Sudden cardiac death in human athletes – electrophysiological and molecular insights from the animal models

This project will explore the electrophysiological and molecular profile of the equine heart as a model for high performing human athletes.

Start date
3 years
Application deadline
Funding source
Funded by the University of Surrey
Funding information

Funding will cover University tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for three years and a stipend for three years at RCUK levels (£15,000 per year).


This is an exciting fully funded PhD studentship opportunity exploring the electrophysiological and molecular profile of the equine heart as a model for high performing human athletes. The successful candidate will join a vibrant multidisciplinary group of clinicians and basic scientists from the medical and veterinary field working together to create real world impact.

The horses is possibly the only mammal that has the ability to increase its heart rate to more than six times resting levels and yet remain within normal physiological compliance. The inherent ability of the equine heart to cope with such drastic changes requires complex electrical and molecular compliance. The mechanisms for such compliance is not well understood and the present work will entail the application and extension of our current understanding on cardiac compliance in mice and humans. Additionally, an understanding of cardiac compliance will form the basis of developing strategies for the prediction, management and prevention of cardiovascular abnormalities commonly seen human athletes

The successful candidate will be involved in a multidisciplinary research project in collaboration with the Surrey and Cambridge. The candidate will be exposed to a range of electrophysiological (in-vivo electrocardiogram recordings, Langendorff perfused setups, sharp electrode experiments, loose patch techniques, and confocal microscopy) and molecular (western blots, qPCR, ELISA) and histological techniques.

Further information

For further information on funding see our Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD course.

The PhD studentship is expected to commence in October 2021.

Eligibility criteria

Open to UK and EU students only.

This is an interdisciplinary project in electrophysiology and molecular biology.

Undergraduates with a degree in Biological Sciences or related subjects are welcomed as long as they have a strong interest in electrophysiology and molecular biology.

Medical and veterinary graduates are encouraged to apply. A Master’s degree in related subject is desirable and previous experience in electrophysiology work is useful but not essential.

IELTS requirements: overall score of 7 with minimum in each component being 6.5.

How to apply

Please apply for this PhD through the Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD applications portal (“Apply” tab). Applicants are invited to contact Dr. Jeevaratnam to discuss the project informally prior to making an application.

Veterinary Medicine and Science PhD

Contact details

Kamalan Jeevaratnam
01 VSM 02
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 682395

Research group:

The student will be based at the University of Surrey; this is an ideal location which promotes informal interactions among the member of the team and constant exposure to innovative approaches, problems and settings beyond pure academia

The candidate will benefit from international and interdisciplinary (med-vet-environment) development and networking activities organised by the school. There are opportunities to interact with several UK and EU collaborators and travel to these labs for personal development opportunities.


Studentships at Surrey

We have a wide range of studentship opportunities available.