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Biophysical principles of cellular self-organization

  • Full or part time
    Prof A Goryachev
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, January 05, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

A project in modelling self-organization and pattern formation inside biological cells is available in the group of Professor Andrew Goryachev ( The themes that the group works on include, but are not limited to, the following: self-organization of molecular motors and cytoskeleton, biomechanics of acto-myosin contractility, formation of intracellular gradients due to kinase-phosphatase opposition, reaction-diffusion patterns and waves on the plasma membrane, symmetry breaking and maintenance of cellular polarity. The projects are suitable for the graduates with interest in biomathematics, biomedical and biological physics.
The group works on the interface of soft matter physics, chemical kinetics and cell biology. The student will have an opportunity to learn science and methods of the above disciplines and acquire practical skills in the design of biological models, analytical analysis and numerical solution of reaction-diffusion and soft-matter physics partial differential problems. The student will receive training in nonlinear dynamical systems, bifurcation theory and stability analysis. With continuing coaching and guidance, the student is expected to read and interpret biological literature, construct models and perform their numerical simulation and analysis. The project offers an excellent opportunity for the students with background in mathematics, physical sciences and engineering to learn modern cell and developmental biology while contributing to the cutting-edge research, which is published in the high-profile journals. Depending on the student’s interests and specific project details, there exists an opportunity to learn laboratory skills in the labs of our collaborators.

The research focus in the Goryachev group ( is on understanding biophysical mechanisms of symmetry breaking in biological systems. Symmetry breaking manifests itself in a variety of dazzling biological phenomena and our aim is to improve their understanding via construction of predictive mechanistic models. We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic young people with the background in physical, life, computational sciences and engineering who are passionate about research.

Several types of competitive scholarships are available for the prospective PhD students at the University of Edinburgh. Depending on the topic, allied faculty from physics, mathematics and informatics departments are available to co-supervise the project.

Funding Notes

The “Visit Website” button on this page will take you to our Online Application checklist. Please complete each step and download the checklist which will provide a list of funding options and guide you through the application process.

If you would like us to consider you for one of our scholarships you must apply by 5 January 2020 at the latest.


1. I. Maryshev, D. Marenduzzo, A. Goryachev, A. Morozov, Kinetic theory of pattern-formation in mixtures of microtubules and molecular motors, Phys. Rev. E, 97(2), 022412 (2018).
2. M. Leda, A.J. Holland, A. Goryachev, Autoamplification and competition drive symmetry breaking: Initiation of centriole duplication by the PLK4-STIL network. iScience (2018).
3. A. Goryachev, M. Leda, Many roads to symmetry breaking: Molecular mechanisms and theoretical models of yeast cell polarity, Mol. Biol. Cell 28(3), 370 – 380 (2017).

How good is research at University of Edinburgh in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 109.70

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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