Rhythms of human nutrition, metabolism and physiology

This self-funded studentship investigates internal ‘circadian clocks’ that influence widespread daily rhythms of metabolism, physiology and behaviour.
Start date
Application deadline
Funding information

This studentship is self-funded. The majority of experimental costs will be covered by the supervisors from a current MRC grant, although successful candidates may be required to provide a partial contribution towards bench fees.


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
  • 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:

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

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

Eligibility criteria

Applicants should have:

  • At least an upper, second class honours degree (2.1) or equivalent.
  • Fluency in English language

How to apply

Applications can be made through our PhD Biosciences and Medicine and MD Biosciences and Medicine course pages. In your application you must mention this studentship in order to be considered.

Contact details

Jonathan Johnston
05 AY 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686470
E-mail: J.Johnston@surrey.ac.uk

Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.