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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 448 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

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I am a self funded student


We have 448 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

Studying a PhD in Molecular Biology would provide you with the chance to guide your own research project. With a strong link to Cell Biology, Molecular Biology projects revolve around understanding the composition, structure, and interaction of molecules within the cell that control its function. These are generally laboratory-based projects.

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

As a PhD student in Molecular Biology, you’ll develop extensive laboratory skills including DNA sequencing, expression cloning, gene knockout, and DNA or protein arrays. Your understanding of the range of techniques available to you will continually improve as you’ll read the latest publications in the field.

Some typical research topics in Molecular Biology include:

  • Understanding the role of a certain protein within a cell
  • Investigating DNA repair mechanisms and potential faults
  • Studying the difference in post-translational modifications in response to stimuli
  • Development of novel therapeutics
  • Investigating how proteins act differently in a disease
  • Studying DNA replication

A majority of Molecular Biology projects are proposed in advance by the supervisor and are advertised on the university website. Some of these projects are fully-funded by the university or a doctoral training programme, while others require you to self-fund.

Suggesting a project for yourself is uncommon in Molecular Biology, due to the challenge of finding funding to cover PhD and bench fees, as well as having to find a supervisor with suitable equipment and research interests to support your project.

Day-to-day, you’ll be in the laboratory preparing or conducting experiments, analysing previous data, creating figures, and writing up the results, alongside quick chats with your colleagues and supervisors about your work.

In the final year of your PhD, you’ll complete an original thesis of approximately 60,000 words in length and give an oral defence of this during a viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Molecular 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 Molecular Biology funding options

The research council responsible for funding Molecular 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 uncommon for Molecular 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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Cancer epigenetics PhD project

Broad Project Summary. Cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Epigenetic changes are now recognised as a hallmark feature of cancer, but our understanding of factors that are responsible for tumour spread still remains limited. Read more

Utilisation of microalgae for sustainable biotechnology

  Research Group: Ecology and Evolution
Microalgae are a diverse group of photosynthetic freshwater or marine microorganisms that are widely studied with regard to their ecology or as model organisms in biological research. Read more

Geological Fate and Impact of Isosaccharinic acid (Geo-FISA)

About the Project. The nuclear fuel cycle has generated higher-level radioactive wastes that will be disposed of in a deep geological facility (GDF) that will provide multiple barriers to the migration of radionuclides to the surface over prolonged timescales (tens of thousands of years). Read more

Geological Fate and Impact of Isosaccharinic acid (Geo-FISA)

About the Project. The nuclear fuel cycle has generated higher-level radioactive wastes that will be disposed of in a deep geological facility (GDF) that will provide multiple barriers to the migration of radionuclides to the surface over prolonged timescales (tens of thousands of years). Read more

Control of antibiotic production through synthetic biology of bacterial hormone signalling

There is an urgent need for new antibiotics due to an increase in antibiotic resistance. To produce these essential drugs efficiently in biotechnological systems, we need to have a better understanding of the regulatory mechanisms of antibiotic production. Read more

Developing nanotreatments for diabetes

We are a clinical and experimental lab at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences & Imperial College London. Our research investigates new mechanisms and treatments for human obesity and diabetes using high-throughput molecular screening in patients and targeted hypothesis testing in experimental systems. Read more

Synthetic Biology

  Research Group: Synthetic Biology
We are a synthetic biology lab at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences & Imperial College London. We love high-throughput assays, protein engineering, light-based biotechnologies and automation, and work in several research directions, both basic and applied. Read more

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