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Postgraduate research opportunities 

Ageing, Health and Welfare

We address key questions in the fundamental biology of ageing, animal welfare and food security. How and why does ageing occur and what are its impacts on health and well-being? How do animals cope with pollutants? How do we achieve sustainable animal production whilst protecting animal health and welfare?

Overview

Ageing affects almost all species, but the rate at which it occurs varies considerably among and within species. People are now living much longer than previous generations, with ageing being the major risk factor for many diseases. This has given rise to the concept of not only our ‘life span’ but also our ‘health span’ which is the length of a disease free life. We know that the environment we live in can influence how we age, it is now increasingly recognised that the aging process and its associated disease risk can be ‘set up’ or programmed by events experienced before we are born ‘prenatal programming’ or during post natal development ie pre and peripubertal as well as in adult life. Consequently, understanding why we age, how we age, the factors responsible for variation in ageing and longevity and the impact ageing has on health and wellbeing is a major challenge in science today.

 We are uniquely placed to employ a highly integrative, comparative and collaborative approach for the study of ageing, health and animal welfare. We study ageing at the molecular, cellular and organism level, in the field and in the laboratory, and combine mechanistic, functional and applied perspectives. We currently use a range of interventions and techniques to examine key issues in both laboratory and field settings. Using these approaches we are interested in a range of factors (e.g. stress, pollution, chronobiology, diet, growth pattern, metabolism, reproduction, epidemiology, immunity), how they are affected by ageing and their impact on human and animal health.

Given the rapidly expanding human population, a second major societal challenge is the requirement to produce sufficient safe, nutritious, affordable and sustainable foodstuffs. We are particularly interested in ways to sustain efficient animal production in a manner which protects animal health and welfare, while mitigating against pests and disease and reducing environmental impact. We have expertise in the development and application of behavioural, physiological and neurophysiological approaches to welfare assessment in managed and wild animals.

Health of managed and wild animals, as well as of humans, is also at risk from processes and products that arise during food production, for example endocrine disruptors and animal and human digestive end products. We investigate effects of such substances and of various other pollutants and stressors in projects at the intersection of animal biology and veterinary medicine.

To achieve these overall aims this research theme actively collaborates with others in this university (e.g. biomedics, clinicians, veterinarians, Glasgow Polyomics facility) and elsewhere, including Government agencies (e.g. DEFRA), external institutes (e.g. The James Hutton Institute, Moredun Research Institute) and commercial partners.

Study options

PhD programmes in Ageing, Health and Welfare last 3-4 years, with individual research projects tailored around the expertise of principal investigators within the Institutes. A variety of approaches are used, including  experiments in field and laboratory conditions, epidemiology, mathematical, computational and statistical modelling, bioinformatics, physiology, molecular biology, parasitology, immunology and polyomics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics). Basic and applied science projects are available for study, as are field-based projects with research programs underway in both the UK and overseas. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Interplay between physiology, behaviour and life history
  • Wild immunology
  • Avian reproduction
  • Mammalian reproductive physiology and neuroendocrinology
  • Poultry science
  • Environmental factors, chemical exposure and reproductive function
  • Maternal smoking and development
  • The effect of environmental stressors on ageing and longevity
  • Evaluating stress in companion animals
  • Organic production systems and animal welfare
  • Physiology, ecology and migration of birds
  • Annual and daily rhythms of wild organisms
  • Biological clocks and response to environmental change
  • Neuroendocrinology and steroid biochemistry
  • Livestock and wildlife management
  • Behavioural ecology, evolutionary ecology, life history strategies and environmental change
  • Thermal biology of temperature regulation and cold adaptation in marine mammals and birds.
  • Veterinary ethics and animal welfare assessment
  • Welfare and wildlife conservation
  • Ethics and welfare of wildlife interventions
  • Behavioural, physiological and ecological impacts on ageing
  • Maternal and transgenerational effects
  • Causes and consequences of variation in metabolic rate, mitochondrial functioning and oxidative stressGenetic and environmental interventions that extend healthspan and lifespan: dietary restriction, insulin/IGF1, mTOR
  • Resource allocation trade-offs
  • Mechanisms of ageing in animals: mitochondria, oxidative stress,proteostasis, telomere biology, stem cell function

Supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring.You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply.

Entry requirements

2.1 Honours degree or equivalent

Required documentation

Applicants should submit:

  • Transcripts/degree certificate 
  • Two references
  • A one-page research proposal
  • CV

English Language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English.

Fees and funding

Fees

2016/17

  • £4,121 UK/EU
  • £18,900 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Submission by a research student £440
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £890
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £140
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period) £250
  • General Council fee £50
  • Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

2017/18

  • £4,195 UK/EU*
  • £19,500 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

* We expect that tuition fees for EU students entering in 2017 will continue to be set at the same level as that for UK students.  However, future funding arrangements for EU students will be determined as part of the UK’s discussions on its future relationship.  If you are thinking of applying for 2017 entry, we would encourage you to do so in the usual way. For further information, please see the Research Councils UK statement on international collaboration and Universities UK Brexit FAQs for universities and students.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Fee for re-submission by a research student: £460
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,050
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £250
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £730
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £300
  • Registration/exam only fee: £150
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

 

Funding

View a full list of our current scholarships

Support

Resources

We have excellent facilities for lab, field and farm based research.  This includes aquaria, aviaries, insectaries and labs for conducting analyses in

  • bioinformatics
  • cellular physiology
  • developmental biology
  • evolutionary biology
  • endocrinology
  • molecular ecology
  • physiological ecology

We also have

  • a state of the art field research centre on Loch Lomond (SCENE)
  • a University farm (Cochno) and research centre North of Glasgow
  • excellent computing facilities
  • a vibrant and supportive community of researchers
  • access to additional specialist facilities through our wide network of collaborators in NGOs, communities, government agencies and research institutes worldwide.

Graduate School

The College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our over-arching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

Our excellent facilities and dedicated staff will equip you with training complementary to a range of career options, and you can tailor your study pathway to the precise aspects that suit your objectives. 

How to apply
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