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PhD Studentship in Cell and Molecular Biosciences – Replication and Segregation of the Human Mitochondrial Genome

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Number of awards:


Start date and duration:

23 September 2019. The funding covers a 3 Year PhD.

Application closing date:

Applications will be considered until a suitable candidate is found.


The mitochondria of mammalian cells possess their own small but essential genome, mtDNA. Each cell contains several thousand copies of mtDNA, distributed throughout the mitochondrial network. Defects in mtDNA replication and maintenance are a major cause of human mitochondrial diseases, for which no viable treatments currently exist. Work in the lab seeks to understand how mtDNA is replicated, how the replicated molecules are resolved and then distributed within human cells, and how defects in these processes underlie human disease. For this we use a variety of molecular, biochemical and microscopy techniques, and work closely with our clinical colleagues. For further reading see Mol Cell (2018); 69(1): 9-23, or Trends Biochem Sci (2018); 43(11): 869-881.

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic student to study how human mtDNA is resolved and segregated following replication, and to identify and characterise novel factors involved in these processes. The work will predominantly utilise cultured human cells, as well as purified proteins for biochemical experiments. The project offers training in a variety of molecular biology, biochemical, proteomic and microscopy techniques. The project is based at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research within Newcastle University (, which works to transform the lives of patients with mitochondrial diseases. The Centre has an active postgraduate student population and offers state of the art facilities. The integration of basic scientific and clinical work at the Centre also provides great opportunities for collaborative study into the molecular basis of mitochondrial disease.


Newcastle University (

Name of supervisor(s):

Dr T Nicholls, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences (

Eligibility Criteria:

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, biomedical sciences or a related area. A further qualification such as an MSc or MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to UK/EU and international applicants.

To study this course you need to meet the following English Language requirements: IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills).

How to apply:

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’ (

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:
•insert the programme code 8300F* in the programme of study section
•select ‘PhD in the Faculty of Medical Sciences – Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences as the programme of study
•insert the studentship code CB153 in the studentship/partnership reference field
•attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code CB153 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
•attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Funding Notes

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and annual living expenses of £14,777 (full award subject to confirmation for 2019/20). Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

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