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Mathematical modelling of phagocytosis – PhD (Funded)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, April 30, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project will use mathematical and computational modelling to help understand phagocytosis, the process by which immune cells seek, engulf and destroy foreign particles such as invading bacteria. This fascinating subject is still not well understood and has numerous applications to important medical conditions and the design of new types of drugs.
You will join the multidisciplinary group of Dr David Richards, which specialises in studying the fundamental processes involved in phagocytosis by using a combined experimental-modelling approach. See the group website ( for more information.

You will carry out an exciting project to develop (i) mathematical and computational models of phagocytosis and (ii) automated image analysis of time-lapse movies of phagocytic engulfment. Research questions will include how the shape and orientation of the target affect phagocytosis, which factors determine the shape of the phagocytic cup, and the role played by actin during uptake.
Applicants should have relevant quantitative expertise, and as such this project is likely to be best suited to students from mathematics, physics, chemistry, computing, biophysics or natural sciences. Experience of programming in at least one language (such as MATLAB, Python or C++) would be advantageous.

This award provides annual funding to cover UK/EU tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay UK/EU tuition fees, the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £15,009 per year tax-free stipend. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee and no stipend.
For more information, please contact Dr David Richards (, +44 (0)1392 727483).

Funding Notes

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students, the studentship will cover UK/EU tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £15,009 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study. The student will be based in The Living Systems at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

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