There’s currently an exciting selection of PhD opportunities available working with various academics from the National Institute for Health Research Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Bristol BRC) Nutrition theme. For more information on each of the projects please read on. Deadline for all the projects is Friday 25th February 2022.

Addressing reasons for disparities in technology use for diabetes self-management by children and young people from minoritised or socio-economically disadvantaged groups

Contact: Sabi Redwood

Care outcomes for children and young people (CYP) living with diabetes in England and Wales continue to improve. This is partially a result of the utilisation of novel technologies that provide continuous glucose monitoring, closed-loop insulin pump systems to autonomously modify insulin administration and digital interventions delivering health education.

However, recent data show that nearly 40% of White CYP are using an insulin pump compared to only 28% of Black CYP. Furthermore, in the least deprived areas, 44.3% of CYP use an insulin pump, compared to 31.7% in the most deprived areas. This disparity in pump usage is widening with time and is particularly pronounced in Bristol. This studentship will therefore seek to generate new evidence to support equality of access to and engagement with technology among CYP living with diabetes.

 

Does Time-Restricted Eating in Children Improve Metabolic Health?

Contact: Dr Sam Leary

Clinical trials suggest adult metabolic health can be improved by limiting eating and drinking to 12 hours a day. This is known as time-restricted eating (TRE) and is usually confined to a window between 7am and 7pm. However, little is known in children about their eating window, and the few studies that have reported it did not explore the relationship between length of eating window and metabolic health.

Through this project you’ll explore how TRE could be used to improve the metabolic health of UK children. As well as establishing the average eating window for children, therefore investigating the feasibility of TRE for children and their families.

 

Dietary advice and intakes among people after stoma reversal

Contact: Dr Charlotte Atkinson

After stoma reversal, people often experience altered bowel function, with symptoms including urgency and faecal incontinence which have substantial adverse effects on quality of life. In a recent systematic review of qualitative studies in rectal cancer survivors after stoma reversal, the most common strategies for managing such symptoms were medication and diet.

Little is known about dietary intakes and advice for people who have undergone stoma reversal in the UK. The purpose of this PhD therefore is to develop a greater understanding of dietary advice and intakes after stoma reversal, to ultimately improve quality of life.

 

Identifying novel links between Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity and Cancer.

Contact:  Claire Perks

It is known that there is an exponential increase in the incidence of obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cancer particularly in recent decades. In most cases, the increase in obesity and T2D correlate with a rise in the risk of and death from cancer.

This project will aim to identify novel links between T2D, Obesity and Cancer by using an array of different techniques. Comprehensive training in these techniques will provide to the successful candidate. They will focus on bioinformatics methods, interpreting biological data from publicly available datasets.

 

Using supermarket loyalty cards data for cancer risk factor prediction

Contact: Email Anya Skatova

Shopping history records, collected via purchases tracked on loyalty cards, can provide a new perspective on lifestyle choices and behaviours and how these relate to health outcomes such as cancer. However, shopping history data also have inherent biases.  Reliability of health information that is derived from shopping history data can be assessed through integrating these data with detailed self-reports of behaviour collected through more traditional methods like diary studies. This work will improve detection of cancer risk as well assess validity of integrated data sources in risk prediction.

This project will therefore integrate supermarket loyalty cards data with data from questionnaires and biomarkers from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children and test the validity of using this as a method to predict risk factors for cancer.

 

Using human genetics to identify novel targets for colorectal cancer prevention

Contact: Dr Philip Haycock

This project will use Genetic Wide Associations Studies to identify novel genetic targets and chemoprevention agents for prevention of colorectal cancer, one of the most common adult cancers in the UK.

Using these methods will provide robust identification of circulating proteins that cause risk or subsequent progression of cancer. This information can then be used to inform development of pharmacological interventions for cancer prevention and treatment in high-risk groups.