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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 1,128 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects



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I am a self funded student

We have 1,128 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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Elucidating the impact of adherent-invasive E. coli on the microbiome and gut epithelium in Crohn’s disease (SCHULLER_U23MMB)

Crohn’s Disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder affecting > 120,000 people in the UK. It is often diagnosed in young adulthood, and symptoms include chronic abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and weight loss. Read more

Characterising natural transformation in bacterial pathogens (EVANS_U23MMB)

Bacteria reproduce by binary fission, where one parent cell splits into two daughter cells. While this enables very fast reproduction, it limits the evolutionary rate and landscape as cells can only change through mutation or rearrangement of their existing genetic material. Read more

Investigating the mechanisms of action of intracellular anaerobic pathogens on human host cancer cell metabolic networks (BREWER_U23MMB)

Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second most common cancer in men worldwide and ~307,000 men die every year. We know that infectious agents, such as bacteria and viruses, are involved in the development of a variety of cancers such as cervical, stomach, and bladder cancer. Read more

Brain structural plasticity, degeneration and regeneration: from molecules to behaviour

Brain structural plasticity, degeneration and regeneration. from molecules to behaviour. The aim of the project is to discover and test candidate molecular mechanisms underlying structural brain plasticity, degeneration and regeneration, and the link between molecules, structural cell change, circuits and behaviour. Read more

Self-Navigating Nanocarriers for Intracellular Protein Delivery

Protein-based therapeutics have shown remarkable success in modulating extracellular targets; however, effective intracellular delivery remains a key challenge in biotherapeutics. Read more

Viral manipulation of host cell biology for assembly, secretion and immune evasion

This project will investigate mechanisms of assembly, secretion and immune subversion adopted by (+)RNA viruses, with a particular emphasis on Dengue/Zika from the flavivirus and SARS-CoV-2 from the coronavirus families. Read more

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