PhD Studentship: Resistance Exercise as a Protective Factor for Neurocognitive Impairment; a Mechanistic Approach


  • Qualification type: PhD
  • Subject area: Molecular Biology and Sport Science
  • Location/Campus: College Lane Campus, Hatfield
  • Start date: October 2024
  • Closing application date: 24 May 2024
  • Duration: Full-time, three-years.

Project outline

Neurocognitive disorders such as dementia pose a major public health concern. Besides destroying life quality of affected patients, it affects immediate family and often strains financial means. Physical exercise consistently appears to be effective for cognitive decline, particularly in preventing the pre-clinical stage of dementia and aids in slowing its clinical progression. One proposed method of physical exercise that has been highly recommended for older adults by the World Health Organisation is resistance exercise (RE). Evidence suggests that RE can enhance memory and cognitive function in older adults and dementia patients. The World Health Organisation recommends older adults to perform RE three or more days a week in order to improve functional capacity. However, for this population the suggested frequency/volume may be challenging to adhere to. Consequently, employing more recent evidence on the benefits of microdosing approaches to RE may be a more fruitful strategy for the older adult population.

This project aims to investigate the effects of microdosing on health, wellbeing, neurocognitive function, and dementia-associated biomarkers within both the healthy population and in neurocognitively impaired participants.  In addition, a resistance-based exercise model will be established in the C. elegans in vivo organism to investigate whether RE can be protective across various C. elegans neurodegenerative disease models (e.g. tauopathy, Alzheimer disease, Huntington’s disease etc.).


Entry requirements

Applicants should have at least an upper second-class honours degree in a relevant discipline within Biosciences. A master’s degree or experience within a relevant field will be advantageous.


The studentship is open to applicants who are permanently resident in the UK and who qualify for home fees status only.

How to apply

Applicants are required to provide the following documents:

  • A completed application form
  • A cover letter explaining their interest in and the relevance of their background to the proposed project
  • An up-to-date CV
  • Two academic references. You should arrange for your referees to send their reference via email directly to the Doctoral College.
  • Copies of qualification certificates and transcripts.

Your completed application should be emailed to the Doctoral College.

  • Interviews will take place: 13th June 2024
  • For informal enquires please email: Dr Helen Foster,

Funding information

Fully Funded PhD Studentship - tax free stipend (currently £18,622 per annum for 2023-24) and a fee waiver for the PhD for a period of 3 years.