UK/EU students

BBSRC CASE PhD Studentship in Cellular Medicine - Investigating the impact of insulin resistance on ageing, appearance and wellbeing using sleep as a model system

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,553 (full award).  A partial award covers fees at the UK/EU rate only.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

1 October 2017 for 4 years.

Application closing date

Prompt application is advised as this post is only available until suitable candidates are appointed.


Impaired glucose homeostasis, due to reduced insulin sensitivity combined with relative insulin deficiency, is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. It is also a characteristic feature of ageing and may represent a pivotal mediator of age-related changes in the structural and functional integrity of key organs, including skin and its associated appendages. However understanding on the impact of systemic insulin resistance on cutaneous ageing is limited. The same limitations apply to the biological effects of acute fluctuations in insulin sensitivity, resultant from daily environmental challenge, on skin, its associated appendages and translation to appearance cues.

The PhD study aims to examine the impact of insulin resistance on appearance and cutaneous ageing using sleep as a model system. Converging evidence suggests that neuroendocrine changes associated with sleep deprivation may be connected to alterations in insulin sensitivity. This relationship will be examined and disturbances in neuroendocrine regulation explored as a biological mediator of ageing.  Apart from the experienced supervisory team at Newcastle University and Unilever UK, the project will benefit from access to the UK BioBank and the Sleepstation (Newcastle’s Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme).  The research outcomes have far reaching implications including commercial applications in the Personal Care and Healthcare arenas.

This is a multi-disciplinary PhD studentship and includes cellular, molecular biological and physiological techniques such as metabolism measures, histological analysis, image analysis, cell culture, molecular biology, genetic analysis, immunostaining and gene expression studies.


BBSRC and Unilever UK.

Name of supervisor(s)

The supervisory team will be led by Professor M Birch-Machin and consists of Newcastle University Academics (Professor M Trenell, Professor M Catt and Dr K Anderson) and Unilever experts (Drs L Brown and D Gunn).

Eligibility Criteria

You must have a minimum of an upper-second class Honours degree or International equivalent in an appropriate biomedical sciences related subject area. You may have further research experience and /or a further qualification such as, for example an MRes.

The award is available to UK/EU applicants only.  Depending on how you meet the BBSRC’s eligibility criteria, you may be entitled to a full or a partial award.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.  To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

Only mandatory fields need to be completed.  However, you will need to include the following information:


Please contact:
Professor M Birch-Machin
Institute of Cellular Medicine
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5841

Eligible Courses