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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 645 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

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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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Investigating novel Arabidopsis recombination mutants

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
Meiosis is a specialised cell division during sexual reproduction that is essential for fertility. It reduces chromosome numbers by half, so that haploid gametes are restored to normal ploidy levels upon fertilisation. Read more

Revival of the immortals: investigation of molecular mechanisms of mycobacterial resuscitation from dormancy

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant global challenge. It is estimated that nearly 10 million people will die from infection with multi-drug resistant bacteria by 2050 if novel antimicrobials are not introduced. Read more

Unravelling the role of interneurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

In ALS, motoneuron degeneration leads to muscle paralysis. Motoneurons are the final output of the brain since they directly connect to muscles, but their synchronized activation depends on networks of spinal interneurons. Read more

Control mechanisms of IDO1 in cancer cells

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1(IDO1) is a heme-containing enzyme involved in the degradation of tryptophan to kynurenine. Cancer cells upregulate IDO1 to escape normal immune response and, in many cases, a high expression of IDO1 is connected to poor prognosis. Read more

Impact of metal-based anticancer therapies on endogenous metal ion homeostasis

Metals are essential to life. Unlike organic biomolecules, metals cannot be synthesised or degraded in cells, and so the strict regulation of metal homeostasis (for example modulation of influx/efflux, compartmentalisation, and speciation) is critical to achieve correct cellular function. Read more

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