What’s it like to do a PhD in Genetic Engineering?
Doing a PhD in Genetic Engineering, you’ll gain the laboratory skills to use cutting edge techniques including CRISPR, as well as classic techniques such as electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and plasmid transformation. You’ll read the literature surrounding your area, which will inspire new methods for your own research.
Some typical research topics in Genetic Engineering include:
- Investigating a network of genes involved in development or disease
- Developing a production method for medication or biofuel using yeast or bacteria
- Using genetic methods to identify novel compounds in fungi or bacteria
- Genetically modifying mitochondria to treat inherited conditions
- Development of novel ligands as antiviral, antibiotic or anticancer treatments
- Modifying crops to increase yield or resistance to pests
Genetic Engineering PhD programmes are usually fully funded by either the university or a doctoral training programme. These projects are proposed by the supervisor and advertised online.
Writing your own research proposal is uncommon in Genetic Engineering as you’ll need to find funding to cover both PhD and bench fees, as well as finding a supervisor with the expertise and equipment required for your project.
Whether you join an advertised project or propose your own, you’ll write a thesis
of approximately 60,000 words that contributes to the knowledge of your field and defend your work in a viva exam
In an ordinary day, you’ll spend time in the laboratory preparing or conducting experiments, reading the literature, writing up your previous work and discussing methods and results with your supervisor.