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Name of scholarship/program

MRC Human Nutrition Research HNR Unit



Important description
Applications are invited for a PhD studentship, funded by the MRC, to commence in October 2013, in The Nutrition and Bone Health Research Group. The Group undertakes research into nutrition and lifestyle factors for the optimisation of bone health and the reduction of osteoporosis and rickets risk within the wider context of nutrition policy for calcium and vitamin D in developed and developing countries.

Despite lifelong low calcium intakes, lower bone mineral, and high parity and long periods of lactation in women, fragility fractures in older people in The Gambia are rare. The rapid changes occurring throughout the world from traditional ways of life towards those of the western world are associated with increases in the chronic non-communicable diseases of affluence and ageing, including osteoporosis. The protection afforded by traditional diets and lifestyles may hold the key to future prevention, but opportunities to gain such insights are rapidly disappearing.

This PhD project will characterise in urban Gambian men and women, dietary intake and dietary patterns, aspects of lifestyle (e.g. physical activity and UVB sunshine exposure), relevant to current and future bone health (e.g. bone mineral, and shape, muscle function), and other non-skeletal health outcomes relevant to calcium and/or vitamin D (e.g. blood pressure, vascular calcification, BMI). Data from a well-characterised rural Gambian population will be available for comparison.

This project will suit a student with a background in nutrition science and/or biological anthropology, with a strong interest in the health of societies in transition, nutrition transition, nutrition-related chronic diseases, and ageing. It will provide training in the role of nutrition in bone health, dietary assessment and analyses, vitamin D status, physical activity, sunshine exposure, and musculo-skeletal phenotype. It will also provide experience of working with participants and researchers in different cultural settings.

The successful candidate will be registered with the University of Cambridge and should have, or expect to obtain, a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject. The studentship is available to UK residents and EU nationals who have been resident in the UK for at least the previous three years. Further information about residence eligibility criteria can be found at www.mrc.ac.uk.

Further information about MRC Human Nutrition Research can be obtained from our website (www.mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk). Informal enquiries are welcomed to Dr Gail Goldberg (gail.goldberg@mrc-hnr.cam.ac.uk).


Eligibility and other criteria
This project will suit a student with a background in nutrition science and/or biological anthropology, with a strong interest in the health of societies in transition, nutrition transition, nutrition-related chronic diseases, and ageing.


Application deadline
*6 January 2013


Additional information, and important URL
Applicants should provide a full CV and covering letter explaining their interest in the studentship, and details of two academic referees. Please email by clicking the APPLY button below, or post to Postgraduate Administrator, MRC Human Nutrition Research, Fulbourn Road, Cambridge CB1 9NL.

Closing date: Sunday 6th January 2013.
Anticipated Interviews: Thursday 14th February 2012


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