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GCDC: Defining the molecular basis and health benefits of traditional Asian medicines

Annual tuition fees at UKRI Home/EU rates for 3.5 years (£4,327 for 2019/20) (A small number of fee waivers at the international rate will also available to international candidates, at the discretion of the awarding panel) plus annual stipend at UKRI rates (£15,009 2019/20)

This scholarship competition is open to all new postgraduate research applicants.

GCDC scholars will receive the following:
• Annual stipend at UKRI rates for 3.5 years (TBC but this was £15,009 for 2019/20);
• Annual tuition fees at UKRI Home/EU rates for 3.5 years (£4,327 for 2019/20);
• A Research Training Support Grant of £1,500 per year for the first 3 years of study; and
• Specialised interdisciplinary GCDC cohort training activities.

GCDC Project-led Studentship - School of Biosciences: Defining the molecular basis and health benefits of traditional Asian medicines

The developing world is experiencing a dramatic demographic change. Increased life expectancy combined with decreasing fertility has led to rapidly ageing populations. Asian countries are experiencing the biggest rises; by 2050 one in four Asians will be over 60 years old. With ageing comes multiple debilitating illnesses, meaning that late life is often spent in ill-health and in need of care. This has a detrimental effect on quality of life for the elderly and their families, but also wider consequences for socioeconomic development.
Interventions that promote healthy ageing are vital, providing sustainable development and economic growth globally. In Asian countries, traditional medicine is widely accepted and used to promote health in old age. In spite of its widespread use, increased levels of scientific research is required to support (or deny) how well it actually works and to define its molecular mode of action.
This project aims to determine the molecular effects and physiological impact of traditional medicine on age-related health. Together with our Thai partners we will identify remedies commonly used to promote age-related health in Asia. These remedies will then be tested in the nematode worm C. elegans to establish their effects on age-related health, and identify the molecules and signalling pathways that they interact with. Worms are fantastic for this research as they are widely used in ageing research, and come with a variety of physiological, cellular and molecular tools. In the long term this will help us identify interventions to promote healthy ageing in developing countries.

• Dr Marina Ezcurra
• Dr Jennifer Tullet


Person specification:

• Candidates will be expected to have met the entry requirements for a PhD in Biosciences: A minimum 2.1 honours degree in Biology, Biomedicine or equivalent. A Master’s degree or the equivalent from an internationally recognised institution is desirable. Research experience in whole organism biology, molecular biology and or biochemistry is also desirable.

• This project is highly collaborative, and the researcher will work together with the PIs and collaborating partners within the university and in Thailand to make it a success. The researcher will be responsible (together with the PIs) for the successful running of the project. This will require motivation, a high level of organisation, collaboration skills and a certain level of independence.

• GCDC scholars are required to be based at the Canterbury or Medway campuses for the duration of their studies except for research-related overseas visits.

• The student will be expected to actively engage with the Global Challenges Doctoral Centre (GCDC) and participate in the Centre’s training and events throughout the duration of their PhD.

• The University of Kent requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. For more information on English language requirements, please visit this page.

The scholarship call is open to applicants from all nationalities. Applicants paying overseas fees can still apply: four GCDC scholarships will be offered at the international rate and some academic schools may be able to support other applicants financially beyond the UKRI level.

How to apply

When applying, students should follow the University of Kent’s online application process.

As part of the process, students should include the following:
- specify the project they wish to apply for;
- explain reasons for study;
- provide details/evidence of qualifications;
- provide two academic references;
- provide other personal information and supporting documentation.

Students need to apply for the PhD in Biosciences.
The interview will be held on Wednesday, 5 February 2020.


The deadline for this scholarship is midnight GMT on 19 January 2020.

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