Dynamic Molecular Cell Biology (Wellcome Trust)

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Run by Faculty of Life Sciences
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Start date September 2019

Programme overview

This programme brings together the skills and expertise of more than 25 internationally recognised molecular cell biologists, who provide training in a broad range of cell biology topics and techniques: from analysing dynamic behaviour of cells in organisms to studies of intracellular behaviour and now progression into single molecules and high-resolution electron microscopy. Training also covers the spectrum from the purest studies of fundamental cell biology through to direct and translational applications to human disease.

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

Visit the Dynamic Molecular Cell Biology web pages to read profiles of current students and find out more about the programme.

Fees for 2019/20

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time
Overseas: full-time
Channel Islands/Isle of Man: full-time

Bench fees: For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (e.g. training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2019/20

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. Applications are welcomed from international students.

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 you'll gain experience in cell culture and standard wide-field/confocal cell imaging alongside super-resolution imaging.

Your second rotation will be in a disease/model organism lab to extend skills into in vivo applied context and in techniques such as multiphoton imaging.

Finally, your third rotation will be in a molecular lab to become familiar with in vitro biochemical and biophysical methods, including protein production, complex assembly, functional reconstitution, high-resolution electron microscopy and single molecular 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 PhD laboratory and focus on your proposed research project before the second year starts.

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.

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 to one another but not identical. 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 another senior academic. You will also remain under the wing of the Dynamic Molecular Cell Biology programme itself, which has its own monitoring procedure.

Entry requirements

A first or upper second-class honours degree or master's degree in a biomedical or life science discipline.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile C
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Core research areas are:

  • 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.

Group leaders:

  • Cellular
    • Professor Peter Cullen
    • Professor Jo Adams
    • Dr Jon Hanley
    • Professor Jeremy Henley
    • Dr Jon Lane
    • Professor Harry Mellor
    • Dr Binyam Mogessie
    • Professor Catherine Nobes
    • Professor David Stephens
    • Professor Paul Verkade
  • Molecular
    • Professor Ian Collinson
    • Professor Imre Berger
    • Professor Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel
    • Professor Rafael Carazo Salas
    • Professor Mark Dillingham
    • Dr Mark Dodding
    • Professor Stefan Roberts
    • Professor Nigel Savery
    • Professor Mark Szczelkun
  • Disease/model organism
    • Professor Paul Martin
    • Dr Borko Amulic
    • Dr Anna Chambers
    • Dr Abdu Essafi
    • Dr Chrissy Hammond
    • Professor Patty Kuwabara
    • Dr Stuart Mundell
    • Dr Eugenia Piddini
    • Professor Alastair Poole
    • Professor Anne Ridley
    • Dr Beck Richardson
    • Dr Ash Toye
    • Dr Helen Weavers
    • Professor Ann Williams
    • Professor Christoph Wuelfing
    • Dr Yohei Yamauchi


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

Staff profiles


Professor Jo Adams, (Professor), Role of Signaling to the Cytoskeleton by the Extracellular Matrix in Cell Motility Processes

Professor Peter Cullen, (Professor), Endosomal sorting and signaling

Dr Jon Hanley, (Reader), The molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity

Professor Jeremy Henley, (Professor), Neurotransmitter receptor trafficking in plasticity and disease

Dr Jon Lane, (Reader), Molecular regulation of autophagy

Professor Harry Mellor, (Professor), Endothelial cell dynamics in angiogenesis

Dr Binyam Mogessie

Professor Catherine Nobes, (Professor), Regulation of cell migration and cancer cell invasion by Eph receptors and ephrins

Professor David Stephens, (Professor), Membrane and cytoskeleton dynamics in health and disease.

Professor Paul Verkade, (Professor of Bioimaging), Visualising of protein trafficking/translocation events.

Disease/Model organism

Dr Borko Amulic, (Lecturer), Neutrophil NETosis

Dr Anna Chambers, (Fellow), Chromatin remodelling and genome stability

Dr Abdu Essafi, (Lecturer), Molecular basis of embryonic processes in health and disease

Dr Chrissy Hammond, (Reseach Fellow), Modelling osteoarthritis in zebrafish: looking at cell ' decision making' in the joint

Professor Patty Kuwabara, (William P. Coldrick Chair in Genomics)

Professor Paul Martin, (Professor), Inflammation in repair and cancer

Dr Stuart Mundell, (Reader), G protein-coupled receptor function and signalling in atherothrombosis

Dr Eugenia Piddini, (Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow), Cell competition in normal physiology and cancer

Professor Alastair Poole, (Professor), Platelet Cell Biology

Dr Beck Richardson, (BHF Intermediate Research Fellow), The role of inflammatory cell signalling in tissue repair

Professor Anne Ridley, (Professor)

Dr Ash Toye, (Senior Lecturer), Red blood cell development in health and disease.

Dr Helen Weavers, (Research Fellow), Cell resilience in repair and development

Professor Ann Williams, (Professor), Colorectal tumour cell survival mechanisms and chemoprevention

Professor Christoph Wuelfing, (Professor), The spatiotemporal organization of lymphocyte signalling as a regulator of function

Dr Yohei Yamauchi, (Reader)


Professor Imre Berger, (Professor)

Professor Christiane Berger-Schaffitzel, (Professor), Ribosomal complexes in protein targeting, translocation and quality control

Professor Rafael Carazo Salas, (Chair in Biomedical Sciences), Integrative cell biology of pluripotency and differentiation

Professor Ian Collinson, (Professor), Understanding the mechanism of protein secretion and mitochondrial import

Professor Mark Dillingham, (Professor), Helicases as modular components of DNA processing machines

Dr Mark Dodding, (Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology)

Professor Stefan Roberts, (Professor of Cancer Biology), Mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in mammalian cells

Professor Nigel Savery, (Professor)

Professor Mark Szczelkun, (Professor), Molecular Mechanisms of Genome Processing and Maintenance

How to apply
Application deadline:

16 December 2018, 23:59 GMT

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa 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

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

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.

Open days and visits

Find out more about opportunities to visit Bristol.

Register to attend our postgraduate open day, 20 November 2019.

Get in touch

Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 1535 Email: fls-gam@bristol.ac.uk

Graduate Office
65 St Michael's Hill
BS2 8DZ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/life-sciences/study/postgraduate/dynamic-cell/


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