What’s it like to do a PhD in Cell Biology?
A PhD in Cell Biology would allow you to gain an array of laboratory skills, most notably in cell culture, which is essential to any Cell Biology project. You’ll also use classic laboratory methods such as immunoassays, chromatography, and fluorescence assays.
Some typical research topics in Cell Biology include:
- Understanding cell trafficking
- Stem cell biology
- Investigating the plasma membrane of a certain cell type
- Comparing cells from a diseased and non-diseased state
- Investigating the cell cycle
- Understanding cell communication
- Investigating the regulation and consequences of programmed cell death
Day-to-day you’ll be performing experiments in the laboratory, creating graphs, analysing previously collected data, and discussing your work with your supervisor and colleagues. At the end of the final year of your project, you’ll submit a thesis of approximately 60,000 words and defend this during your viva exam.
Cell Biology programmes are most commonly advertised positions with full funding attached, meaning the general scope and goals of the work have been determined by the supervisor in advance and you apply to the project.
Writing a research proposal and suggesting your own research topic is uncommon in Cell Biology. As with most subjects within Biology, additional bench fees are required, which makes finding independent funding difficult.