Biosciences

Our research ranges across the biological sciences, from the understanding of precisely how neurons grow, to the mechanisms of cancer and other diseases, the molecular basis of animal and plant development and exploring the genetics of orang-utans, elephants, pandas and other endangered species.

Research is led by internationally renowned researchers running dynamic research programmes, with access to a range of state-of-the-art technology facilities. Our reputation is reflected in the tens of millions of pounds in research funding that we attract annually and by our consistent high level of publications in top international journals. We encourage high-level interdisciplinary collaborations, both nationally and internationally.

We are ranked 13th in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. In this assessment 60% of our research was deemed ‘outstanding’ for its impact in terms of its reach and significance.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time, part-time
Qualification PhD, MPhil, MD
Full-time duration PhD: 3-4 years; MD: 2 years; MPhil: 1-2 years
Part-time duration PhD: 7 years; MD: 5 years; MPhil: 5 years
Start dates January, April, July, October

PhD

Students will train in internationally renowned laboratories under full supervision to complete a high-level research project.

Our excellent seminar, skills and training programme at Cardiff University provides a fully tailored and vibrant research culture to ensure your professional development and employability.

MD

The School offers laboratory-based research degrees to recognised graduates of Medicine that focus on a specific clinical research topic to make an original contribution to medical knowledge. As an MD student, you will receive a high level of supervision and access to specialist research skills training.

MPhil

MPhil research offers a shorter and more focused project than studying for a PhD. An MPhil degree offers students an opportunity to build on previous academic and professional experience to develop research skills. MPhil students are actively involved in work at the cutting edge of all research activities.

We offer supervision and/or research projects in the following areas:

  • Molecular Biosciences
  • Biomedicine
  • Organisms and Environment
  • Cancer
  • Engineering Living Systems
  • Mechanisms of Life and Disease
  • Neuroscience
  • Sustainable Planet
  • New Technologies.

Research areas

Biomedicine

Biomedicine is a research area within which you can focus your studies as part of our suite of Biosciences research programmes.

Molecular Biosciences

Molecular Biosciences focuses on the molecular mechanisms underpinning biological function.

Neuroscience

The Neuroscience division pursues a broad range of neurobiological research, spanning from the molecular to the behavioural levels.

Organisms and Environment

The Organisms and Environment research division focuses on the biology of whole organisms and their roles and interactions in changing ecosystems, in infection and health and at the genetic level.

Research projects

We currently have a range of projects available to apply for within the School of Biosciences, some of which are offered as part of our range of DTP involvements.

Structural analysis of receptors for insecticidal toxins

Insecticidal toxins produced by bacteria such as Bacillus thuringiensis and Lysinibacillus sphaericus are the active agents in these important biological pesticides and can also be exploited in the production of insect-resistant transgenic plants.

The gut microbiota continuum - what does it mean for the host?

This project will explore and measure basic parameters of three groups of individuals, which fall at the extremes of this continuum and in the middle.

Developing a 3rd generation sequencing based method for identification of bacteria without culturing

There are many instances in which we need to identify bacteria, but are unable to grow them in the laboratory, for example, urinary tract infections, wound infections and bacterial vaginosis.

Molecular mechanisms of phenotype determination in BNST forebrain neurons

The complexity of adult brain function is largely met by the networking of a multitude of neurons, but there is also a requirement for different types of neuron.

The functional proteome of the microbiome and its role in endotoxin modulation

Inflammatory disease such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, are all increasing in the global population, as are many other non-communicable diseases.

Detection of outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) in common gut bacteria and fecal samples

The role of bacteria and microbes in cancer has received considerable attention due to the involvement of Helicobacter pylori and viruses such as HPV, EBV and Hep B and C.

Cytoplasmic RNA regulation in cell motility

This project will investigate how cytoplasmic RNA regulation impacts on cell motility and immune function, by studying conserved RNA-binding proteins and their interactions with candidate mRNAs.

Protein interactions in the regulation of a model cell differentiation program

Cell differentiation programs drive the production of specialised tissues from progenitor cells during animal development.

