Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Biological Sciences

Start dates

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time or 6 year part-time PhD studentship, to commence in October 2019 or February 2020.

The environment can have an impact on epigenetic status, and can influence gene regulation. On this self-funded PhD project, you'll use marine and molecular biology techniques, including western blot, immunohistochemistry and cloning, to further our understanding in this area.

Ultimately, the project seeks to understand the regulation of the digestive enzyme glycosyl hydrolase (GH7) gene, using pioneering approaches and groundbreaking techniques.

This project is supervised by Professor Alex Ford (

The work will include:

  • The use of marine and molecular biology techniques, including: western blot, immunohistochemistry and cloning

Limnoria Quadripunctata, a wood-boring organism, uses different cellulase enzymes, depending on its current diet. The epigenome, which provides a series of codes over and above the genome sequence, is responsible for gene expression, and a key part of this process. Research has already shown that environmental factors such as diet, stress and exposure to toxicants influence the epigenome, and therefore, gene regulation.

Our initial data suggests that epigenetic marks, such as acetylation of histone H4, dynamically respond to starvation and feeding of these animals. This provides a tractable experimental system that can be manipulated by altering environmental conditions.


Self-funded PhD students only

Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan

2018/2019 entry

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,260 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,130 p/a*

International full-time students: £15,100 p/a*

International part-time students: £7,550 p/a*

Please note: all students must also pay bench fees of £1500 p/a.

By Publication Fees 2018/2019

Members of staff: £1,550 p/a* External candidates: £4,260 p/a* *Fees are subject to annual increase

Entry requirements

A minimum of a second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Expertise in molecular biology is desirable. It's important that you have the requisite personal skills to work independently as part of a multidisciplinary team

Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. An online portfolio submission may be required as part of the selection process. All applicants are subject to interview.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

To start your application, or enquire further about the process involved, please contact Informal enquiries are welcome and can be made to Dr Tim Hebbes on 02392 842054 ( or Professor Simon Cragg (, quoting both the project code and the project title. For administrative and admissions enquiries please contact

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

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