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LSI PhD Programme

LSI PhD Programme

The Living Systems Institute (LSI) is pleased to announce four fully-funded PhD studentship opportunities, available on a part-time or a full-time basis.

Studentship highlights

  • An interdisciplinary training programme tailored to the individual student
  • Fully-funded places including personal stipend and training budget
  • The opportunity to formulate your own project
  • A supervisory team from different disciplines
  • A modern, inclusive environment that is passionately committed to your development.
  • Leading-edge approaches including genome editing, advanced imaging, stem cell biology, mathematical modelling, neuroscience, single-cell/molecule technologies
  • A thriving community of over 60 PhD students

Who we’re looking for

Modern scientific innovation involves the integration of diverse disciplines and the bridging of pure and application-oriented research. This requires a new generation of scientists who are trained to think and experiment beyond traditional boundaries.

We wish to recruit the best and most imaginative students from across the full range of disciplines working within LSI - Biologists, Physicists, Mathematicians, Computational Scientists and Engineers using cutting-edge technologies.

Your PhD project

Examples of potential interdisciplinary research projects are listed below, however, we would also welcome your own ideas.

Read about LSI Science Areas and Principal Investigators here.

Project ideas

Please also check the individual PI pages for information.

Multiscale bioimaging and modelling of the dynamics of eukaryotic cell invasion by an intracellular pathogen (Bryony Williams) contact email:, additional supervisors: Kirsty Wan and Bertram Daum

Accelerated evolution of RNA polymerase ribozymes towards self-replication (Fabrice Gielen) contact email:, additional supervisors: Gaspar Jekely and Fabrizio Costa (IDSAI)

Developing biohybrid microrobots for remote-controlled drug delivery (Bertram Daum) contact email:, additional supervisor: Peter Petrov

Quantum behaviour in proteins: How does cryptochrome sense Earth’s magnetic field? (Daniel Kattnig) contact email:, additional supervisors: Jonathan Phillips and Nicholas Smirnoff

Visualising the Biophotons of Active Neurons: A Quantum-Approach to Imaging Brain Function and Neural Pathways (Frank Vollmer) contact email:, additional supervisors: Gaspar Jekely, Daniel Kattnig, and Oleksandre Kyriienko

Mechanism of rheotaxis in Platynereis larvae (Gaspar Jekely) contact email:, additional supervisors: Kirsty Wan, and Fabrice Gielen

Emergent properties of enzyme catalysis: From single molecule to population behaviour (Jonathan Phillips) contact email:, additional supervisor: Frank Vollmer

Swarm dynamics and pattern formation in marine larvae (Kirsty Wan) contact email:, additional supervisor: Elizabeth Williams

Investigating viral transfer by cellular protrusions (Steffen Scholpp) contact email:, additional supervisor: Bertram Daum

Transcriptional networks driving human neuronal aging (Akshay Bhinge) contact email:, additional supervisors: Steve West and Adam Monier

Experimental and computational dissection of naïve epiblast plasticity (Austin Smith) contact email:, additional supervisor: Marc Goodfellow

Mapping the early stages of tumour formation to find preventative therapeutic targets for tuberous sclerosis complex (Ben Housden) contact email:, additional supervisors: Kirsty Wan and Steve West

Tracking cell fate decision in early human embryo development (Ge Guo) contact email:, additional supervisors: Stefano Pagliara and Austin Smith

Cryo-electron microscopy of the microtubule nucleating complex, Augmin (James Wakefield) contact email:, additional supervisors: Vicki Gold and Bertram Daum

Computer-in-the-loop interrogation of living systems (Kyle Wedgwood) contact email:, additional supervisor: Remy Chait

Understanding the mutation landscape of common human disease genes using microfluidics and high throughput kinetics (Nicholas Harmer) contact email:, additional supervisors: Fabrice Gielen and Stefano Pagliara

Tackling antimicrobial resistance via single-cell omics and microfluidics (Stefano Pagliara) contact email:, additional supervisors: Krasi Tsaneva-Atanasova and Isobel Norville (Dstl)

Transcription then and now: using evolutionary history to gain new insights into gene regulation (Steven West and Adam Monier) contact email:, additional supervisor: Adam Monier

Engineering bacteriophages to enhance antibiotic efficacy using cryo-electron microscopy and microfluidics (Vicki Gold and Stefano Pagliara) contact email:, additional supervisors: Stefano Pagliara and Edze Westra, Stineke van Houte (Penryn)

Dissecting infected cells at very high resolution with single-cell RNA-seq and atomic force microscopy (Adam Monier) contact email:, additional supervisors: Bryony Williams and Mike Allen (Biosciences/PML)

Experimental and computational dissection of naïve epiblast plasticity (Austin Smith) contact email:, additional supervisor: Marc Goodfellow

Modelling of human embryo development (David Richards) contact email:, additional supervisors: Ge Guo and Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova

Modelling neuronal circuits in a ciliary micro-swimmer (Krasi Tsaneva-Atanasova) contact email:, additional supervisor: Gaspar Jekely

Protein choreography at high spatiotemporal resolution: modelling the dynamics of enzyme regulation to predict drug behaviour (Marc Goodfellow) contact email:, additional supervisor: Jonathan Phillips

Modelling viruses in crowded biological environments (Wolfram Moebius) contact email:, additional supervisors: Bertram DaumDaniel Kattnig, and Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova

How to apply

Please apply via this link by midday on 10 January 2022.

If you have any inquiries please contact:

Director of Postgraduate Research (LSI), Steven West:


Additional scholarship opportunity for students from China

Students from China can apply to join this programme via the China Scholarship Council (CSC).

You can apply either for one of the co-supervised projects above or to a project with an individual supervisor.

For more information see: LSI CSC Scholarships