Role of the lysosome, and the lysosomal protein NPC1 in the pathogenesis and treatment of Mycobacteriumtuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a chronic disease that in it’s latent form affects approximately one third of the worlds population with an estimated 10 million new cases and 1.5 million deaths per year.

Firing dynamics of thalamic and cortical neural networks during absence epilepsy

Epilepsy is one of the most serious and widespread neurological diseases, which affect about 1% of the population.

A Synthetic Reaction-Diffusion System for Engineering Patterning and Self-Organisation in Plant Stem Cells

Reaction-diffusion systems are employed in biology to establish patterns associated with the formation of distinct tissues and organs at the multicellular scale.

Transcriptional landscaping in plant stem cells: from chromatin to gene regulatory networks

Agriculture depends on the activity of meristems – small populations of pluripotent stem cells from which all major plant tissues and organs are produced.

Plasticity of visual information processing and the consequences of neurodevelopmental disorders

The aim of this project is to identify specific cellular mechanisms by which developmental or genetic defects translate into visual or neurological condition.

Characterisation of microRNAs regulated by dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid in macrophages in relation to atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of myocardial infarction, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, is responsible for more deaths in the western world than any other disease with mortality increasing at a marked rate in developing countries.

Novel water treatments for zoonotic pathogen Cryptosporidium

This interdisciplinary project will combine the novel method of water treatment using microwaves with state-of-art Cryptospordium culturing.

Developmental and molecular analysis of sperm production in Drosophila

This project links developmental biology and determination of cell fate, through transcriptional controls that interpret that cell fate decision and control differentiation to evolution and optimisation of reproductive function.

Examining the programming of offspring behaviour by maternal diet and abnormal maternal care

There is a well-defined association between early life adversity (either prenatally or in early childhood) and significantly poorer outcomes for children.

Tackling antibiotic resistance by combining synthetic biology and nanotechnology: development of new biosensing systems

This project will bridge the areas of synthetic biology and nanotechnology to address the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Developing plants as an expression system for mammalian ion channels

The aim of this project is to develop plant expression systems for eukaryotic membrane proteins, focusing on the P2X receptor family of ATP-gated ion channels.

How can we engineer more robust plants? Smart genetic screens and advanced imaging strategies to understand the cellular basis of plant growth under normal and stress conditions

This project aims to study and understand molecular mechanisms that link stress to the stopping of cell division and attempt to identify mutants that can uncouple these processes.

Funding

The majority of our PhD students are funded through the Research Council UK DTP studentships (such as NERC GW4+; BBSRC SWBio; MRC Biomed,  EPSRC DTP), Cancer Research UK, Wellcome Trust Integrative Neuroscience PhD programmes, School and institutional funded studentships, overseas cultural embassies, Commonwealth Scholarships and charities.

Some PhD students are self-funded, and we encourage self-funded students to apply.

Name Deadline
BBSRC SWBio Doctoral Training Partnership PhD projects in the School of Biosciences 4 December 2017
GW4 BioMed MRC Doctoral Training Partnership PhD projects in the School of Biosciences 24 November 2017
KESS2 PhD in Biosciences: Diagnosing and mitigating the adverse effects of extreme winter climate on salmonid spawning 9 November 2017
NERC GW4 Doctoral Training Partnership PhD projects in the School of Biosciences 7 January 2018

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU (2017/18)

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Applicants are asked to hand in a research proposal alongside their application.

If you are applying for an advertised project, there is no requirement of submitting a research proposal – instead please submit a statement of support.

Note: Students must submit evidence of funding wherever possible, especially when funded by external sponsors.

A 1st or Upper 2nd class UK honours degree or equivalent is usually required. MSc/MPhil for PhD Programme.

Suitable for graduates in biological and related sciences, including anatomy, physiology and pathology, aural and oral sciences, biomedical sciences, biology, chemistry, computer science and informatics, forensic science, genetics, medicine, neuroscience, optometry and vision sciences, mathematics and statistics, pharmacology, psychology, sport sciences and zoology.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (e.g. 6.5 IELTS). Please see our English Language Requirements guidance for more details.

Contacts

Administrative contact(s)

School of Biosciences Education Office

Apply

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Postgraduate students on campus

Open Day

Meet us at our Postgraduate Open Day on 22 November 2017.

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