Postgraduate Research Opportunity

The effects of hyperoxia and hypoxia on muscle force control and neuromuscular performance


Title: The effects of hyperoxia and hypoxia on muscle force control and neuromuscular performance

Funding: We regret that we are not currently able to offer funding for this studentship.

Application deadline: 31st July 2022.

Start date: October 2022.

Duration: 1 year (full time)

Location: Colchester Campus.

Based in: School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences


Muscle force output is characterised by constant fluctuations, which can be quantified according to their magnitude and temporal structure. The ability to control muscle force (i.e. to generate smooth and accurate forces) is of critical importance for many activities of daily living, such as balance and locomotion. Our ability to control muscle force is affected by both acute (e.g. neuromuscular fatigue) and chronic (e.g. ageing) perturbations.

It has previously been demonstrated that there is an inverse relationship between muscle metabolic rate (measured using near-infrared spectroscopy; NIRS) and muscle force control, whereby increases in metabolic rate, caused by constant load fatiguing exercise, lead to a decrease in the ability to control force. Given the importance of muscle force control for activities of daily living, this relationship with muscle metabolic rate could have important implications.

The project

Manipulating metabolic rate can be accomplished not just with fatiguing exercise but also by changing the inspired oxygen fraction.

The primary aim of this project is manipulate the inspired oxygen using hyperoxia and hypoxia and assess the impact of this on muscle force control at a range of contraction intensities and during neuromuscular fatigue. This will involve a variety of advanced physiological techniques, including isokinetic dynamometry and both muscle and brain NIRS.

How to apply

You can apply for this postgraduate research opportunity online

You will need to upload the following documents:

  • Research proposal of no more than 600 words, outlining suggested research focus(es), approach(es) and/or studies that applicants would be interested to include within their MSD.
  • CV
  • Covering letter
  • Transcripts of any undergraduate or masters qualifications.

Applications must be submitted by 31st July 2022. The successful candidate will start in October 2022.

Instruction to applicants

When you apply online you will be prompted to fill out several boxes in the form:

  • For "Course title" please select "MSc (by Dissertation) Sport and Exercise Science".
  • For "Proposed research topic or area of research" please put the title of this studentship “The effects of hyperoxia and hypoxia on muscle force control and neuromuscular performance”.
  • For "If you have contacted a potential supervisor..." please put the name of the Essex supervisor (Dr Jamie Pethick).

If you have any informal queries about this opportunity please email Dr Jamie Pethick (