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Cardiff School of Biosciences PhD Studentship: The Metabolic Impact of Feeding Patterns - A New Approach to the Obesity Epidemic (PhD Studentship)

Reference Number: R1013
Closing Date: Closed for applications
Duration: 3 years
Funding Amount: UK/EU fees plus stipend
Level of Study: Postgraduate Research
Regions: EU (Non UK), International (Non EU), UK
This funding opportunity is now closed for application

Key Studentship Information

Project Title: The Metabolic Impact of Feeding Patterns. A New Approach to the Obesity Epidemic

Project Description: With the prevalence of adult obesity in the UK projected to reach 60% by 2050, disease prevention has become a top priority. It is remarkable therefore that one potential factor regulating fat deposition, the pattern of feeding, remains poorly understood. Despite evidence that a shift from regular meals to grazing over a 10-year period accounts for an annual rise in daily energy intake of 39kcal, understanding the physiological significance of meal patterns has been hampered by our inability to ensure consistent patterns of feeding in laboratory animals.

We have used a CLAMS-based system to overcome this problem, showing that grazing (eating little and often) increases the efficiency of intra-abdominal fat storage in rats by 27%. This may result from the accompanying sustained rise in circulating ghrelin1, which stimulates feeding behaviour, enhances preference for energy dense foods and promotes fat deposition.

In this project you will test the hypothesis that the pattern of feeding influences the mechanisms underlying obesity. You will use our automated feeding and blood sampling system to establish the effect of grazing and meal feeding on fat deposition and metabolic hormone profiles in rats and mice. You will use single-food acceptance and two food choice tests to establish the effect of these feeding patterns on food preference and palatability as well as feeding pattern effects on the impact of energydense diets on fat deposition. Given our evidence for grazing-induced hyperghrelinaemia, you will quantify the obesogenic effects of feeding patterns in ghrelin- and ghrelin-receptor-null mice and in mice in which the receptor for ghrelin, GHS-R, is only expressed in TH-positive neurones.

Thus, this project, will demonstrate the importance of feeding patterns in the development of obesity and suggest potential therapeutic value of blocking the action of ghrelin.

Supervisors: Dr Tim Wells and Dr D Dwyer


The award includes full UK/EU tuition fees plus a stipend matching the UK Research Council National Minimum (for full-time students in 2012/13 this was £13,590). To be eligible for fees and stipend applicants must be a UK national/ EU national who has been resident in the UK for three years prior to their application/ EU national who has migrant worker status. EU nationals who have not been resident in the UK for three years prior to application/ who do not have migrant worker status are eligible for fees only.


Academic Criteria: Applicants should hold a 2:1 UK honours degree (or equivalent) or a Master's degree.

Residency: Applicants whose first langauge is not English should alos have an IELTS with an overall score of 6.5 and a minimum score of 5.5 in each skill area (or equivalent qualification).

How to Apply

No separate application is necessary – consideration is automatic on applying for Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Biosciences (October 2013 start) through the normal university application portal.

Please indicate the project title (The Metabolic Impact of Feeding Patterns), the supervisor (Dr Wells) and the research centre (Neuroscience) on your application in your research proposal and the funding section.

Application Deadline: 20th February 2013

Further Information

For more information please contact the principle supervisor on

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