PhD Project – Precision Medicine DTP

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Website EdinburghUni The University of Edinburgh

Precision Medicine DTP – Sleep and circadian rhythm disruption as novel risk factors for age-related brain diseases

The University of Edinburgh, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

About the Project

Additional supervisors: Dr Breda Cullen [University of Glasgow], Dr Donald Lyall [University of Glasgow]


Sleep and circadian disruption may increase the risk of neurodegenerative conditions, but this is a complex area that requires careful study within high quality prospective datasets.


This project will make use of the world-leading UK Biobank cohort to investigate associations between sleep/circadian disruption and age-related brain outcomes aspects of brain health such as impaired cognitive abilities like memory, differences in brain structure, and the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. We will make use of data on sleep and circadian function, genetics and brain imaging that have been linked to NHS medical records. As such, the project will provide scientific training opportunities in epidemiology, data science, genomics, neuropsychology, mental health, dementia, health informatics, sleep and circadian science and neuroimaging. Our interdisciplinary supervisory team have extensive experience of working with UK Biobank data and we encourage early enquiries/applications from individuals from a broad range of backgrounds and interests.

Training outcomes

Ability to manage and analyse large-scale cohort datasets; expertise in health informatics (including data linkage); experience with statistical genetics (including Mendelian randomisation); novel circadian rhythm analyses (including wearable sensor data).

About the Programme

This MRC programme is joint between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will be registered at the host institution of the primary supervisor detailed in your project selection.

All applications should be made via the University of Edinburgh, irrespective of project location. For those applying to a University of Glasgow project, your application along with any supporting documents will be shared with University of Glasgow.

Please note, you must apply to one of the projects and you must contact the primary supervisor prior to making your application. Additional information on the application process is available from the link above.

For more information about Precision Medicine visit:

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