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We have 170 Cancer Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for European Students (exc UK) in the UK



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Cancer Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for European Students (exc UK) in the UK

We have 170 Cancer Biology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships for European Students (exc UK) in the UK

A PhD in Cancer Biology would provide you with the opportunity to research a specific cancer in great detail. Whether you’re developing a new treatment, understanding the factors that allow a tumour to arise or innovating better diagnostic tests, you’ll be improving our understanding of cancer and saving lives.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Cancer Biology?

Doing a PhD in Cancer Biology, you’ll develop excellent laboratory skills, particularly in cell culture, working with RNA and studying the proteome. Most Cancer Biology projects link to other subjects and as such, you’ll have experience working with techniques from Cell Biology, Immunology and Genetics.

Some typical research topics in Cancer Biology include:

  • Developing novel diagnostic tests
  • Understanding a potential trigger of metastasis
  • Developing novel therapeutics to treat a specific cancer
  • The immune system and cancer interactions
  • Characterising the role of a specific tumour suppressor or oncogene in a certain cancer

Generally, Cancer Biology programmes are advertised on the university website with the research proposal, including the scope and primary aim of the research pre-determined by the supervisor. These projects are usually fully-funded.

It’s uncommon to propose your own research in Cancer Biology since the additional bench fees make self-funding difficult. It can also be tricky to find a supervisor with the interests that line up well with your suggested project that also have the equipment and expertise to supervise you through your PhD.

In your daily life you’ll be in the laboratory conducting experiments, reading the literature for new methods you could try, analysing old data, and talking to colleagues and your supervisor about your work. In the final year of your PhD you’ll submit a thesis of around 60,000 words that will contribute to the knowledge of your field and you’ll defend your work during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Cancer Biology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, with at least a Merit or Distinction. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Cancer Biology funding options

The Research Council responsible for funding Cancer Biology PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

It’s uncommon for Cancer Biology PhD students to be ‘self-funded’ due to the additional bench fees. However, if you were planning to fund yourself it might be achievable (depending on your project) through the UK government’s PhD loan and part-time work.

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Obtaining insights into how a signalling hub protein Ras activates multiple effectors

The RAS family of small GTPases act as signalling hubs regulating cell proliferation and differentiation. They are highly conserved from yeast to humans, highlighting their fundamental biological roles. Read more

Revealing Reactivity in Cancer-Associated Heme Proteins: Novel Time-Resolved Structural Approaches

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) is a heme-containing enzyme involved in the degradation of tryptophan to kynurenine. Cancer cells upregulate IDO1 to escape normal immune responses and, in many cases, a high expression of IDO1 is connected to poor prognosis. Read more

Structural-guided PROTAC targeting of BMX to modulate apoptotic sensitivity in disease

What determines at the molecular level whether a cell lives or dies? Regulation of the cellular life–death switch is essential in healthy cells for normal foetal development and for the clearance of damaged cells. Read more

Molecular characterization of Sam68-driven cytoskeletal reorganization

The cytoskeleton is a complex network of various fibres (microtubules, actin, …) that is essential for cells to maintain their shape and internal organization and for their migration. Read more

New disease prevention strategies targeting BK polyomavirus infection informed by whole-genome CRISPR-knockout screening and/or apical extrusion.

BK virus is a ubiquitous childhood infection that persists in the kidney throughout adult life. BK virus reactivation under immunosuppression is responsible for one third of kidney transplant failures and a three-fold greater risk of bladder cancer in kidney transplant recipients. Read more


This project will work in partnership with health care professionals, patients, carers, and community members to design for the local context community training, based on the principles of community education, improved knowledge, attitudes, and reduced stigma. Read more

Next-generation nanoparticle functionalisation for selective delivery to brain tumours

A nanoparticle is a small particle that ranges between 1 to 100 nanometres in size, less than the width of a single human hair. Undetectable by the human eye, nanoparticles can exhibit significantly different physical and chemical properties to their larger material counterparts. Read more

Exploring the role of MYBL2 in Replication stress

The aim of the proposed project is to investigate the potential direct function of MYBL2 during DNA replication and DNA damage response using a cell-free system that recapitulates a whole round of DNA replication in vitro. Read more

BBSRC NLD Doctoral Training Partnership: How does the location of a redox signal determine how cells respond?

Project Summary. This iCASE BBSRC DTP studentship provides an exciting opportunity to use a diverse range of cutting-edge techniques, and exploit the advantages of different model systems, to elucidate new cell signalling mechanisms that protect against ageing/age-associated diseases. Read more

BBSRC NLD Doctoral Training Partnership: How can proteins sense micro-scale membrane topography?

We are seeking a highly motivated student keen to do molecular cell biology research in a hitherto unexplored regulatory mechanism – how proteins (nanoscale) can sense microscale changes in cell membrane topography/shape? [1,2].The control of protein localisation at the cell membrane is key to cell signalling. Read more

BBSRC NLD Doctoral Training Partnership: How hypoxia regulates the histone methylation cycle, role of the MAT2 complex

Our research will explore how hypoxia, a state of reduced oxygen availability, influences the intricate world of epigenetics. At the heart of this exploration lies the Methionine Adenosyltransferases (MATs) and their product, S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a key methyl donor in cells. Read more

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