Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Loughborough University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes
PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health

PhD studentship opportunities in Mechanistic Research at the interface between Environment and Health

We are pleased to invite applications for 3-year PhD studentships in the MRC Centre for Environment and Health and two NIHR Health Protection Research Units in Environmental Exposures and Health and in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards.

Our mission is to train the next generation of scientist’s able to exploit analytical sciences and mechanistic laboratory-based research to establish the causal pathways by which environmental exposures lead to disease. Students are supported by a bespoke training programme to ensure they are equipped with the appropriate skills and experience.

We are seeking outstanding candidates for studentships in the following areas:

  • Air pollution and asthma: This project will explore the components within urban air pollution that aggravate asthma based on in vitro studies in primary human cells, linking the variable composition of urban particulate matter to adverse response pathways. We will also explore the potential role of vitamin D in mitigating against these harmful actions. Previous experience of flow cytometry, cell culture, molecular techniques, and a sound immunology background are desirable.
  • Environmental drivers of epigenetic ageing: Ageing is one of the principal risk factors for non-communicable diseases. It has been proposed that DNA methylation may represent a good predictor of age-related diseases and mortality risk and therefore in this study we wish to examine whether long-term exposure traffic-related air pollution promotes accelerated ageing. A strong background in molecular sciences and bioinformatics are desirable.
  • Drugs of misuse: This project will investigate new mass spectrometry analysis approaches for sensitive characterisation and monitoring of the misuse of fentanyl substances in complex biological matrices and in wastewater samples to estimate population misuse at scale. Previous experience of analytical chemistry, particularly separation science, mass spectrometry and R/Python coding are desirable.
  • Microplastic toxicity: Microplastics are an emerging component of concern within particulate air pollution, but there remain considerable uncertainties concerning their capacity to induce injury and inflammation in the lung. This project will investigate the adverse cellular and molecular responses following microplastic exposure in the human airway using in vitro human cell lines exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations. Experience in toxicology and cell culture is desirable.
  • Advanced material toxicity: New materials (advanced polymers, fibres, composites, nanomaterials) are constantly being developed and applied in products with the potential for human inhalation. Assessing their toxicity is an ever-growing issue. This project will use advanced aerosol-exposure air-liquid-interface systems to mimic the human respiratory systems, allied to, ‘omics and other analytical techniques to understand the hazard associated with new materials. Experience in cell culture and toxicology is desirable.
PhD studentship opportunities in Environment and Health

For more information, and instructions on how to apply, please visit

The MRC Centre and the NIHR HPRUs are committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment.

The closing date for applications is 31st May 2021, and studentships are expected to start no later than 1st October 2021.