Human health impact of exposure to environmental chemicals
Department: Population Health Sciences
Application deadline: 8 May 2023
Start date: 25 September 2023
- Professor Anna Hansell
- Dr Ovnair Sepai (UK Health Security Agency)
Exposure to a mixture of chemicals is a factor of modern life. Chemicals can be in the air we breathe, in consumer products we use, the foods we eat and the general environments in which we live, work and reside. Human biomonitoring (HBM) is an important tool which enables the quantification of exposure to chemicals from all routes and sources of exposure but the UK does not currently have an established HBM programme.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are working in collaboration with the Health Survey for England (HSE) to collect samples for biomonitoring in 2022/3 from a subset of the HSE sampling frame. HSE is an annual population representative survey that aims to collect information about the health of the people in England.
The aim of this PhD studentship proposal is to help develop national capacity to assess the exposure and human health impact of priority list of chemicals, starting with phthalates and Hexamoll DINCH, Bisphenols (BPA, BPF and BPS), per-/polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS), and flame retardants. This is where there are major data gaps in the knowledge surrounding the general population’s exposure within the UK.
This project will aim to understand chemical exposure distribution, how exposure is linked to environmental risk factors and conduct initial epidemiological analyses of selected health outcomes. Working with UKHSA, the public health implication of these exposures will be addressed. The student will carry out systematic reviews to evaluate biomarkers of exposure and early biomarkers of effect. This will inform calculation of health impacts and economic impacts - burden of disease - to develop evidence-based policy. This work will also feed into UKHSAs contribution to the Horizon Europe/ UK Research Innovation funded Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals (PARC).
The studentship will be part of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) in Environmental Exposures and Health at the University of Leicester. There will be opportunities for a placement at UKHSA. The successful PhD candidate will ideally have an MSc in public health or epidemiology, or equivalent experience, with good statistical skills.
This 3 year PhD Studentship provides
- UK tuition fee waiver
- Annual stipend at UKRI rates. TBC for 2023/24 (£17,668 for 2022/23)
*International candidates should note that they will be required to cover the difference between the UK (Home) and International tuition fees each year (this will be in the region of £17,000 per annum and will be confirmed at the point of offer).
*Please note that this project is competition funded
Applicants are required to hold a UK Bachelor's Degree 2:1 (or overseas equivalent) or better in a relevant subject.
The successful candidate will ideally have an MSc in public health or epidemiology, or equivalent experience, with good statistical skills.
The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable.
- Hayley King (email@example.com)
- PGR Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org)
How to apply
How to apply
To apply, please use the Apply button at the bottom of the page and select September 2023 from the dropdown menu.
With your application, please include:
- Personal statement explaining your interest in the project, your experience and why we should consider you.
- Degree certificates and transcripts of study already completed and if possible transcript to date of study currently being undertaken.
- Evidence of English language proficiency if applicable,
- In the reference section please enter the contact details of your two academic referees in the boxes provided or upload letters of reference if already available.
- In the funding section please specify that you wish to be considered for the College of Life Sciences Studentship.
- In the research proposal section please provide the name of the project supervisors and the project title (a proposal is not required).
Open to UK and *International candidates
*International candidates should note that they will be required to cover the difference between UK and International tuition fees each year (this will be in the region of £17,000 per annum and will be confirmed at the point of offer).