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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 137 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

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Biological Sciences

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PhD Research Projects

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I am a UK student


We have 137 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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Structure and mechanism of the human mitochondrial citrate carrier

The mitochondrial citrate carrier is one of the most important transport proteins in mitochondria. The carrier imports malate, which is fed into the Krebs cycle, and exports citrate, for the synthesis of fatty acids, required for fat storage. Read more

Structure and mechanism of the human mitochondrial citrate carrier

The mitochondrial citrate carrier is one of the most important transport proteins in mitochondria. The carrier imports malate, which is fed into the Krebs cycle, and exports citrate, for the synthesis of fatty acids, required for fat storage. Read more

Mitochondrial transport proteins involved in the maturation of complex I

Complex I (NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase) is a ~1 MDa multimeric membrane-bound complex that couples the oxidation of NADH to the reduction of ubiquinone and the translocation of four protons. 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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