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University of Bristol Bioinformatics PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 10 University of Bristol Bioinformatics PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships



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We have 10 University of Bristol Bioinformatics PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

A Bioinformatics PhD would provide you with the opportunity to work on an extended, in-detail project through the analysis of large sets of data. Bioinformatics programmes tend to be mostly ‘dry’ work with limited (if any) time in the laboratory conducting experiments. Since the focus is analysis of data, the choice of projects spans many subjects from analysing bacterial evolution, to modelling the spread of disease.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Bioinformatics?

As a Bioinformatics PhD student, you’ll work with the latest software and become proficient with programming in R, Python and MATLAB. You’ll also gain extensive experience with techniques from statistics and data science, all of which will allow you to analyse data effectively.

Some typical research topics in Bioinformatics include:

  • Genetic mapping
  • Population dynamics
  • Epidemiological modelling (modelling disease spread)
  • Improving diagnosis through the development of an algorithm
  • Using omic technology to study a disease state
  • Modelling and predicting evolution

Most Bioinformatics programmes advertised projects with full funding attached. These projects have a pre-determined aim, but you can alter the project along the way to suit your interests.

Compared to other Biology programmes, there is more opportunity of proposing a project, though this remains uncommon. While the majority are advertised projects, some doctoral training programmes offer bioinformatics projects in a given area and leave you to propose the specifics of the project.

In a normal day you’ll be writing programmes to identify new features in the data, analysing results using statistics and data science methods and discussing your project with your supervisor and colleagues.

At the end of the three or four years you’ll complete a thesis of around 60,000 words, which will contribute to your field and you’ll defend it during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Bioinformatics PhD programmes involve a Masters in a related subject including Maths, Biological Science, Computer Science, or Software Engineering, with at least a Merit or Distinction. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Bioinformatics funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Bioinformatics PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Bioinformatics PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Life imitates art (or design, at least): Understanding a new group of membrane proteins

A PhD studentship is available to investigate the structure and function of a novel group of integral membrane proteins. This is a collaborative project between the laboratories of Dr Paul Curnow and Professor Ross Anderson in the School of Biochemistry at the University of Bristol. Read more

Rational microbial‐based interventions against enteric disease in young livestock

The project. Young livestock are particularly susceptible to infectious disease due both to limited immune function and poorly developed microbiomes, the ecosystem of microbes that colonise a range of body sites including the gut and act to inhibit colonisation by pathogenic microbes. Read more

Who let the bugs out? Machine learning for rapid geographical source attribution of gastrointestinal pathogens

The project. Infections caused by members of the bacterial genus Salmonella represent a major threat to both animal health and public health; requiring significant resources to identify sources of infection. Read more

Simulation-led engineering of Diels-Alderase activity and selectivity for sustainable biosynthesis of new antibiotics

Enzymes are remarkable biocatalysts that allow rapid, selective and efficient catalysis under mild conditions. Biotechnology exploits the rate‐enhancing properties of these natural biocatalysts to manufacture high added‐value products. Read more

Machine learning for tracing pathogens in the food chain

Salmonella is the most important food chain pathogen globally[1], causing infection and mortality in farmed animals and gastrointestinal infection of humans via consumption of contaminated foodstuffs. Read more

Vascular endothelial glycocalyx dysfunction as a therapeutic target in sepsis-associated acute kidney injury

Sepsis is the leading cause of acute kidney injury (sAKI), associated with high morbidity and mortality.1,2 Unfortunately, there is no treatment for sAKI, current therapies are nonspecific and supportive of the vital organs. Read more

Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Digital Health and Care, University of Bristol

The future of Health is Digital – we urgently need new technologies for understanding, preventing, diagnosing and managing illnesses that affect millions of people, such as diabetes, depression and dementia. Read more
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