Muscle health and nutritional needs during recovery from acute disease – also offered as MBiomedSc

Research Opportunity
PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Project Status
Medicine and Radiology
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Andrea Maier + 61383872137 Personal web page
Dr Esmee Reijnierse Personal web page

Project Details

Sarcopenia, or age-related low muscle mass and/or strength, is central to the development of physical deconditioning. Sarcopenia, often underdiagnosed, is associated with falls, morbidity and mortality. Among geriatric patients in a rehabilitation program, prevalence is estimated at 40%, placing a major burden on the healthcare system.

Geriatric rehabilitation care is focused on community-dwelling older persons, who are admitted to short-term rehabilitation programs after hospitalization and accompanied physical deconditioning. Evidence based protocols to regain physical condition in geriatric rehabilitation are currently not available. As such, 80% of patients in geriatric rehabilitation programs have insufficient dietary intake to support muscle metabolism that facilitates recovery from a hospital stay. Additionally, the energy expenditure could be increased due to the acute disease. Therefore, there is a disbalance between energy expenditure and energy intake which could cause unintentional weight loss and thereby loss of muscle mass. The understanding of the nutritional needs, energy expenditure and dietary intake (especially energy and protein intake), are largely unknown in older populations.

This information is crucial to develop tailored nutritional and exercise interventions with the aim to prevent loss of- and to gain muscle mass and muscle strength. Three positions are available: Aim project 1: Phenotypic characterization of sarcopenia inpatients versus non- sarcopenic inpatients. Aim project 2: Relationship between energy expenditure and muscle health (muscle mass, muscle strength) Aim project 3: Relationship between dietary intake and muscle health (muscle mass, muscle strength) Prerequisite: intention to learn how to conduct epidemiological studies / interventions, epidemiological/statistical skills, intention to write a journal article, good communication skills, capacity to work in a multidisciplinary team.

School Research Themes


Research Opportunities

PhD, Masters by Research, Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Graduate Research Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other Graduate Research requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

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Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


Medicine and Radiology

Research Group / Unit / Centre


Research Node

Royal Melbourne Hospital

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