The role of fibroblasts in skeletal muscle ageing PhD

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Entry requirements:
3 years
5 years
Reference number:
Start date:
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
31 August 2018



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Project detail

Ageing is associated with a decline in skeletal muscle size (sarcopenia), which results in loss of strength and independence, as well as impaired metabolic health. However, whilst sarcopenia is a well-known consequence of ageing, our understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms which contribute to it are poorly understood. 

Satellite cells, which reside on the periphery of skeletal muscle fibres act as stem cells, capable of regenerating skeletal muscle following injury, trauma or exercise; however, the regenerative capacity of satellite cells in aged skeletal muscle has been questioned, and may contribute to the onset and progression of sarcopenia. The satellite cell niche may also play a key role in their ability to effective regenerate skeletal muscle, however the role of other cell types has been largely neglected in muscle ageing research.

Fibroblasts are a cell type present in the skeletal muscle niche which have recently been shown to enhance muscle regeneration in vitro (Mackey et al. 2017). In addition, we have previously investigated the role of varying the ratio of myogenic (muscle) to non-myogenic (fibroblast) cells in engineered skeletal muscle (Martin et al. 2013). This PhD will assess the role that fibroblasts play in skeletal muscle ageing utilising cell and molecular biology techniques, with the aim of further understanding the mechanisms underpinning sarcopenia.


Primary supervisor: Dr. Neil Martin

Secondary supervisor: Professor Mark P Lewis

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Neil Martin or register your interest and ask us a question.

Further information about the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences can be found on our website.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) in sport and exercise science, human physiology, nutrition and biochemistry or a related subject.

A relevant master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the above subjects will be an advantage.

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote reference number: SSEHS/NM