Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience

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Run by Faculty of Life Sciences
Awards available PhD, MD, MSc by research
Programme length MScR: one year full-time
PhD: three to four years full-time; up to seven years part-time

Both MSc and PhD (part-time and full-time) then have one further year to write up.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date September 2019 (preferred)

Programme overview

The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience has an international reputation for research excellence in neuroscience, cell biology and signalling, and cardiovascular biology. The school is highly committed to training the next generation of scientists from both the UK and overseas, taking great pride in the standard of our postgraduate provision.

New students enter an exciting research environment in which we support and challenge our postgraduates to excel. All postgraduates receive extensive research and transferable skills training.

The school is well supported by programme and project grants, particularly from the Medical Research Council, BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK and British Heart Foundation. This has enabled the school to provide a vibrant environment for research; we have more than 100 PhD students at various stages in their research projects.

Fees for 2019/20

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

UK/EU: full-time
UK/EU: part-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

UK/EU students may apply for research council funding.

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

Entry requirements

A first or upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a biomedical science discipline is required for entry to the PhD programme. We may consider MSc by research applications from candidates with a lower second-class degree (or international equivalent).

Applicants for the MD should be medically qualified and should consult with the graduate director before applying.

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

The School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience encompasses internationally recognised research groups with interests extending from the whole animal, cell signalling and neuropharmacology to cardiovascular/respiratory function, synaptic plasticity and the study of sensory and sensorimotor systems in the intact brain. The diversity of this research is reflected in the wide range of postgraduate projects available.

A number of research groups use the world-class Wolfson Bioimaging Facility, which contains state-of-the-art light and electron microscopes. The school has strong links with the pharmaceutical industry and has forged collaborative research programmes with a number of companies. The school collaborates with clinical colleagues, aiming to translate our discoveries to the clinic to treat of a wide array of diseases: from neurological and neuropathic disorders to cancer and cardiovascular disease.


The majority of our postgraduate students become highly productive researchers through the course of their studies, publishing in leading peer-reviewed biomedical journals. Most go on to post-doctoral research in academia and industry, both in the UK and abroad. Other students use the skills gained during their study to enter postgraduate-level employment.

The school is also committed to promoting the advancement of women in science, and has received an Athena Silver SWAN award for our work in this area.

Staff profiles

Cardiovascular Science

Professor Mark Cannell, (Chair in Cardiac Cell Biology), Cardiac excitation-contraction coupling.

Professor Jules Hancox, (Professor), Physiology and pharmacology of native and recombinant cardiac ion channels.

Dr Emma Hart, (Research Fellow), Human integrative cardiovascular control in health and disease.

Dr Andy James, Adaptations of cardiac atrial electrophysiology to elevated blood pressure and the susceptibility to atrial arrhythmias.

Professor Sergey Kasparov, (Professor), Physiological genomics of central cardiovascular control.

Professor Clive Orchard, (Professor), Studies of cardiac excitation-contraction coupling, its regulation and the role of the t-tubules.

Professor Julian Paton, (Professorial Research Fellow in Physiology), Molecular studies of CNS regulation of cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

Dr Tony Pickering, (Wellcome Trust Reader in Neuroscience), Integrative sensory and autonomic neuroscience.

Dr Anja Teschenmacher, (Senior Lecturer), Mechanisms and roles of central catecholamine release.

Cell Signalling and Cell Biology

Dr Chrissy Hammond, (Research Fellow), Regulation of cartilage and bone homeostasis in development and disease.

Professor Graeme Henderson, (Professor, Research Collaborator), Opioid tolerance and dependence.

Professor Ingeborg Hers, (Reader), Regulation of platelet signalling and activation.

Dr Eamonn Kelly, (Professor), Receptor desensitisation, second messengers, ligand bias.

Professor Paul Martin, (Professor), Tissue repair and wound healing.

Dr Stuart Mundell, (Reader), G-Protein-coupled receptor signalling in platelet function and thrombosis.

Professor Alastair Poole, (Professor), Signal transduction in platelets and thrombosis.

Dr Paul Verkade, (Reader), Correlative light electron microscopy of intracellular transport.


Professor Richard Apps, (Professor), Structure-function studies of the cerebellum and its role in movement and cognition.

Dr Michael Ashby, (Lecturer), How early life experience guides the formation of synapses and circuits in the neocortex.

Professor Zafar Bashir, (Neuroscience), Synaptic plasticity in the perirhinal cortex and hippocampus.

Dr Zuner Bortolotto, Synaptic plasticity and epilepsy.

Dr Peter Brennan, (Reader), The vomeronasal system as a model to study how sensory input drives social behaviour.

Professor Graham Collingridge, (Professor), Plasticity in the hippocampus.

Dr James Hodge, (Senior Lecturer), Potassium channels and behaviour.

Professor David Jane, (Professor), Development of pharmacological tools for glutamate receptors.

Dr Matt Jones, (Reader), Electro-physiological recording of neuronal network activity during cognitive behaviours and in psychiatric disease models.

Professor Bridget Lumb, (Professor), Electrophysiology and functional anatomical approaches to investigate the neuronal pathways controlling pain.

Professor Neil Marrion, (Professor), Ion channel coupling and CNS disease states.

Professor Jack Mellor, (Reader), Plasticity in the hippocampus and cortex.

Professor Elek Molnar, (Professor), Receptor function and localisation in neuronal and non-neuronal cells.

Professor Emma Robinson, (Reader), Neural and neurochemical mediators of behaviour and their role in psychiatric disorders.

Dr Maria Usowicz, (Senior Lecturer), Calcium channel pharmacology; synaptic transmission in CNS.

Professor Clea Warburton, (Professor), Neural and cellular substrates of learning and memory.

Professor David Wynick, (Professor), Role of galanin in central and peripheral nerve regeneration and Alzheimer' s disease.

How to apply
Application deadline:

We welcome applications at any time of year.

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

Please see full REF 2014 results for the University of Bristol; in particular, the scores for subject areas 1 and 4.

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

Ms Elaine Sparey Postgraduate Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 2370 Email:

Professor Ingeborg Hers Director of Graduate Studies Phone: +44 (0) 117 331 2191 Email:

65 St Michael's Hill


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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