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Structural, functional and molecular changes at the human peripheral retina

   School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

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  Dr I Lengyel, Dr R Hogg, Dr Richard Gault  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project


The major aim of this study is to explore the relationship between structural, functional and molecular changes at the human peripheral retina using state of the art clinical imaging and functional testing, supplemented by molecule characterisation using cadaveric eyes.

Peripheral retinal abnormalities are well accepted to contribute to disease pathogenesis and ultra-widefield imaging (UWFI) is now a routine clinical imaging modality. It is, however significantly less well understood, how these peripheral retinal changes develop and how they affect vision despite it is gradually becoming clear that these changes can be used as markers for disease progression. This suggests that peripheral retinal changes could become specific and selective markers for testing the effectiveness of treatment. During this PhD program the student will:

1)   conduct a detailed evaluation of a newly developed combined LSO-OCT and how the newly acquired multimodal retinal images can improve our understanding of peripheral retinal changes.

2)   optimize grading protocols for peripheral retinal changes to enhance our ability to conduct better clinical research as well as clinical trials and will work with experts on AI approaches for retinal image analysis.

3)   improve our understanding of how peripheral retinal changes are correlated with retinal function in vivo and molecular changes in vitro, to develop new ways to design clinic studies. 

Stipend: As this project is in partnership with Optos Plc the successful candidate will receive an additional £2000 per annum on top of the confirmed DfE stipend for 2022/23. 

Funding eligibility: ROI (and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status) may be eligible for funding. Please review the DfE T&C’s.


You must hold or expect to get an upper second class honours degree from a university in the UK or Ireland, or qualifications and experience considered by the University as equivalent to that standard. Candidates who already hold a doctoral degree, or who have registered on a PhD for one year (or part-time equivalent) or not eligible.

English Language

Candidates applying from countries where the first language is not English should produce evidence of their competence through a qualification such as IELTS or TOEFL score.

The minimum recommended score for the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science is:

·        IELTS score of 6.0 with not less than 5.5 in each of the four component elements of listening, reading, speaking and writing taken within the last 2 years;

·        TOEFL score of 80+ (internet basted test), taken within the last 2 years, with minimum component scores of; Listening 17, Reading 18, Speaking 20, Writing 17);

·        A valid Certificate of Proficiency in English grade A or B;

·        A valid Certificate of Advanced English grade A; or

·        A first or upper second class honours degree from a university based in the UK, Republic of Ireland or other suitably quality assured location in a country deemed by the UK Border Agency to be majority English speaking.

For a list of English Language qualifications also accepted by the School and University please see the following link:


INTO Queen’s English Language Courses offers both pre-sessional and in-sessional courses in English for academic purposes and study skills. Courses vary in length and full information can be obtained at: https://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/Applying/University-Preparation-Courses/INTOEnglishlanguagecoursesatQueens/

Funding Notes

Funded by the Department for the Economy and Optos Plc. For UK domiciled students the value of an award includes the cost of approved tuition fees and maintenance support (Fees £4,596, Stipend £17,668). To be considered eligible you must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for the full 3 year period prior to the start of the studentship and you must be ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland on the first day of the start of the studentship. For further information about eligibility criteria please refer to the DfE Postgraduate Studentship Terms and Conditions 2021-22 at https://go.qub.ac.uk/dfeterms


Please visit the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences, Centre for Experimental Medicine, website for further details about the Centre:
Please click on the 'Apply Now' button to apply.
When applying, please choose 'MEDICINE' as your subject area/School
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