HDR Scholarship - Dietary patterns and healthy ageing

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Dietary patterns and healthy ageing'.

Project Supervisor


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Osteoporosis and sarcopenia are associated with increased risk of adverse outcomes such as falls, fractures and hospitalisation. Their association with frailty is less well-described, particularly in ambulant population-based older adults. While nutrition plays a crucial role in maintaining bone and muscle health, the complex relationship between osteoporosis, sarcopenia and nutrition in the pathogenesis of frailty remains to be unravelled.

This project is designed to assess parameters of bone and muscle health in conjunction with nutritional status for participants of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study, a well-recognised long-term, prospective cohort study focused on musculoskeletal health. The student will utilise archived data and generate new data in order to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between dietary patterns and musculoskeletal health.

The project will yield findings with local, national and international significance. It will make a significant contribution to the body of evidence that will inform public health messaging for healthy ageing.
The project will suit students with a background in nutrition, dietetics, biomedical science, biological science, health science, medicine or allied health.

Project aim

The over-arching aim is to identify modifiable dietary factors that could improve the trajectory of musculoskeletal decline during ageing. Specific aims are to undertake face-to-face interviews with participants of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study, with the purpose of identifying dietary patterns in conjunction with a series of clinical measures of musculoskeletal health, chronic disorders, sociodemographic variables and lifestyle behaviours.

The student will also learn how to measure bone mineral density (BMD) and lean mass by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and peripheral quantitative tomography (pQCT) and assess skeletal muscle function (muscle strength and performance). The student will work with the Geelong Osteoporosis Study research team in the iMPACT institute. This is part of the School of Medicine, located at the University Hospital Geelong (Barwon Health).

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Monday 26 October 2020


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,092 per annum tax exempt (2020 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate or overseas

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic candidate (domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship).
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Learn more about submitting a successful application on the How to apply page

Find out more

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Professor Julie Pasco

Prof Julie Pasco

Professor (Faculty of Health)
Email Julie Pasco
+61 0401 437 439