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PhD in the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism as an International Student

Dr Yung-Chih (Stanley) Chen describes his experiences carrying out a PhD at the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism.

Why I chose to study at Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism

As a well-trained athlete for more than a decade, I was always interested in exercise, nutrition and metabolism. Before I made up my mind to study at Bath, I exchanged emails with my prospective supervisor, Professor Dylan Thompson for about 4 months. During this period of time, I became confident that his team and the Department for Health would be able to support my PhD and help me to develop my career – and that I would be taken care of as a person. That was why I made my final decision to study at the University of Bath.

What was the focus of my PhD

My PhD was about exercise, diet and adipose (fat) tissue metabolism and included three projects. The first project examined the impact of fasting and feeding (with/without breakfast) on adipose tissue responsiveness to prolonged moderate-intensity exercise (this project was reported by New York Times after we published it).

The second project examined whether adipose tissue was influenced by more modest changes in accumulated physical activity. And, the final project investigated the responsiveness adipose tissue to different forms of physical activity during the challenge of 50% overfeeding. These topics are very interesting and relevant to lots of people, and it was rewarding to be working on challenges which were close to real-life.

How I was supported throughout my study

I always felt supported in both the social and research parts of my time working in the Department for Health. I learned a lot, including very advanced laboratory techniques (how to process human tissues) and how to design research projects. Also, working with undergraduates, other PhD students and post-doctoral researchers established my capacity to work as part of a team and to approach science from different angles.

I also got some teaching and research assistant opportunities and financial support (e.g., conference grants) from the Department. The support from my supervisors (and the team) in the department was excellent.

Apart from the academic side of study, we had cake club, postgraduate sports teams and team meals. I really enjoyed doing my PhD in Bath.

What I am doing now

After the completion of my PhD, I worked as a research associate and laboratory technician on various projects in Bath for another 2 years, and published several more research papers. My PhD enabled me to secure a position as lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Physical Education in National Taiwan Normal University in Taiwan. I am still working very closely with members of the Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism and also with former PhD colleagues who have secured lectureships at different Universities in the UK.

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