Investigating the impact of insulin resistance on ageing, appearance, and wellbeing using sleep as a model system

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Institute of Cellular Medicine


Impaired glucose homeostasis, due to reduced insulin sensitivity combined with relative insulin deficiency, is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. It is also a characteristic feature of ageing and may represent a pivotal mediator of age-related changes in the structural and functional integrity of key organs, including skin and its associated appendages. However understanding on the impact of systemic insulin resistance on cutaneous ageing is limited. The same limitations apply to the biological effects of acute fluctuations in insulin sensitivity, resultant from daily environmental challenge, on skin, its associated appendages and translation to appearance cues. The PhD study aims to examine the impact of insulin resistance on appearance and cutaneous ageing using sleep as a model system. Converging evidence suggests that neuroendocrine changes associated with sleep deprivation may be connected to alterations in insulin sensitivity. This relationship will be examined and disturbances in neuroendocrine regulation explored as a biological mediator of ageing. Apart from the experienced supervisory team at Newcastle University and Unilever UK, the project will benefit from access to the UK BioBank and the Sleepstation (Newcastle's Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme). The research outcomes have far reaching implications including commercial applications in the Personal Care and Healthcare arenas.
This is a multi-disciplinary PhD studentship and includes cellular, molecular biological and physiological techniques such as metabolism measures, histological analysis, image analysis, cell culture, molecular biology, genetic analysis, immunostaining and gene expression studies.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/P504397/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2021
1953292 Studentship BB/P504397/1 09/10/2017 08/10/2121 Gewei Zhu
Description Unilever 
Organisation Unilever
Department Research and Development Colworth
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Ran experiments on samples provided by them and report back results. Provide regular updates on project progression.
Collaborator Contribution Offer training opportunities to learn new techniques.
Impact Had the opportunity to learn new techniques from them.
Start Year 2017