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Genetic variants associated with multiple diseases

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

As increasing numbers of genetic associations are discovered, it is becoming clear that some genetic variants are associated with more than one or human phenotype (including disease phenotypes). For example, the supervisory team has recently discovered genetic variants associated with respiratory disease and inflammatory diseases (Shrine et al, Nature Genetics in press).

These associations have important implications for the development of treatments. Since genetic variants can mimic the effect of drugs, such associations help us to understand opportunities to repurpose drugs (to treat diseases other than their initial use). When in opposite directions, such associations can provide warnings about potential side-effects of drugs. Furthermore, variants associated with more than one disease can help us to understand the causes of development of multimorbidity to inform more effective prevention and management.

You will join the Genetic Epidemiology Group, led by Prof. Martin Tobin. The group comprises 27 staff and students and has hosted award-winning PhD students and externally funded early career fellows. You will have an opportunity to learn techniques for genome-wide association studies and phenome-wide association studies, analyse linked healthcare data alongside study-collected data and contribute to new discoveries informing future drug development. You will be expected to attend internal and external training opportunities, conferences and meetings to develop statistical genetic and broader academic skills that underpin subsequent postdoctoral career development.

Entry requirements

Applicants are required to hold/or expect to obtain a UK Bachelor Degree 2:1 (or overseas equivalent) or better in a relevant subject. The University of Leicester English language requirements apply where applicable:

How to apply

You should submit your application using our online application system:

Apply for a PhD in Health Sciences

In the funding section of the application please indicate you wish to be considered for a CLS Studentship

In the proposal section please provide the name of the supervisor and project you want to be considered for.

Project / Funding Enquiries:

Professor Martin Tobin: or telephone: 0116 2297270

Application enquiries to

Funding Notes

• Fees - full-time registration covering full UK/EU tuition fees for three years

• Stipend - an annual tax-free stipend equivalent to UK Research Council rates (For 2018/19 the stipend amount is £14,777)

• Research Training Support Grant - a research training support grant (including travel allowance) of £1,300 pa


Shrine et al biorxiv 2018 (, Nature Genetics (in press)

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