Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Start dates

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD to commence in October 2020 or February 2021.

The PhD will be based in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, and will be supervised by Dr Sassan Hafizi.

Gliomas are a type of adult brain tumour notorious for their rapid development, high tissue infiltration and overall dismal prognosis. The current therapeutic options available are woefully insufficient; thus, there is an urgent need to understand further the mechanisms by which these tumours develop. Through this, identification of novel factors that drive gliomagenesis could therefore lead to more effective therapies. The receptor tyrosine kinase subfamily constituting Tyro3, Axl and Mer (TAM) have been implicated as oncogenic drivers for some human gliomas. However, much remains to be determined as regards the molecular mechanisms of Tam receptor action in gliomas. The aims of this PhD project are to probe the molecular signalling actions of TAM receptors in human brain tumour cells through a variety of experimental assays and approaches, utilising both in vitro and in vivo models.

The project lies within the biological sciences with a molecular component, e.g. biochemistry, pharmacology, biomedical sciences. Specifically, the student shall be trained in a range of biochemical and cell biological techniques, including cell culture, molecular expression analyses, immunohistochemical techniques, confocal microscopy, molecular binding analyses and enzyme activity and protein degradation assays. They will join a vibrant research environment within the university’s Institute of Biomedical and Biomolecular Science (IBBS), where notable achievements have been made in neuroscience, oncology and structural biology fields. Furthermore, the student will also be part of an international collaborative research effort involving the supervisor’s group and overseas project partners.

In addition you will have access to a skills development program run by the university’s Graduate School. The experimental and analytical skills developed during this project will prepare the student well for a future career in academia or industry.

Fees and funding

Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2020/2021 entry (for October 2020 and February 2021 entries)

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a

International full-time students: £16,400 p/a

International part-time students: £8,200 p/a

PhD by Publication

External candidates £4,407 p/a

Members of staff £1,680 p/a*

2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)

PhD and MPhil

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a* 

International full-time students: £17,600 p/a

International part-time students: £8,800 p/a

All fees are subject to annual increase.

PhD by Publication

External Candidates £4,407 p/a*

Members of Staff £1,720 p/a*

If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021. 

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in a relevant subject area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Sassan Hafizi ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Biomedical, Biomolecular and Pharmacy’ as the subject area. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote the project title when applying.

October start

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February start

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