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Developmental Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 65 Developmental Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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We have 65 Developmental Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

As a Developmental Biology PhD student, you’ll have the chance to undertake a detailed research project into the key concepts that underpin the development of an organism. You may be investigating the role of a specific signaling pathway such as Notch, understanding how stem cells acquire their fates or researching the formation of a specific system in humans.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Developmental Biology?

Studying a PhD in Developmental Biology, you’ll become proficient in a range of laboratory skills, especially cell culture as well as techniques from Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and genetics. Due to the complicated ethical concerns surrounding developmental biology, particularly when it comes to studying human embryos, you’ll develop a comprehensive knowledge of ethics.

Some typical research topics in Developmental Biology include:

  • Investigating the development of a particular organ
  • Understanding the development of non-human organisms such as fish
  • Investigating the role of ions and/or growth factors in early embryo development
  • Researching the developmental cause of birth defects
  • How stem cells acquire their fate

Most Developmental Biology programmes are fully funded by the university or a doctoral training programme. These programmes usually have a certain number of advertised projects available, with the proposal previously written by the supervisor determining the scope of the work.

Proposing your own research project is not common in Developmental Biology, mainly due to the challenge of finding funding to cover both your PhD and bench fees.

On a general workday, you’ll likely be in the laboratory preparing or performing experiments, analysing data you collected previously, writing up results and discussing your work with your supervisor and colleagues. You’ll submit your thesis of approximately 60,000 words at the end of your PhD, then have to defend it in a viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Developmental Biology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, 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 Developmental Biology funding options

The research council responsible for funding Developmental Biology 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 difficult for Developmental Biology 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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Haematopoietic stem cell dysfunction in ageing and disease

Adult organs are maintained by specialised stem cells that persist throughout life thanks to their ability to make exact copies of themselves, all the time retaining the ability to on demand produce the differentiated component cells of the tissue of which they are a part. Read more

Mechanisms of gene regulation shared between human development and neurodegeneration

Applications are invited for a research studentship leading to the award of a PhD degree, under the supervision of Dr. Marco Trizzino, to investigate mechanisms of gene regulation shared between human development and neurodegeneration. Read more

Characterisation and treatment of patient iPSC-derived retinal organoids as an in vitro model of inherited retinal disease

Commercial partner: . Newcells Biotech Ltd. , Newcastle upon Tyne. Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived 3D retinal organoids (ROs) mimic the architecture of the mammalian retina and can therefore be used as a physiologically relevant in vitro model. Read more

Optimising phage cocktails for treatment of drug resistant pathogens associated with cystic fibrosis. MRC GW4 BioMed2 DTP PhD studentship 2023/24 Entry, PhD in Biosciences

Summary. Phage cocktails promise treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections but are arbitrarily composed. They do not account for phage cross-resistance (resistance to one phage confers resistance to others), especially alongside antibiotics or immune responses. Read more
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Exposure to fire smoke in early life

Exposure to fire smoke in early life. What are the long-term cardio-respiratory effects of exposure to smoke from a coalmine fire in early life?. Read more

Self funded BMS Project: Neuronal-Src kinases: oncogenes in brain development?

Applications accepted for PhD Only. The challenges of the developing human brain include co-ordinating the birth and migration of 100 billion neurons and the formation of their 1000 trillion synaptic connections. Read more

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