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Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology

Wellcome Four Year PhD Programme in Integrative Cell Mechanisms

Training the next generation of molecular cell biologists

University of Edinburgh

Application deadline: Wednesday 9 December 2020

The Wellcome Four Year PhD Programme in Integrative Cell Mechanisms (iCM) is closely associated with the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology ( and trains the next generation of cell and molecular biologists in the application of quantitative methods to understand the inner workings of distinct cell types in different settings. This PhD programme combines scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment and transition support for trainees. We are committed to being part of an evolving community of practitioners who will develop and share practice to bring science and culture together.

iCM PhD projects are cross-disciplinary involving two primary supervisors with complementary expertise. Supervisor partnerships pair quantitative scientists with cell biologists ensuring that students develop pioneering cross-disciplinary collaborative projects to uncover cellular mechanisms relevant to health and disease.

Applications are encouraged from individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who have studied a variety of subjects including Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Cell Biology, Chemistry, Computational Data Sciences, Engineering, Genetics, Mathematics, Molecular Biology and Physics. Students will be trained to adapt, broaden and apply their skill set to the understanding of cellular mechanisms of biomedical importance.

iCM will foster a culture of change by endeavouring to recruit cohorts with individuals from a range of backgrounds to promote awareness of the value of having diversity in all areas. Peer support within and between cohorts is embedded into the learning and cultural aspects of iCM through activities such as discussion-centred core modules and cohort-led public engagement projects. Frequent mentoring and career development meetings will encourage early thesis and career planning and identify any issues promptly, allowing timely engagement with a wide range of support services and guidance to manage challenges.

Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology

Copyright University of Edinburgh

Programme Details

First year students will undertake introductory core learning modules and three mini-projects aligned with the projects on offer. Core learning modules will include technique workshops and training in critical thinking via interactive tutorial-style courses led by programme supervisors. Further training continues concurrently with PhD study.

Full time research for the PhD begins in February of the first year and will be conducted in a research group that hosted one of the mini-projects. Students will be primarily embedded in research groups with a strong track record in dissecting cellular mechanisms ranging from anti-microbial resistance, stochastic heterogeneity, epigenetic and chromatin-based regulation, control of gene expression, non-coding RNA and RNA processing, chromosome structure and segregation, cell-cycle and cell growth regulation.


Funding is provided for four years and includes a generous student stipend, tuition fees, research costs, travel and training. A unique feature of the Wellcome PhD Programmes in Science is the provision of transition funding, available to students after thesis submission, for training or further work experience.

How to Apply

For application form and further information about the PhD Programme visit the programme website:

Applications from members of groups under-represented in STEM are particularly encouraged.

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