Understanding the mechanisms of skeletal muscle disuse atrophy using in vitro tissue engineered models PhD

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



in the world for sport-related subjects

QS World University Rankings by subject 2017


in the UK for Sports Science

The Complete University Guide 2018


Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. 

Project detail

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a joint disorder which is predominantly found in elderly individuals (Lee et al., 2013), but has recently been linked to sports participation at high levels (Vannini et al., 2016). As a result, OA afflicts millions of individuals across the world resulting in impaired quality of life and increased health costs (Lee et al., 2013). While a number of risk factors have been associated with OA, the pathophysiology of this disease is currently in its infancy in particular the effects in which OA has upon skeletal muscle.

Understanding what contributes to the pathophysiology of OA can be difficult to perform in human subjects and the use of animal models with OA has ethical implications. Therefore, the use of in vitro models could provide a useful tool for studying OA at the cellular and molecular level. In particular, the use of tissue engineered skeletal muscle models have been applied to investigating various aspects of skeletal muscle physiology (Player et al., 2014; Martin et al., 2017).

The project will involve the use of established tissue engineered skeletal muscle models to characterise models of skeletal muscle OA and how interventions (e.g. nutritional, or exercise) affect skeletal muscle function and physiology at the molecular level in an in vitro model of OA.


Primary supervisor: Professor Mark P Lewis

Secondary supervisor: Dr. Neil Martin

Find out more

For further project details email Professor Mark P Lewis 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.

Applications are invited from ambitious, self-motivated candidates to undertake a PhD in the field of musculoskeletal biology in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, who have at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in a biological or engineering related subject.

Loughborough University is one of the country’s leading university’s (Rank 7th in the Time Higher Education) and is world renowned for its research in sports related subjects (1st overall for sports related subjects in the QS world university rankings 2017).

Applicants will be joining a well-established research team working within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, interested in the development of physiologically relevant models of skeletal muscle. Using Tissue Engineering applications, this research team has published extensively in the field of musculoskeletal biology.

Applications are invited from self-funded students who have an interest in research in the following areas:


Muscle – nerve interactions

  • Musculoskeletal disease

  • Models of exercise in tissue engineered muscle

  • Tissue engineered joints on a chip

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, human biology, biochemistry or a related subject.

A relevant master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Human biology, exercise physiology, biochemistry.

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/MPL/2