Advancing the frontiers of bioscience discovery

Applications for projects starting in September 2024 have now closed.
For fully funded studentships starting in September 2025, projects will be advertised in October 2024.

Below are projects that were recently advertised last year, to give you an idea of projects that could be advertised in the future.

Promoting creative, curiosity-driven frontier bioscience to address fundamental questions in biology.

*CASE: These are CASE DTP studentships. As part of the programme, you will be required to undertake a placement with the CASE partner for a minimum of 3 months.

*AP: These are Standard DTP studentships with an associate partner where you will be required to spend time with each of the partners. You will be asked to apply to one of the partners (as listed in the ‘Host Institution’ column), but this is just for administration purposes.  You will then be registered for your postgraduate studies at one of the partner universities of the lead supervisors.  Your registered university will be confirmed by the DTP following the interview stage of the selection process.

*JD: This project is in collaboration with the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England (UWE) and subject to a joint degree award. Successful applicants will be registered at both these institutions, and graduates will be awarded a joint degree from these two institutions upon successful completion of the PhD programme.

You can find out more about the project supervisor listed below and the research team by visiting our meet our supervisors webpage.

A combined experimental and in silico modelling study of pigment pattern formation in zebrafish Dr Kit Yates University of Bath Mathematical biology, zebrafish pigmentation, pattern formation, experimental biology, mathematical modelling
A synthetic biology magnetic toolkit for detecting bacteria Prof Jim Spencer University of Bristol Biophysics, detection, microbiology, synthetic biology, engineering biology
AAV-Factory: Synthetic viral nanosystem for highly efficient AAV production for gene therapy Prof Imre Berger University of Bristol Synthetic biology and DNA assembly, viral vector, genome engineering, gene therapy, steroid resistant nephrotic syndrome SRNS
ADDomer: Thermostable synthetic self-assembling multiepitope virus-like particle for next-generation vaccines *CASE Prof Imre Berger University of Bristol Infectious disease, next-generation vaccines, synthetic biology, cryo-electron microscopy, bench-to-bedside
Beyond AlphaFold: Experimental and computational folding of a de novo membrane protein Dr Paul Curnow University of Bristol Biophysics, protein folding and design, in vitro transcription/translation, molecular dynamics
Bioinformatics and machine learning/AI based approaches to understanding the mechanism by which long non-coding RNAs regulate the inflammatory response Prof Mark Andrew Lindsay University of Bath Long non-coding RNA, inflammation, innate immune response, bioinformatics, machine learning
Characterising the role of in vivo cell-to-cell communication in the stress system Prof Soojin Ryu University of Exeter (Streatham) Neuroscience, mathematical modelling, stress, zebrafish, cell network
Combining artificial intelligence based drug discovery and automated patch clamping to revolutionise our understanding of lysosomal ion channels Dr Emyr Lloyd-Evans Cardiff University Supercomputing, artificial intelligence, electrophysiology, pharmacology
Coral venom in the era of climate change Dr Maria Sachkova University of Bristol Coral, venom, evolution, protein, molecular clock, climate change
Decoding secret conversations inside cells: Understanding how organelle interactions in human cells are regulated during the cell cycle Dr Joe Costello University of Exeter (Streatham) Molecular cell biology, membrane contact sites, cell cycle, CRISPR TurboID
Design of new fluorescent sensors for measuring heme in cells Prof Emma Raven University of Bristol Synthetic and engineering biology
Designing light harvesting proteins and photoactive enzymes for artificial photosynthesis Prof Ross Anderson University of Bristol Biomolecular design, photosynthesis, electron transfer, synthetic biology, computational protein design
Determining the regulatory control of prokaryotic antiviral defence systems Prof Tiffany Taylor University of Bath Evolution, CRISPR, AMR, bacteria, phage
Developing a multimodal analysis pipeline for the assessment of cardiac dysfunction in aged and diseased adult zebrafish Dr Beck Richardson University of Bristol Cardiovascular disease, zebrafish, cardiac function, techniques development, In vivo imaging
Development of a fungal platform for the expression of high-valuable natural products *AP Prof Chris Willis / Dr Claudio Greco University of Bristol (apply here) / Swansea University Fungal biotechnology, natural products, biosynthesis, metabolomics, synthetic biology
Distilling bacteriophage-host webs: methods to characterise and combine phages for agricultural biocontrol Dr Remy Chait University of Exeter (Streatham) Phage, EPEC, biocontrol, AMR
Divergent sleep behaviour – An evolutionary approach to understand why we sleep Dr Alice French University of Bristol Sleep, drosophila, fertility, physiology, neuroscience
DrESS: A biocatalytic approach for targeted degradation of oncogenic transcription factors Dr Louis Luk Cardiff University Transcription factors, “undruggable” targets, enzyme engineering, high-throughput screening, targeted protein degradation
Dynamic protein design Dr Jonathan Phillips University of Exeter (Streatham) Protein design, molecular dynamics, AI, mathematical modelling, structural proteomics
