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The Department has limited access to funding and is able to award Research Studentships to Home students when the funding is available. Research Studentships are awarded on a competitive basis and are funded by the research councils, charities, and sometimes by industrial sponsors. We will update this page when funding information becomes available.






Four-year PhD programme based in the Department of Pharmacology

Ref. BBSRCCL0116

A 4-year BBSRC-funded DTP studentship ‘Modelling fluorescent timers to quantify protein turnover in the cell cycle’ is available to work on a collaborative project between the research groups of Dr Catherine Lindon and Dr Graham Ladds.

Protein turnover determines the stability of cellular components and is a critical element in proteostasis, for example by contributing to the different states that comprise the cell cycle. However it is challenging to study in single cells. One approach to this challenge has seen the increasing use of fluorescent protein ‘timer’ technology that allows quantitation of time-dependent changes in protein fluorescence within single cells. The purpose of this project will be to develop models to describe the behaviour of fluorescent protein timers in the cell cycle. It will involve time-resolved fluorescence imaging of fission yeast and mammalian cells, to test in silico models constructed to describe turnover of proteins that vary in stability through the cell cycle. These models will be used to derive quantitative information about turnover of specific cell cycle regulators under different growth conditions and in deregulated cell cycles that occur in cancer.

Applicants should have or shortly expect to obtain a minimum of a UK 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent). Although an interest in cell biology is essential to the project, we particularly encourage applications from candidates with some background in mathematical biology and/or a working knowledge of programming.

We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic individual, capable of thinking and working independently.

Eligibility and funding for this studentship are in accordance with Cambridge BBSRC-DTP scheme, details available here: enquiries should be addressed to Dr Catherine Lindon or Dr Graham Ladds by email at or


To apply, please e-mail the following to

▪    your CV with full contact details of 2 academic referees (max two A4 pages)

▪    your academic transcript

▪    a cover letter (max two A4 pages) highlighting your background/research interests and how these fit to the proposed project


Two NC3Rs funded PhD studentships

Applications are invited for two 3-year PhD studentships funded by NC3Rs based in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Cambridge. The principles of the 3Rs (Replacement, Reduction and Refinement) were developed over 50 years ago as a framework for humane animal research. They have subsequently become embedded in national and international legislation regulating the use of animals in scientific procedures. Opinion polls consistently show that in the UK support for animal research is conditional on the implementation of the 3Rs. The two projects on offer aim to address the 3Rs principle whilst driving scientific discovery. The projects available are:


1) Development of ex vivo model of arterial thrombosis

Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in the UK. Thrombosis is the major acute event that triggers a heart attack or stroke. Development of new anti-thrombotic drugs is therefore vital, and the starting point for this process is a better understanding of the molecular regulation of thrombosis.

Thrombosis is a complex, multicellular process. The in vivo carotid artery injury model in anaesthetised mice is extensively used to investigate thrombus formation. However, the ability to record only one thrombus in each mouse, and the high variance of the technique, mean that many animals are required to provide sufficient statistical power. Reduction in the number of mice used in these experiments to the minimum possible is an ethical imperative. In this project a humanised ex vivo carotid artery injury model will be developed that retains the benefits of the in vivo model but requires fewer animals and is more relevant to human disease.

This project will be based in the lab of Dr Matthew Harper and it jointly funded by the British Heart Foundation. Please email your applications to

2) Crispr/Cas9 mediated in vitro gene editing in primary mammary epithelial cells

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women in the UK and is the responsible for the death of 1000 women every month. One of the major challenges for the treatment of breast cancer is the heterogeneous nature of the disease. How these different subtypes arise requires understanding the developmental hierarchy of normal mammary epithelial cells.

The mouse provides an excellent model to study how different cell fate regulators are involved in mammary epithelial development and breast cancer development. However, with the advances in DNA sequencing and cancer genomics the number of candidate genes, which need to be investigated in the mouse, has increased. This lead to an increase in demand for genetically modified (GM) mice to perform these studies. In this project we aim to circumvent the need for the generation of new GM mice for breast cancer and mammary gland studies by capitalising on recent technical advances to generate a fast, cost effective and flexible approach to tag genes of interest directly in primary mammary epithelial cells. We will utilise the Crispr/Cas9 technology to delete or tag genes of interest in primary mammary epithelial cells in vitro and in vivo.

Our new approach will enable us to study novel genes of interest in the mammary gland without the need for generating new GM mice, which will dramatically reduce the number of animals needed to perform breast cancer and mammary gland studies.

This project will be based in the lab of Dr Walid Khaled. Successful candidates are expected to have some experience in tissue culture, vector design, cloning, FACS sorting and handling primary tissue. Applications for this position please email your applications to

Funding: Full funding covering the University Composition Fee and Maintenance (at the RCUK level), is provided for eligible candidates for up to 3 years, with effect from 1 October 2016.

Applications: Applicants should send a covering letter (1 A4 side max) and C.V. (2 A4 pages max) to the project supervisor email, above. Applicants should have or shortly expect to obtain a minimum of a UK II.i Honours Degree (or equivalent) in Pharmacology or a related subject including Cellular or Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Competition is intense and successful applicants are likely to demonstrate high academic achievements. We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic individual, capable of thinking and working independently.

Eligibility: These PhD positions are open to UK nationals. EU nationals, who have spent at least 3 years prior to the application resident in the UK, are also eligible to apply.

Further details can be found here (sections 7-10).

Please confirm your eligibility in your application.

The application closing date is the 31st January 2016.


Dr David James scholarships


davidjamesBWDuring his life, Dr David James was a well-respected Departmental Administrator. His legacy provides scholarships for the most gifted postgraduates to pursue focused and original research. The David James Studentship has provided full financial support for a number of PhD students within the Department since October 2011.

And through PhD studentships, the David James Fund is supporting the next generation of Cambridge pharmacologists, whose work will be crucial to developing better treatments for diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes and Parkinson's.