Obesity, metabolic health and prostate cancer: using abdominal and pelvic imaging to characterize obesity and adipose tissue distribution



Funded PhD Opportunity

Obesity, metabolic health and prostate cancer: using abdominal and pelvic imaging to characterize obesity and adipose tissue distribution

Project Description

There are currently no well-established modifiable risk factors for prostate cancer. Some evidence suggests that obesity is linked to more aggressive prostate cancer and worse outcomes, but studies are inconsistent and mechanisms are not understood. Obesity is a heterogeneous condition and two main fat types, visceral and subcutaneous, contribute to overall obesity status as measured by body mass index. Visceral fat, the more metabolically active of the two, is widely recognized to be the driver of obesity-associated diseases including cancer. Periprostatic fat is a poorly characterized type of visceral fat that surrounds the prostate, and may be particularly relevant for prostate cancer outcomes given its close proximity to the tumour.

This project will leverage abdominal and pelvic imaging to characterize obesity and adipose tissue distribution in a large cohort of radiation-treated prostate cancer patients, linking treatment and follow-up data to determine the effect on prostate cancer outcomes. Ongoing exercise intervention trials in men with advanced prostate cancer will be used to explore the effect of obesity and weight change on patient-reported outcomes and quality of life. This project will provide evidence for the utility of adipose tissue distribution, a potentially modifiable lifestyle factor, as a prognostic marker in prostate cancer.  


Dr E Allott

Dr S Jain

Dr Gillian Prue


Candidates should have or expect to obtain a 2:1 or higher Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant biomedical or life sciences subject.

English Language Requirements:

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score. The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is: 

  • IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;
  • TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);
  • A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;
  • A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or
  • A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking. 

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:

The English Language Unit (ELU) offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained from the ELU http://www.qub.ac.uk/tefl/

Closing Date

Sunday, January 20, 2019


Funding Notes

*FUNDING CONFIRMED – Department for the Economy (DfE)*

Eligibility for both fees (£4260 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) and maintenance (£14,777 for 2018/19, 2019/20 TBC) depends on the applicants being either an ordinary UK resident or those EU residents who have lived permanently in the UK for the 3 years immediately preceding the start of the studentship.

Non UK residents who hold EU residency may also apply but if successful may receive fees only.

For further details re eligibility criteria (including academic, citizenship and residency criteria) please click on the following link: View Website

How to Apply


Please refer to 'Entry Requirements' for specific admissions criteria.

Apply online via the Queen's on-line application portal .  Guidance is available on the University’s Prospective Student pages.

When applying for a project, please choose ‘MEDICINE’ as your subject area/School.

Please ensure you adhere to the closing dates.

If you have any further queries please contact:  pgoffice.smdb@qub.ac.uk  or +44 (0) 28 9097 2619/2042.

Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences,  Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology, website for further details about the Centre.




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