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We have 11 Developmental Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for UK Students in Edinburgh



Biological Sciences



Edinburgh  United Kingdom



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Developmental Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for UK Students in Edinburgh

We have 11 Developmental Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for UK Students in Edinburgh

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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Precision Medicine DTP - Integrative single-cell transcriptomic to identify novel mediator of human blood progenitor proliferation

  Research Group: MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine
Background. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the most widely used cells for cell therapy because of their unique ability to reconstitute the entire blood and immune system upon transplantation. Read more

Precision Medicine DTP - Using single transcriptomic and genetic manipulation to investigate the cellular interaction in preneoplastic cell development niche

  Research Group: Centre for Inflammation Research
Additional Supervisor. Prof Thomas Otto [University of Glasgow]. Background. Tumourigenesis is initiated by a single cell acquiring an oncogenic mutation, which drives preneoplastic cell (PNC) development. Read more

Fitness effects of germline-specific DNA

  Research Group: Institute of Ecology & Evolution
Complex organisms, like ourselves, contain trillions of cells, each a little different in order to make skin, bones, blood and all the other tissues that make up our bodies. Read more

Factors affecting the extent and sources of canine hip dysplasia in different breeds of dogs

Funding. This PhD project is part of a competition funded by SRUC. This opportunity is open to UK and International students and provides funding to cover tuition fees at the UK rate, plus a stipend to support living costs. Read more

What makes a leaf: defining the genetic toolkit that underpins maize leaf development

  Research Group: Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences
In nature there is a remarkable diversity in organ shape which has captured the imagination of people throughout history. The leaves of plants are one of the most diverse and characteristic organs in nature and are hypothesised to form the basis of all floral organs too. Read more

Investigating the Role of Rho GTPases in Dendrite Patterning

  Research Group: Institute of Cell Biology
Dendrites are specialized compartments within neurons, responsible for receiving information. They form highly elaborate tree-like branch structures that play a crucial role in gathering and integrating information within the brain. Read more
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