Taking a whole of day approach to optimising activity to prevent dementia in people with type 2 diabetes

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

Supervisor – Dr Paul Gardinerp.gardiner@uq.edu.au

People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) have a much increased risk of developing dementia. T2D and dementia share common mechanisms of high blood glucose, insulin resistance and inflammation, all linked to prolonged sitting (of which 60% occurs in the workplace). We have demonstrated that reducing and breaking up prolonged sitting is related to cognitive function and can result in metabolic improvements in people with T2D, and that significant decreases in sitting time are achievable in office workers.

OPTIMISE is a NHMRC funded 12-month randomised controlled trial. 250 mid-age and older office workers with T2D will be randomised to an intervention or control condition. The intervention incorporates in-person, telephone, and SMS delivered health coaching, a sit-stand desktop workstation, and a wearable device to prompt participants to sit less and move more. Intervention and control groups will be compared at 6, 12, and 18 months for glycaemic control (primary outcome at 6 months) and cognitive function (primary outcome at 12 months). Secondary outcomes are: inflammatory and neurogenic factors, cardio-metabolic risk, and glycaemic control; overall sitting time, and body composition.

At the completion of 12 months, the control group receives a light touch intervention co-designed by people in the intervention condition. This component will form the basis of the PhD project. The student will be involved in theiterative development of the light touch intervention and also the evaluation of the intervention.

This position will be based at the Baker Institute in Melbourne and is only suitable for domestic students. Professor David Dunstan (Baker Institute) and Associate Professor Genevieve Healy (UQ) will co-supervise the student.

Preferred educational background

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant's previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A working knowledge of psychology, exercise science or another health-related area would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

*The successful candidate must commence by Research Quarter 4, 2022. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

Apply now