomy background knowledge
  • Experience of mammalian cell culture techniques
  • Molecular biology techniques such as qPCR, Immunoblotting, ELISA and Immunofluorescence are advantageous.

How to apply

For informal enquires about the project, please contact Dr Isadora Clivatti Furigo (Assistant Professor – research).

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

Details of all available research opportunities at Coventry University can be found via

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