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Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

We have 659 Molecular Biology PhD Research Projects

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We have 659 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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Development of wild crop relative genetic resources to fine tune crop flowering time

Flax was domesticated for its seeds and fibre around 9,000 years ago and it has long been vital source of fibre and seed oil. Minor crops like flax are gaining attention to diversify farming in the UK and beyond to make agriculture more sustainable and resilient to global change challenges. Read more

Exploring a unique predator-prey relationship to uncover vulnerabilities in tuberculosis

Diseases caused by mycobacteria account for more deaths than any other infectious agent in the world. Sadly, rates of drug resistant infections are increasing, at a time where our diagnostic capacity has been hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Harnessing biopharmaceuticals from microorganisms

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
Background. Most of the bioactive molecules used in agriculture and medicine are made by microorganisms. For instance, Abamectin derives from actinomycete bacteria and is one of the most widely used insecticides in crop protection, with a global market of $938 million every year. Read more

A Tr(i)p to Chronic Pain

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
Chronic pain such as chronic arthritis pain is debilitating and disabling. In the UK, over one third of the population are afflicted with chronic pain, incurring enormous medical costs and loss of productivity and jobs in the workplace. Read more

Investigation of the effect of oxygen and temperature levels on E.coli K1 phages infection

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
The problem of antimicrobial resistance is nowadays major and the need to identify alternative methods to antibiotics to tackle bacterial pathogens is obvious. Read more

Isolation and characterization of novel microbial natural products that activate autophagy

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
Autophagy, which means ‘self-eating’, is an essential process that involves the degradation of cytoplasmic material. Cells use autophagy to generate materials and energy when conditions become unfavourable. Read more

Using single molecule super-resolution microscopy to reveal how bacteria remodel their cell wall

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
BACKGROUND. Bacteria are surrounded by a mesh-like cell wall which protects bacteria from bursting due to their high internal pressure of turgor pressure, like how a thick bicycle tyre supports and reinforces the inflated inner tube. Read more

Addressing carbon nanoparticles as delivery vehicles in plants

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
Our longer-term vision is to develop and validate carbon-based nanostructures as precision vehicles for delivering natural products for sustainable plant protection. Read more

Using structural biology to understand membrane proteins important in health and disease

  Research Group: Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP)
Membrane transporters and channels allow molecules and ions to cross cell membranes. Dysregulation of the proteins can lead to disease and inhibition of the proteins by pharmaceuticals can be exploited for drug discovery. Read more

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