Exercise for attenuating the myotoxic side-effects of chemotherapy


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time) 5 years (part-time)

Application deadline:

7 January 2022

About this project

This PhD project aims to provide novel data on the cellular mechanisms involved in the myotoxic effects of chemotherapy, which include atrophy and senescence via increased proteolysis and autophagy and decreased protein synthesis. Platelet releasate contains growth factors which have potent mitogenic and angiogenic effects on muscle. This project will induce senescence in muscle cell lines (in vitro) by doxorubicin treatment and determine whether platelet releasate inhibits senescence, and whether the response is influenced by exercise. Clinical work with oesophagogastric and colorectal cancer patients will involve assessing myopenia/sarcopenia between patients randomised to exercise plus standard care or standard care alone.

You will be joining a large multidisciplinary team with a strong track record of leading research trials (including randomised controlled exercise trials) in people living with and beyond cancer. Working in a supportive, collegiate environment, you will have outstanding career development opportunities through the support provided by the Doctoral College and access to research seminars and workshops in the Department of Sport, Health & Exercise Science, the Hull York Medical School and the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. You will also engage in regular meetings with other PhD students and supervisors working on related projects as part of the larger research cluster.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Antonios Matsakas.

About the research cluster

Exercise brings numerous proven health benefits to people living with and beyond cancer. Recently, preclinical and clinical studies have shown that exercise during chemo-radiotherapy cycles has potential to improve treatment efficacy, while also helping to ameliorate the well-established cardiotoxic and myotoxic side-effects. This PhD cluster aims to develop an exercise model that can be embedded within the oesophagogastric and colorectal cancer care pathways and provide evidence that it can influence and potentially improve the efficacy of chemo-radiotherapy treatments. In addition, the cluster aims to provide new mechanistic insights into the role of exercise for ameliorating the adverse cardiotoxic and myotoxic side-effects of chemo-radiotherapy and undertake qualitative investigations aimed at understanding the barriers and levers to embedding exercise within cancer care pathways and informing the development of good practice implementation guidelines.



Join us at a webinar on Tuesday 14 December at 6pm to find out more about this PhD cluster. Register here.


Other PhDs in this cluster


Exercise for improving chemo-radiotherapy efficacy in patients diagnosed with oesophagogastric and colorectal cancers

Exercise for ameliorating the cardiotoxic side-effects of chemo-radiotherapy in patients diagnosed with oesophagogastric and colorectal cancers

Patient and health professional perceptions of embedding exercise into the cancer chemo-radiotherapy treatment pathways: a qualitative study

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The successful applicant will receive a fee waiver and a maintenance grant/stipend for three years (full time) or five years (part-time), which covers the research period of the PhD. The fee waiver for 21/22 is £4,500 (Home fee) and the maintenance grant is £15,609. This rises each year in line with the UKRI’s recommended stipend allowance.


Submission of thesis

Submission of your final thesis is expected within three years and three months from the start of your PhD scholarship for full time and within five years and six months if studying part-time.

If you need to move into a fourth year (full time) or sixth year (part-time) to complete your thesis, please note that you will not receive a tuition fee waiver or maintenance grant during this period.

Entry requirements

You should have a minimum of a 2:1 degree in Biomedical Science or Biological Sciences, Exercise Science or other physiological subject and good attainment in your undergraduate research project. A taught MSc or Master’s degree by research would be further advantageous. You should also have excellent written and oral communication skills, be able to work well independently and be highly motivated to undertake PhD research.

For more details on our entry requirements please visit the postgraduate admissions webpage.

This scholarship is available for full-time and part-time study.

Research training

As a PhD student here at the University of Hull you will undertake the Postgraduate Training Scheme alongside your main degree, to help you develop the research skills and knowledge you’ll need in your future career. You will gain a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma in Research Training in addition to your PhD.

International applicants

This opportunity comes with a home fee waiver only.

How to apply

You will need to supply a personal statement when applying for this scholarship position. Find out more about writing a personal statement. Please also ensure you include the following information:

  1. What motivates you to pursue PhD study
  2. Why you are interested in this project
  3. How your skill set matches the requirements for your choice of project and/or any additional training you will need
  4. The wider significance of research in this area and potential future research directions for the project.

Apply now

Apply for this scholarship: Full time | Part-time

Closing date: 17.00 on Friday 7 January 2022.

Interviews: Friday 28 January 2022