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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 645 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

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I am a UK student


We have 645 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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Evidence and impact of parasite spillover across pollinator communities

Lead supervisor. Dr Peter Graystock (p.graystock@imperial.ac.uk). Co-supervisors. Professor William Hughes, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex; Professor Dave Goulson, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex. Read more

Development of a multi-antigenic mRNA vaccine for Glioblastoma

Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain tumour with the median survival time of ~15 months and the 5 year survival rates for those over 50 at a mere 6% (American Cancer Society). Read more

Engineering Biology: Bespoke designer enzymes

  Research Group: Institute of Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Protein engineering and design is moving beyond simply designing for structure. Many fundamental questions have been answered, and we are now at the point where we can begin to design for not just structure, but also function. Read more

Engineering Biology: Molecules to Organisms

  Research Group: Institute of Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology
This project seeks to engineer ubiquitin ligases, such that they recognise proteins from pathogenic fungi as their substrates. By ubiquitinylating the fungal proteins, we will target them for degradation, and thus protect the plant from infection. Read more

Demystifying the activation mechanism of Glucagon-Like Peptide Receptor 1

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship. The glucagon-like peptide receptor (GLP-1R) is a validated target for type 2 diabetes (T2D). Read more

MicroRNA networks in skin inflammation

Are you interested in skin immunology and inflammation and/or post-transcriptional gene regulation? Do you want to pursue a PhD in an environment supported by a supervisory team including immunologists (. Read more

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