A PhD degree involves specialist study, postgraduate training and original and independent research on a specific topic under the supervision of academic members of staff in the school. Additional supervisors consisting of at least one other experienced member of staff (up to a maximum of three staff members) will also be carried out in the school or in collaboration with industrial partners, other university departments in Nottingham or other universities and private or publicly funded research institutes. In some cases students will spend time at international academic establishments or research institutes. Students undertaking the three-year PhD complete a structured training programme in the first year of study. Progression through the period of study is closely monitored through regular meetings with the students' supervisory committee and by reviews with an international progress committee in years one and two.
There are significant advantages to using spontaneous disease in domesticated animals as models of human disease and, within the school, the impact of a number of genetic and environmental variables upon the domestic species are being investigated in an effort to enhance our understanding of the pathological processes that lead to morbidity and mortality in both animals and humans.
The impact of the prenatal environment on long term postnatal development, physiology and pathology are linked to dietary and exercise regimes in the postnatal animal (Gardner). The effects of age, genetic background and exercise regime upon the cardiovascular system are being assessed in both horses and dogs (Bowen, Cobb). The impact of changes in the prenatal and postnatal environment on skeletal muscle growth, wasting and insulin sensitivity is being assessed (Loughna, Gardner, Rauch, Mobasheri) as is the role of environmental and nutritional factors in the development of vascular and orthopaedic diseases in the horse (Mobasheri).
To further understand the similarities and differences in disease processes between species, the role of the cell membrane and specific intracellular signalling pathways in response to mechanical and cytokine signalling is being examined in a range of species (Mobasheri, Loughna, Rauch, Bowen).
In addition, there are collaborations with academic staff in the Medical School and the School of Biosciences who are united by broad interests in regulation, integration, and homeostasis in health and in disease. Specific areas of research include volume homeostasis, obesity, inflammation, cytokines and nutritional phytochemistry.