Air pollution and bone health

Air pollution and bone health in children: Clearing the problem

Degree type

PhD

Closing date

10 October 2022

Campus

Hobart

Citizenship requirement

Domestic/International

About the research project

Childhood and adolescence are a critical period for the development of strong and healthy bones. “Peak bone mass” is reached somewhere in your twenties, meaning that your bones are at their most dense and strongest. After that, bones become weaker and eventually may even become fragile (i.e., osteoporotic). It is evident, that reaching a higher peak bone mass is of critical importance for the prevention of osteoporosis and its related fractures.

This project will focus on the relation between air pollution and bone health in children. Air pollution is associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, which predispose to several chronic diseases. Osteoporosis may be directly associated with inflammation induced by air pollutants like particulate matter (PM).  To establish whether air pollution is related to bone health acquisition, studies in children are required. This project will directly address this need by investigating the role of air pollution on bone health during childhood.

The project aims to examine the association between:

  • Ambient and potentially indoor air pollution with bone health in children
  • Look into the different pollutants and assesses different measures to assess bone health, such as the DEXA scan and heel ultrasound

This novel area of investigation will be conducted in different existing local, national, and international based cohorts: the Tasmanian Infant Health Study, the Australian Barwon Infant Study (BIS), the Danish Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC). This will be a cross-disciplinary project and you will be working with researchers in the field of air pollution and bone health. The project requires a sound understanding of physiology and capability in quantitative data analysis.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Lieke Scheepers

Funding

Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Eligibility

Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Understanding of statistics and experience in using statistical software package R

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Lieke Scheepers to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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