Alix Hughes

Pathway 0+3.5

Cohort 2021

Pathway Journey

My PhD title is: ” Use it or lose it: Understanding age-related changes in skeletal muscle protein turnover in response to exercise and nutrition”. The PhD will be broken down into three main studies. One will be a method development of a novel technique to assess individual muscle protein fractional synthesis rates using muscle biopsy samples. The main project will focus on a novel protein supplement in combination with an exercise training intervention prior to a period of limb immobilization, to assess how this prehabilitation strategy impacts skeletal muscle protein synthesis rates during disuse in healthy young individuals. Finally, a feasibility study will use the same protein supplement in older individuals awaiting hip replacement surgery, to try and mitigate the loss of muscle associated with this catabolic state.


I completed my BSc in Sport Science and Health at Dublin City University, graduating with a first-class honours in 2019. My undergraduate research project focused on understanding the gait changes that occur in simulated reduced gravity conditions, using a lower body positive pressure treadmill. In 2020 I graduated with an MSc in Space Physiology and Health, which I completed at King’s College London.

I decided to apply to the DTP for the specific project I am undertaking, hence why I opted for the 0+3.5 pathway rather than rotations. The DTP offers workshops and other training opportunities, adding another layer to your PhD training. Having a cohort of other PhD students in the same year is also beneficial for additional support and social opportunities.