PhD Opportunity in Rhythms of Human Nutrition, Metabolism and Physiology

Guildford, United Kingdom
04 Jul 2018
End of advertisement period
31 Dec 2018
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

As with most living organisms, humans contain internal ‘circadian clocks’ that influence widespread daily rhythms of metabolism, physiology and behaviour. The importance of these circadian clocks in biology and medicine was recognised with the award of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for “discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm”.

We are currently conducting high-profile research to investigate how human circadian clocks interact with the control of metabolism, nutritional physiology and appetite. This project will give the student a unique opportunity to join a team of researchers investigating the effects of simulated jet-lag on multiple parameters including: glucose regulation, body temperature, metabolic expenditure, subjective appetite, hormone markers and sleep. Volunteers taking part in the study will stay in the Surrey Clinical Research Centre under a rigorously controlled sleep-wake and meal pattern. The student will be responsible for conducting analysis of his/her own component of the overall study and will also gain experience in the other aspects. Depending on progress, there may be opportunity to conduct additional experimental work in the PhD project.

Training opportunities will be provided in;

  1. Design and conduct of complex human laboratory trials.
  2. Laboratory skills in e.g. hormone and metabolite assays.
  3. Collection of non-invasive markers of human physiology and metabolism.
  4. Data analysis, including temporal profiles.
  5. Critical interpretation of scientific literature.
  6. Oral and written communication skills.


The successful student will be required to provide their own funding for tuition fees and stipend (living costs). Most of the experimental costs will be covered by the supervisors from a current MRC grant, although the student may be required to provide a partial contribution towards bench fees.

How to apply

For further information about this project, please e-mail Dr Jonathan Johnston (

Formal applications can be made through our programme page

Applications are accepted all year round.


Dr Jonathan Johnston

Dr Barbara Fielding

Recent publications

Wehrens et al 2017 Current Biology 27: 1768-1775

Loizides-Mangold et al 2017 Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 114: E8565-E8574

Umpleby et al 2017 Clinical Science 131: 2561-2573

Johnston et al 2016 Advances in Nutrition 7: 399-406