Funded PhD opportunities

The effect of hot and or hypoxic environmental conditions in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

  • Application end date: 11th February 2018
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (EU/UK students only)
  • Department: Department of Sport and Exercise Science
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr. Anthony Shepherd, Dr. Jo Corbett, Dr. Zoe Saynor

Project code: SPES3940218

Project description

The total cost of direct and indirect care of individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in the UK is ~ £20 billion, equating to 8% of the annual NHS budget. It is anticipated that by 2030, 439 million individuals will have T2DM worldwide. With the population growing and the proportion of individuals with T2DM expanding, these costs are likely to become unsustainable.

T2DM is a disease of progressive hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is strongly associated with macrovascular (e.g cardiovascular disease) and microvascular (e.g. retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy) complications. However, strategies to improve glycaemic control and metabolic health in this patient group have the potential to reduce these vascular complications, which will reduce the economic and health burden associated with this condition.

Simple, inexpensive interventions to improve glycaemic control in T2DM are needed. Environmental stressors, and the physiological responses induced with exposure, have potential for improving cardiovascular and metabolic health in humans. Specifically, warm, and hypoxic conditions have been shown to (in varying models) augment insulin sensitivity, beta cell function, GLUT4 concentrations, fat metabolism, weight loss and appetite regulation. However, little research has been conducted in clinical cohorts. This projects presents an exciting opportunity to work within a multidisciplinary team to examine whether environmental stressors provide a therapeutic strategy for maintaining glucose homeostasis and improving metabolic health in individuals with T2DM.

The research environment will be the world leading extreme environments laboratories at the University of Portsmouth (, with further collaboration with the Portsmouth Diabetes and Endocrine Centre ( at the Queen Alexandra Hospital. Additional testing and analysis will occur within the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences ( The student will work in a team with his/her supervisors and clinical staff and will be fully immersed in running clinical trials and the analyses.

Supervisor profiles

Dr Ant Shepherd

Dr. Jo Corbett

Dr. Zoe Saynor

Admissions criteria

You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending upon chosen course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Candidate specific requirements

  • A taught Master’s degree in a relevant discipline, involving a dissertation of standard length written in English in the relevant subject area with a minimum of a merit profile: 60% overall module average and a minimum of a 60% dissertation mark;

  • The potential to engage in innovative research and complete the PhD within a 3 year study period.

 In addition to at least one of the following:

  • Experience conducting research in a clinical setting;

  • Experience working with individuals with T2DM;

  • Experience working in extreme environments


Informal enquiries are encouraged and can be made to Dr Ant Shepherd at (02392 845289 or Dr Jo Corbett at (02392 843084).

For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

How to Apply

You can apply online at You are required to create an account which gives you the flexibility to save the form, log out and return to it at any time convenient to you.

A link to the online application form and comprehensive guidance notes can be found at

When applying, please quote project code: SPES3940218.

Interview date: week commencing 12th March. 2018.

Start date: October 2018.

Funding notes

The fully-funded, full-time three-year studentship provides a stipend that is in line with that offered by Research Councils UK of £14,553 per annum.

The above applies for Home/EU students only.

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