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Genetic Engineering (cell therapy) PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

We have 9 Genetic Engineering (cell therapy) PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

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We have 9 Genetic Engineering (cell therapy) PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships

Studying a PhD in Genetic Engineering would give you the time and resources to lead your own research project, based around modifying genetics. You’ll likely be genetically altering human, plant or yeast cells to attempt to prevent disease, improve yield or produce a biological product for industry. Almost all of these projects are laboratory based.

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.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Genetic Engineering 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 Genetic Engineering funding options

The research council responsible for funding Genetic Engineering 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 Genetic Engineering 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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Self funded BMS Project: Understanding the population dynamics of haematopoietic stem cells during gene therapy for sickle cell disease

Applications accepted for PhD Only. Background. This project builds on the recent discovery that whole genome sequencing approaches in blood stem and progenitor cells can be used to estimate the number of actively contributing blood stem cells in humans (Lee-Six et al., Nature 2018). Read more

MRC DiMeN Doctoral Training Partnership: Gene therapy for Osteogenesis imperfecta

Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) is a group of rare heritable connective tissue disorders, affecting 1 in 15,000 live births. 85-90% of OI cases are due to pathogenic variants in genes encoding Collagen I (COL1A1/A2). Read more

Investigating the role of the microenvironment in paediatric and adult acute myeloid leukaemia

The incidence of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) increases with age, and in childhood accounts for 20% of all leukaemia. The current overall survival rate in children is only 60-70%, and thereafter falls progressively with age to 5-15% in the elderly. Read more
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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

Unravelling the role of interneurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

In ALS, motoneuron degeneration leads to muscle paralysis. Motoneurons are the final output of the brain since they directly connect to muscles, but their synchronized activation depends on networks of spinal interneurons. Read more

Understanding therapeutic resistance mechanisms in pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic cancer, or pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), kills over 430,000 people every year. It is one of the deadliest epithelial malignancies, and both incidence and mortality are rising. Read more
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