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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

PhD projects

The following list contains details of available PhD projects within the School. Please note that these projects are currently unfunded. Applicants are required to have obtained or intend to apply for external funding. See our fees and funding page for information on sources of funding for PhD studies. Applications from candidates intending to self-fund their PhD are also accepted – please visit our self-funding students page for relevant information. Our directly funded PhD opportunities are advertised on our postgraduate research studentships page.

Search our current PhD projects by keyword or supervisor, or filter by research department. Once you have found a PhD project you would like to apply for you should express your interest, usually via email, with the supervisor before you make a formal application. Please refer to our application process for further details.

Other projects may also be possible and should be discussed with a prospective supervisor. The research themes of the School can be found on our research pages and research interests of individual members of staff can be browsed on their personal pages.


Project Supervisor Keywords hide Departments Departments

A cell-free synthetic biology approach to counter antimicrobial resistance

Moore, Simon Antimicrobial Resistance, Cell-free gene expression, Microbiology,  Molecular Biology, Synthetic Biology    

Adaptation to environmental change

Nichols, Prof. Richard Adaptation, Evolution, Environmental change, Genomics, Endangered species, Conservation, Mathematical modelling, Statistics  Biology Biology 
Cognition in insects Chittka, Prof. Lars Counting, Intelligence, Tool use, Planning, Metacognition, Emotion, Bees Psychology Psychology
Comparative Cognition Versace, Dr Elisabetta Animal/Artificial intelligence, Evolution, Cognition, Comparative psychology Psychology Psychology
Comparative physiology and evolution of neuropeptide signalling Elphick, Prof. Maurice Neurobiology, Evolution, Echinoderms, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Transcriptomics, Peptidomics, Molecular histology Biology Biology
Contextual information in adaptation Mareschal, Prof. Isabelle Neuroscience Psychology Psychology
The contradictory functions of carotenoid-based light-harvesters: Understanding energy harvesting and dissipation in the Fucoxanthin-Chlorophyll Protein (FCP) Duffy, Dr Christopher Biophysics, Applied mathematics, Computational chemistry, Photosynthesis, Structural biology, Quantum dynamics Biochemistry Biochemistry

Data science & machine learning for genomic analysis

Wurm, Dr Yannick Genomics, Data science, Machine learning, Genetics, Bioinformatics, Software engineering Biology Biology

Designing peptide and small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of Gram-negative bacterial infections

Main, Dr Ewan Biochemistry, Biophysics, Structural biology, Type III Secretion System, Antibiotic resistance Biochemistry Biochemistry
Dissecting the role of MCE proteins in Cyanobacteria Darbari, Dr Vidya Biochemistry, Structural biology, X-ray crystallography, Cryo-electron microscopy Biochemistry Biochemistry

The ecology of flower colour choice in bees

Chittka, Prof. Lars Pollination, Insects, Learning, Sensory Systems, Cognition, Perception Psychology Psychology

Energy recovery from industrial wastewaters via understanding and manipulating the microbial diversity

Eyice, Dr Özge  Energy, Anaerobic microorganisms, Microbial ecology, Microbiology Biology Biology
Exploring the impact of plant genome size on community structure dependent on soils and underlying geology Leitch, Prof. Andrew Botany/Plant science, Cell biology/development, Ecology, Conservation, Genetics Biology Biology
Evolutionary genomics in ants Wurm, Dr Yannick Genetics, Social evolution, Next generation sequencing, Bioinformatics Biology Biology
The genomic basis of host-symbiont dependency Henry, Dr Lee Insects, Bioinformatics, Molecular biology, Evolution, Microbes Biology Biology
The Honey Bee: An Emerging Model for Epigenetics Hurd, Dr Paul Honey bee, Epigenetics, Genomics, Nutrition, Development Biochemisry Biochemistry
How do human cells ensure the accurate segregation of chromosomes? Draviam, Prof. Viji Biochemistry, Cancer/Oncology, Cell biology/development, Genetics, Molecular biology Biochemistry Biochemistry
Improved computational methods for quantitative proteomics Bessant, Prof. Conrad Analytical chemistry, Biochemistry, Applied mathematics, Bioinformatics, Computer science, Data analysis, Software engineering Biochemistry Biochemistry
Integrating fossils and genomes to elucidate the evolutionary history of species through time Dos Reis Barros, Dr Mario Evolutionary biology, Genomics, Phylogenetics, Palaeontology, Molecular clock, Bayesian analysis, Fossil record Biology Biology
Loneliness and its effects on vision and decision making Mareschal, Prof. Isabelle Psychology, Mental health, Cognitive psychology Psychology Psychology
Mechanisms that drive aneuploidy in cancers Draviam, Prof. Viji Biochemistry, Cancer/Oncology, Cell Biology/Development, Data Analysis Biochemistry Biochemistry
Modelling the insect brain Chittka, Prof Lars Neuroscience, Computational neuroscience, Neural networks, Artificial intelligence Pscyhology Psychology
Molecular adaptations underpinning dietary specialisations in wild vertebrates Rossiter, Prof. Stephen Evolution, Genetics, Zoology, Diet, Mammals, Birds Biology Biology

Molecular diagnostics for pollinator health

Wurm, Dr Yannick Ecology, Ecosystems, Molecular diagnostics, Pollination, Crop production Biology Biology
Molecular genetics of psychiatric disease Brennan, Prof. Caroline Bioinformatics, genes, psychiatric disease, Zebrafish Psychology Psychology
Neuronal basis of cross-modal sensory integration for navigation Chen, Dr Guifen Neural activity, Virtual reality, VR, Spatial cognition, Spatial Navigation, Neurobiology Psychology Psychology
Neuronal control of appetite and neurodegeneration

Brennan, Prof. Caroline and Chan, Dr Li

Neurobiology, Neurodegeneration, Cognition, Behaviour, Zebrafish  Psychology Psychology
New tools for conservation: dissecting the relative contribution of genetic and epigenetic changes to adaptive evolution Eizaguirre, Prof. Christophe Ecology and conservation, Evolution, Genetics Biology Biology
Protein Misfolding and Assembly of Amyloid-beta and lipid membrane interactions in Alzheimer’s Disease Viles, Dr John Biochemistry, Neurodegeneration, Protein mis-folding Biochemistry Biochemistry
The role of beneficial microbes in insect adaptation Henry, Dr Lee Evolution, Bioinformatics, Molecular biology, Statistics Biology Biology
Sea turtles' resilience to climate change Eizaguirre, Prof. Christophe Ecology and conservation, Evolution, Genetics, Marine biology Biology Biology
Sensory integration in the brain for spatial navigation Chen, Dr Guifen Neuroscience, Episodic memory, Spatial navigation, Virtual reality Psychology Psychology
Social learning in bees - how do pollinators learn from each other? Chittka, Prof. Lars  Cognition, Communication, Consciousness, Memory, Insects, Social organisation Psychology Psychology
Social Groups, Resilience, Health and Well-being Jones, Dr Janelle Social groups, Identity, Mental health, Stress, Resilience, Well-being, Psychophysics, Psychoneuroendocrinology Psychology Psychology
Spatial orientation of bees in the field and the laboratory Chittka, Prof. Lars  Radar tracking, Cognitive maps, Learning, Memory, Landmarks, Navigation Psychology Psychology
Uncovering 3D genome architecture in annelid worms Martin-Duran, Dr Chema  Bioinformatics, Cell biology/development, Evolution, Invertebrates, Genomics, Statistics, Molecular biology Biology Biology


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