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Investigating a novel exercise intervention in peripheral artery disease


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Wednesday 31 July 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
University of Leeds
Dr Yasina Somani
Additional supervisors
Prof Karen Birch
School of Biomedical Sciences
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This funded PhD project will be based in the Vascular Physiology Laboratory within the School of Biomedical Sciences. It aims to investigate a novel exercise intervention to improve vascular and functional outcomes in patients with peripheral artery disease. This project offers an opportunity to conduct a study in a clinical population, as well as learn and apply techniques involving ultrasound and near-infrared spectroscopy to measure vascular function. A strong background in health sciences and/or exercise physiology would be a strength to this project.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Peripheral artery disease is marked by narrowing of the peripheral arteries, primarily affecting the lower limbs. This leads to significant limitations in oxygen delivery to leg muscles during physical activity, resulting in exertional leg pain and decreased functional independence. Additionally, patients are at heightened risk of cardiovascular events, including mortality. Whilst exercise is beneficial in improving outcomes and recommended as the first line of therapy, traditional walking-based programs are poorly adhered to, and women may not respond to the same extent as men. There is a need to explore alternative exercise interventions that are feasible and can improve long-term outcomes in patients.</p> <p>In this project we will investigate the effects of a novel exercise intervention on improving vascular and functional outcomes (improve walking ability) in patients with peripheral artery disease and we will compare these responses between men and women. We have previously shown that short-term home-based exercises involving handgrip and sit-to-stand exercises can elicit protective effects to the vasculature in people with elevated cardiovascular disease risk. Whether these more accessible and cost-effective exercises can also benefit a patient population has yet to be studied. This project offers the opportunity to learn a range of methods to assess responses to exercise and also the underlying mechanisms underpinning these responses. These techniques involve ultrasound imaging, near-infrared spectroscopy recording, cardiopulmonary exercise testing, resting and ambulatory blood pressure measures, and electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings.</p> <p>The project offers a unique and exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with clinicians in the Leeds Teaching Hospital and be apart of a dynamic research group involving co-investigators in the Centre for Fluid Dynamics and Psychology with opportunities for regular group meetings, journal clubs, and personalized mentoring. Our research group is looking for a highly motivated individual who can work well independently and part of a team and can communicate effectively with research participants who will be patients. Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the lead investigator Dr. Yasina Somani to learn more about this opportunity.</p> <h5>References</h5> <ol> <li>Thijssen DHJ, Bruno RM, van Mil A, Holder SM, Faita F, Greyling A, Zock PL, Taddei S, Deanfield JE, Luscher T, Green DJ and Ghiadoni L. Expert consensus and evidence-based recommendations for the assessment of flow-mediated dilation in humans. Eur Heart J. 2019;40(30):2534-2547.</li> <li>Somani YB, Boidin M, Peggen MAG, Wanders I, Proctor DN, Low DA, Jones H, Lip GYH and Thijssen DHJ. Single and 7-day handgrip and squat exercise prevents endothelial ischemia-reperfusion injury in individuals with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2024;326:R79-R87.</li> <li>Pe&ntilde;&iacute;n-Grandes S, L&oacute;pez-Ortiz S, Maroto-Izquierdo S, Men&eacute;ndez H, Pinto-Fraga J, Mart&iacute;n-Hern&aacute;ndez J, Lista S, Lucia A and Santos-Lozano A. Winners do what they fear: exercise and peripheral arterial disease-an umbrella review. . Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2023.</li> <li>Pabon M, Cheng S, Altin SE, Sethi SS, Nelson MD, Moreau KL, Hamburg N and Hess CN. Sex Differences in Peripheral Artery Disease. Circ Res. 2022;130:496-511.&nbsp;</li> </ol>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>To apply for this scholarship opportunity applicants should complete an<a href=""> online application form</a> and attach the following documentation to support their application.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>a full academic CV</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable)</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert</li> <li>Please state &quot;Faculty Funded Scholarship&quot; when asked for source of funding</li> </ul> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to this scholarship in the School of Biology should normally have an Undergraduate degree of 2:1 or above (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject area. A Master&rsquo;s degree is desirable, but not essential.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>This scholarship is funded by the Faculty of Biological Sciences. The scholarship will provide academic fees at the UK rate, as well as a stipend matching the UKRI rate (&pound;19,237 for 2024/25) for up to three years. Due to limited funding we can only consider applicants eligible to pay academic fees at the UK fee rate. If you are unsure if this applies to you, please contact the admissions team: for more information.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about this project please contact Dr Yasina Somani:</p> <p><a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about how to apply please contact the Faculty Admissions Team<br /> e: <a href=""></a></p>