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Genetic analysis of human obesity and related conditions

The Division of Biosciences at Brunel University London is offering a fully funded PhD studentship to investigate the genetic architecture of obesity and related conditions within the group of Prof Alex Blakemore. 

Based in the College of Health and Life Sciences and funded by Brunel University London, the studentship offers an annual London rate stipend of £17,009 plus Home/EU tuition fees, for a maximum of 36 months.  Preferred start date is 1st April 2020.


New big-data resources, such as the UK Biobank and the China Kadoorie Biobank (each with genetic and health information from half a million people) are transforming the way we do human genetics. When coupled with clinical collections of people with extreme phenotypes, we have opportunities to look at the separate and combined effects of rare mutations and common genetic variants with unprecedented power. For this research project, the successful candidate will join a thriving team examining the genetics underpinning human obesity and related conditions. Obesity is a rising global problem with a number of important consequences for health: for example, a full 10% of the NHS drugs budget is used for type 2 diabetes, which is strongly related to obesity. A number of cancer types, including endometrial, prostate and breast cancer are also more common in obese people. We will use genetic analysis of a clinical cohort of over 2,000 people with extreme obesity, combined with large-scale population Biobank databases to explore the genetic architecture of obesity and its c0-morbidities. There will be a combination of laboratory work (characterising rare mutations in individual extreme cases) and computational analyses (bioinformatics and statistical genetics in large-scale datasets).

The successful candidate will be supervised by Professor Alex Blakemore. For informal discussions about this studentship, please contact alex.blakemore@brunel.ac.uk



Candidates should have an undergraduate degree (first or upper second class) or equivalent qualification in Bioscience or equivalent disciplines. Laboratory experience is essential and familiarity with R and genome analyses is desirable.  Applicants who have not been awarded a degree by a University in the UK will be expected to demonstrate English language skills to IELTS 7.0 (minimum 6.0 in any section).

How to apply

If you wish to apply, please e-mail the following to chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk by 14 Feb 2020

  • An up-to-date CV.
  • A single-page A4 single-spaced personal statement stating the name of PhD being applied for and setting out why you are a suitable candidate (i.e. outlining your qualifications and skills).
  • A single A page describing your laboratory experience.
  • Names and contact details for two academic referees.
  • A copy of your highest degree certificate and transcript.
  • A copy of your English language qualification, where applicable.

Short-listed applicants will be required to attend an interview week commencing 24th Feb 2020. Applicants chosen for interview will be instructed to submit a formal online application via Admissions. 

For further information about how to apply, please contact the College of Health and Life Sciences Postgraduate Research Student Office on chls-pgr-office@brunel.ac.uk.