Dynamic Cell Biology (Wellcome Trust)

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Run by Faculty of Biomedical Sciences
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Funding for this programme is open to Home/EU students and non-Home/EU students.
Number of places 5-6
Start date September 2016

Programme overview

This programme brings together the skills and expertise of 30 plus internationally-recognised molecular cell biologists, who provide training in the broadest range of cell biology topics and techniques; from analysing dynamic behaviour of cells in organisms through to studies of intracellular behaviour and now progression into single molecules and high-resolution electron microscopy; and from the purest studies of fundamental cell biology through to those with direct and translational application to human disease.

We are looking for talented and motivated students willing to take up the many varied challenges in cell biology and who are open to learning about new disciplines and working across different fields.

Fees for 2016/17

Full time fees


Fees quoted are provisional, per annum and subject to annual increase.

Funding for 2016/17

This programme is fully funded by the Wellcome Trust. The trust provides funding to cover PhD programme fees at UK/EU student rate, research expenses, a stipend for living expenses, contribution towards travel and a contribution towards transferable-skills training.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

First year

You will have the opportunity to study a range of research topics, with different supervisors and undertake three 10-week laboratory-based research projects.

Your first rotation will be in a ‘cellular’ lab, where experience will be acquired in cell culture and standard wide-field/confocal cell imaging alongside super-resolution imaging.

Your second rotation will be in a ‘molecular’ lab to familiarise in vitro biochemical and biophysical methods including protein production, complex assembly, functional reconstitution, high-resolution electron microscopy and single molecular imaging.

Finally, your third rotation will be in a ‘disease/model organism’ lab to extend skills into in vivo applied context and in techniques such as multiphoton imaging.

Write ups, posters and presentations on the three rotation projects are completed by the end of June, providing you with three months in which to select your full Ph.D. laboratory and focus on your proposed research project before the second year commences.

Second to fourth years

You will join a single laboratory for the remaining years of your PhD. On occasions there may be collaborative projects between two participating labs and in these cases there will be joint supervision from the two PIs.

After your first year, you will be integrated into the PhD programme of your host school, which will depend on your chosen topic. These school programmes are similar although not identical to one another. In general, they involve submission of an end-of-year progress report to the departmental postgraduate tutor and an afternoon of seminars presented by your year cohort in that school, and subsequently an informal interview/viva with the postgraduate tutor or some other senior academic. You will also remain under the wing of the Dynamic Cell Biology programme itself and we will have a separate monitoring procedure.

Entry requirements

First-class or upper second-class undergraduate degree or Masters degree in a biomedical science discipline or a relevant theoretical discipline.

Crucially, we are looking for talented and motivated students willing to take up the many varied challenges in cell biology and who are open to learning about new disciplines and working across different fields.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile C
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Research groups

Core research areas

  • Multiprotein complexes in gene maintenance and expression.
  • Dynamic organisation, regulation and re-modelling of the cytoskeleton.
  • Molecular complexes involved in protein translocation and trafficking.
  • Cell organisation, morphogenesis and tissue function.
  • Cancer, neuroscience, infection and immunity, cardiovascular biology.


The vast majority of graduating students from the Faculty go on to perform post-doctoral research in world-leading laboratories in the UK, Europe and US. Some students have taken graduate-level entry to study Medicine and entered teacher training programmes

Staff profiles


Dr Jo Adams, (Professor), Cell interaction with tumour microenvironment

Dr Peter Cullen, (Professor), The endocytic network in neuroprotection.

Dr Jon Hanley, (Reader), Post-synaptic receptor trafficking in cognition.

Dr Jeremy Henley, SUMOylation in neuroprotection

Dr Jon Lane, (Reader), Autophagy in neuroprotection

Dr Harry Mellor, (Professor), Cytoskeletal dynamics during angiogenesis

Dr Stuart Mundell, (Reader), G-protein coupled receptors in platelet function.

Dr Catherine Nobes, (Professor), Eph/Ephrins and the tumour microenvironment

Dr David Stephens, (Professor), Protein trafficking through the early secretory pathway.

Dr Paul Verkade, (Reader), Visualising of protein trafficking/translocation events.

Hypothalmic glucose sensing in health and diabetes

How to apply
Application deadline:

Dependent on funding deadlines. Please see our website for further details.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 33% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 51% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 15% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 0% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

Get in touch

Lindsey Watson Graduate Administration Manager Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 1535 Email: fbs-pgenquiries@bristol.ac.uk

Biomedical Sciences Building
University Walk
Bristol BS8 1TD http://www.bristol.ac.uk/fmvs/gradschool/programmes/dynamic-cell/


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