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Biomedical Engineering: Fully Funded Swansea and HMRI PhD Scholarship: Epigenomic and transcriptomic plasticity investigations of solid tumour cancers; computational frameworks for mapping temporal, intratumor phenotypes

   School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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  Prof P Rees  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Funding providers: Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering and the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI)

Subject areas: Biomedical engineering, computer science, medicine

Project start date: 

  • 1 October 2023 (Enrolment open from mid-September)

Project supervisors: 

  • Professor Paul Rees (Science and Engineering, Swansea)
  • Professor Huw Summers (Science and Engineering, Swansea)
  • Dr Lewis Francis (Medicine, Swansea)
  • Dr Jenny Chang (Houston Medical Research Institute)

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Biomedical Engineering

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description: 

Swansea University Faculty of Science and Engineering is pleased to advertise a fully funded joint PhD position in collaboration with the Houston Methodist Research Institute. The project aims to understand the microenvironment of cells in solid tumours and to assess the effect of therapeutic interventions on these cancers. The programme follows the existing, highly successful framework of collaborative PhDs developed under the strategic alliance between Swansea University and the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI).

The first year of the PhD will be spent at Swansea University where the student will develop the skills required to analyse single cells in tumours using different measurement modalities including fluorescence microscopy, single cell transcriptomics etc. This will require the use of cutting edge machine learning algorithms to identify the cell types and investigate cell-cell signalling pathways. The student will also be exposed to cell culture techniques including 3D spheroid models and become familiar with drug development and therapeutic mechanism of action analysis pipelines.

The second and third year the student will be based in Dr Jenny Chang’s lab in HMRI. During which time the student will use the skills developed to analyse tumour spheroids (including from patient derived cells) to assess the perturbation of the cells, their signalling pathways and their environment due to novel biologic agents to help find new treatments.

While in Houston the student will benefit from the expertise of academic staff and clinicians and are facilitated in the development of the skills required to establish networks with surrounding hospitals, academic institutions, and biotech companies. The student will also receive further professional growth support, through the Methodist Association for Postdoctoral and Trainee Affairs, a student-governed association for translational science research trainees. They support postdoctoral fellows, graduate trainees, medical students, and other translational science research trainees with education, networking, intramural activities, as well as career development and advancement opportunities.

The final six months will be spent back at Swansea to complete the writing of the PhD thesis and finish the preparation of publications for submission from the work.


Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University) in Engineering or similar relevant science discipline. We also welcome applications from graduates in computational science or mathematics.

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with at least 5.5 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.


Please note that the programme requires some applicants to hold ATAS clearance, further details on ATAS scheme eligibility are available on the UK Government website.

ATAS clearance IS NOT required to be held as part of the scholarship application process, successful award winners (as appropriate) are provided with details as to how to apply for ATAS clearance in tandem with scholarship course offer.

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend at UKRI rate (currently £17,668 for 2022/23).
Additional research expenses will also be available.

Open days

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