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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 130 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

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I am a UK student


We have 130 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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Rethinking evolution in self-fertilising species

  Research Group: Institute of Evolutionary Biology
A major goal of evolution is to understand how selection acts in the genome. Many species reproduce via self-fertilisation, where individuals produce both male and female gametes that can be used to produce offspring. Read more
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Bovine-adapted Staphylococcus aureus virulence traits and impact on mastitis

An exciting research opportunity is available, comprising a four-year Ph.D. scholarship. The project is part of an international collaborative network between Teagasc, University College Dublin, University of Nottingham and The Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy. Read more

PhD Molecular Cell Biology, Genome Editing, Leiden

The position. This PhD fellowship aims to investigate how to increase the efficiency and precision of genomic engineering of human cells by leveraging advanced viral vector and gene editing technologies. Read more

A structural model of fungal cell walls for screening of anti-fungal drugs

About this scholarship. Supervisor. Dr Evelyne Deplazes. This project aims to develop a cell-free, structural model of fungal cell walls to accelerate the development of new antifungal drugs. Read more

PhD studentship in experimental biophysics: New biophysical approaches for mechanistic studies of DNA motors

DNA motors are protein machines that use energy from ATP hydrolysis to move along DNA. They perform a variety of functions each of which is essential to service DNA and maintain its integrity. Read more

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