Microbial and Cellular Sciences PhD

As a microbiologist, I have found the laboratory facilities and equipment to be first class throughout my PhD. My supervisors have proved invaluable and make every effort to ensure I am both content and on the right track with my project.

Daniel Griffin PhD Microbial and Cellular Sciences

Why Surrey?

The School of Biosciences and Medicine is home to a vibrant research community and has well-established collaborations with industry and clinical practice. 

Programme overview

The aim of the Department of Microbial and Cellular Sciences is to study biological processes in micro-organisms and eukaryotic cells at the physiological and molecular level. Our academics are engaged in research relating to microbial bioproduct formation, cancer, vaccine biology, immunology, cell biology, and bacterial and viral pathogenesis in humans and animals.

Microbes currently under investigation include the Mycobacteria, Streptomyces, Neisseria, Escherichia coli, Vibrio and Campylobacter, as well as viruses and yeast.  

Virology studies centre around interactions with the host ribosomal apparatus and are augmented by fundamental work on the translational apparatus of eukaryotic cells. We specialise in studies employing an integrated systems biology approach encompassing laboratory and computational investigation.

Research facilities and equipment

We have access to a number of core technologies and instruments to carry out our research. This includes facilities for:

  • Functional genomics (microarray, sequencing, genomics, transcriptomics)
  • Computational biology/bioinformatics (data mining, systems biology, pathway modelling, fluxomics)
  • Proteomics (2D-PAGE, ICAT, MudPit, MALDI-TOF)
  • Metabolomics (GC-MS-MS, GC-MS, LC-MS)
  • BIOLOG and bio-imaging (laser scanning confocal and fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, in situ hybridisation)

PhD overview

As a PhD student at Surrey, you’ll receive individual tuition in your specialist field, as well as tailored research training. We specialise in studies employing an integrated systems biology approach encompassing clinical, laboratory and computational investigation.

Close links with industry and clinical practice are encouraged, and many of our projects are directly sponsored by industry.

At the core of our PhD programmes are the regular meetings that you will have with your supervisors. In the first year, you will – with the guidance and support of your supervisors – lay the foundations of your research by learning techniques, planning the structure of your work and starting to gather data, based on an agreed timetable. Your supervisors will guide you on how to present at conferences and on the process of getting research data published.

PhD students are initially registered for a probationary period and proceed to full PhD registration after one year, subject to a successful confirmation report and viva voce exam. The research towards a PhD normally takes approximately three years, with a further year to write the PhD thesis and take the viva voce exam.

Research areas

  • Cancer, including embryonic gene targeting, viral and gene cancer therapies, biomarkers and clinical trials
  • Infectious diseases, including mycobacterial and meningococcal disease, zoonotic diseases, RNA enteric viruses, viral and bacterial veterinary pathogens
  • Computational and systems biology

Recent projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Pathogenesis of bacterial and viral infections
  • Novel vaccines against tuberculosis
  • The creation of whole genome computational models of bacterial metabolism
  • Biotechnology for microbial fuel cells and antibiotic production


Every year we offer a number of funded studentships. These are advertised on the Faculty Graduate School website as and when they become available.

Research award

All postgraduate researchers are eligible for the University’s Postgraduate Student of the Year award.

Related research areas

Related departments/schools

Programme facts

Type of programme:


Programme length:

  • Full-time: 30-48 months
  • Part-time: 60-96 months

Start date:

October, January, April, July


Postgraduate Admissions Enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 682 222


Entry Requirements

Candidates should have a good honours degree (upper second) in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or industry may be acceptable. Enthusiasm for, and commitment to, independent study is essential, as is a good command of the English language. Please contact the Faculty Graduate School to discuss your experience and qualifications.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 7.0

IELTS minimum by component: 6.5

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.


Study mode UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time £4,120 £17,500
Part-time £2,060 £8,750

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/17 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

Overseas students applying for 2016 entry should please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Researcher Development Programme

Our researcher development programme provides a range of workshops and support mechanisms for our postgraduate researchers.

More info

Contact Us

General Enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681


Our academic staff

Upcoming Events