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Cardiff School of Biosciences PhD Studentship: How Does Diet and Excercise Influence Mental Health and Resilience to Dementia During Aging?

Reference Number: R1014
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: How Does Diet and Excercise Influence Mental Health and Resilience to Dementia During Aging?

Project Description: Dementia is an increasing cause of concern in Western society and in the U.K. affects about 1M individuals. Alzheimer’s is the main dementia complaint and can be studied using animal models. We have background information indicating that certain dietary components, particularly n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and anti-oxidants enhance cognitive function in normal aged mice using a number of laboratory tests of memory. These data are consistent with some large-scale epidemiological studies in Europe and the U.S.A., for example, where ingestion of appreciable fish oil (containing n-3 PUFA) may be beneficial to normal aging an decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer’s by 60%.

In this project, the student will study in detail how diet and exercise are able to support and promote performance cognitive function during aging in normal animals and transgenic models of human dementia. More specifically, we will examine the extent and the precise mechanism by which a pro-cognitive diet interacts with physical exercise to sustain and promote cognitive function during normal aging and reduce cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s pathology in mutant mice. We will carry out behavioural tests that interrogate different components of cognition that can be linked to specific brain systems (such as the hippocampus), correlate these measure with biological indices, for example, electrophysiological measures of synaptic plasticity (the induction of LTP), microscopic evaluation of dendrites, neurogenesis and biochemical analyses of brain lipids, oxidative metabolites and amyloid proteins. In this way the project will give important information about the molecular bases for the beneficial changes provided by both diet and exercise as well as giving the student a broad training in a multi-disciplinary project of high relevance to modern society.

Supervisors: Prof J Hartwood and Prof M Good


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 (How Does Diet and Excercise Influence Mental Health and Resilience to Dementia During Aging'), the supervisor (Prof Harwood) and the research centre (Molecular Biosciences) 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