Enhancing MITF transcription factor activity using protein engineering to investigate melanocyte development and improve melanoma treatment Dr Keith Vance University of Bath Peptide library screening, transcription factor agonists, gene regulation, stem cells, melanoma
Establishing evolutionary timescales Prof Philip Donoghue University of Bristol Molecular clock, evolution, timescale, phylogenetics, metabolism
Evolution of learning and memory circuits Dr Stephen Montgomery University of Bristol Behaviour, evolution, learning, memory, neuroscience
Exploring the combinatorial roles for transcription factors in fate decisions in the neural crest Prof Robert Kelsh University of Bath Stem cells fate, choice transcription factors, developmental biology, genetics
Exploring the Potential of Light-Driven Biocatalysis – Electrifying the engineered redox enzymes for biotransformations Prof Frank Vollmer University of Exeter (Streatham) Opto-enzymology of biotransformations single-molecule electrochemistry optoplasmonic sensors and nano-reactors
Eye-cyt: Improving our understanding of endocytosis within complex in vitro cell models of the eye Dr Peter Watson Cardiff University Cell biology, 3d cell models, microscopy, drug delivery, endocytosis
Harnessing the power of synthetic biology to engineer novel lytic bacteriophages Dr Tobias Bergmiller University of Exeter (Streatham) Bacteriophage, synthetic biology, bacterial genetics, CRISPR, bioinformatics
How do GluD1 glutamate receptors in the hippocampal CA2 region control social behaviours and related mental health conditions? Prof Zafar Bashir University of Bristol Schizophrenia, autism, social behaviours, hippocampus, CA2 region
Imaging analysis of muscle progenitor and stem cell activation in differentiation and repair Dr Michael Taylor Cardiff University Muscle progenitor and stem cells, imaging, CRISPR, tissue repair, cell differentiation
Investigating the impact of neuroactive drug exposure on the developmental and functional neurobiology of the vertebrate brain Dr Matthew Winter University of Exeter (Streatham) Zebrafish, pharmacology, toxicology, in vivo, neuroscience
Investigating the role of neuronal metabolism in excitation/inhibition balance *AP *JD Dr Kevin Wilkinson / Dr Tim Craig University of Bristol (apply here) / University of the West of England; UWE Neurons, synapse, metabolism, endosomal sorting, neuroscience
Mass spectrometry imaging of enzyme activity in brain and beyond *AP Dr Josie Parker / Prof William Griffiths Cardiff University (apply here) / Swansea University Mass spectrometry imaging, enzymology, brain, cytochrome P450s, cholesterol
Modelling the effect of ageing in silico and on Drosophila and mouse clock neurons Prof James Hodge University of Bristol Drosophila, electrophysiology, computational modelling, circadian rhythms, ageing
Precision imaging of hypoxia-induced cellular mRNAs with an advanced cellular penetrating and near infrared emitting molecular probes toolkit Prof Sofia Pascu University of Bath Near-infrared quantitative fluorescence imaging, hypoxia-specific chemical probes, cellular penetrating biosensors, synthetic chemistry of peptide nucleic acids, hypoxia specific mRNA quantification.
Spindle orientation in the developing fly embryo: a joint mathematical-experimental approach Dr David Richards University of Exeter (Streatham) Drosophila development, spindle orientation, mathematical modelling, computer simulation, image analysis
Studying early human embryo development using stem cell models Dr Ge Guo University of Exeter (Streatham) Human embryogenesis, stem cell models, cell lineage segregation, bio-mimetic culture, high-resolution imaging,
Targeting subcellular proteins and processes with designed peptides Prof Dek Woolfson University of Bristol Biodesign, cell biology, coiled coils, protein-protein interactions, engineering biology
The arthropod megaphylogeny and the origin of Earth’s biodiversity Prof Davide Pisani University of Bristol Phylogenomics, arthropoda, molecular clocks, adaptive radiations.
The cellular and molecular responses of diatoms to warming temperatures *AP Dr Vinod Kumar / Dr Glen Wheeler University of Exeter (Streatham) (apply here) / Marine Biological Association Algae, photosynthesis, temperature, oxidative stress, marine biology
The curious case of Turritopsis dohrni jellyfish – elucidating epigenetic principles of immortality Dr Tomasz Jurkowski Cardiff University Biological immortality. epigenetics. aging. omics. rejuvenation
The evolutionary and mechanistic basis of virus host range Dr Ben Longdon University of Exeter (Penryn) Phage, virus, bacteria, host-range, host-shifts
The molecular basis of host manipulation by a parasitic worm Dr Vicky Hunt University of Bath Parasite, host behaviour, entomology, nematomorph
The structural-functional basis for long-lived DNA diffusion by a helicase-nuclease Prof Mark Szczelkun University of Bristol Prokaryotic defence systems, restriction-modification, single molecule enzymology, Cryo-EM
Tissue specific gene expression in Drosophila ‐ dissecting promoter architecture Prof Helen White-Cooper Cardiff University Drosophila, genetics. transcription, spermatogenesis
Towards new biologic drugs: In silico design of T-cell receptor affinity and specificity with biomolecular simulation *CASE Dr Marc van der Kamp University of Bristol Synthetic biology, molecular dynamics, biomolecular design, immunotherapy, protein biophysics
Tracing and shaping the evolutionary paths of engineered biology Dr Thomas Gorochowski University of Bristol Evolution, synthetic biology, nanopore sequencing, gene regulation, genome engineering
Will climate change worsen the problem of antibiotic resistance? Dr Daniel Padfield University of Exeter (Penryn) Antibiotic resistance, climate change, plasmids, pathogens, microbiome