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Obesity is a heterogeneous and complex disease. Different subtypes of obesity have been defined based on combinations of obesity and metabolic components and the impact of these obesity metabolic health phenotypes on an individual’s risk of developing different types of cancers is unclear.  The pathophysiology that underlies the association of obesity metabolic health phenotypes with cancer is as yet also poorly understood. Elucidating the biological pathways between obesity metabolic health phenotypes and cancer will support efforts to disrupt the underlying mechanisms.  Recent advances in modern explorative technologies, such as metabolomics, can increase our capacity to better understand the mechanisms involved.


The student will work within the rich academic environment of the Nuffield Department of Population Health and affiliated institutions locally, gaining research experience and skills training in epidemiology biostatistics, and metabolomics.  The successful candidate will have access to the UK Biobank, a prospective cohort study comprising around 500 000 middle aged and older people. The cohort study has collected extensive data about its participants, including deep phenotype data, genomic data (genotyping, exome- and whole-genome sequencing), metabolomics data, and clinical events and treatment through linkage to NHS primary care and hospital records as well as cancer registry and mortality (ONS) records. The student will be supported through regular research meetings and will be expected to participate in training and seminars offered by the unit.


Towards the end of their DPhil, it is expected that the candidate will be able to plan, undertake, interpret, and report their findings in a concise manner. The candidate will have acquired transferable skills including drafting project proposals and presenting the research findings at national, and international meetings. The candidate will be expected to publish peer-reviewed papers as lead author by the end of their DPhil.

Prospective candidate

Candidates should have a degree in Medicine or Biomedical Science and have postgraduate training or experience in Epidemiology or Biostatistics.