Position: Female-specific risk factors for cardiovascular disease in Aotearoa New Zealand

Supervisors: Associate Professor Katrina Poppe, Dr Nikki Earle

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a fully-funded PhD, to develop skills in health data analysis, and to contribute to more equitable health outcomes for women.

Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the primary killer of women in New Zealand (NZ), and the immense burden of CVD on women and their whānau is often underestimated. Underrepresentation of women in clinical trials has resulted in guidelines for CVD prevention, diagnosis, and medical treatment that underperform for women. The evidence is clear that women have different cardiovascular risk factors that manifest across the life-course, and differing symptoms and outcomes of CVD, but this is often not recognised by patients and providers. Female-specific risk factors for CVD can include pre-eclampsia, gestational hypertension or diabetes, peripartum cardiomyopathy, and early menopause yet these remain unrecognised in established CVD risk screening.

Project summary: The aim of this project is to obtain data about female-specific cardiovascular risk factors relating to pregnancy and menopause, and assess whether using these data can improve models for CVD risk prediction in women. This will include national health data, as well as relevant localised databases and registries.

This project will develop the evidence base for relevant cardiovascular risk factors to be routinely recorded, making them available in clinical practice and for research.

We are part of a NZ-wide group undertaking a program of research on women’s heart health, and this PhD project provides an opportunity to join this team, and to take part in other related aspects of the wider research program including community engagement and education.

Candidates will have a degree in a biomedical or related quantitative discipline, and an interest in the application of statistical methods to cardiovascular research. Interested candidates must have a GPA of 7.0 or above.  Experience with routinely collected health data and the use of statistical software such as R would be an advantage.

The project will be based in Auckland, New Zealand and hosted by the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. The funding is provided by Pūtahi Manawa | Healthy Hearts for Aotearoa New Zealand (a Centre of Research Excellence focused on equity in heart health) and includes a stipend plus compulsory domestic fees for three years.

How to apply: To express your interest in this PhD research and scholarship please submit the following items to Katrina Poppe [email protected] and Nikki Earle [email protected] :

  • a cover letter outlining your interest in this project
  • a brief CV including qualifications, achievements, publications, work experience, and referees
  • a copy of your academic transcript(s).