FHMS Studentships and Scholarships

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey offers studentships and scholarships in conjunction with industry to support students through their research.  

Details of current studentships and scholarships are listed below:

Mechanistic Constraints on the Acquisition of Variation in Viruses


PhD supervisor: Dr C Maluquer de Motes

Co-supervisor: Dr D Ulaeto

Application deadline: Thursday July 17th, 2014

Interviews: 21 July 2014

Start date: 1 October 2014

Apply here

An EPSRC CASE Ph.D. studentship is offered for a project on “Mechanistic Constraints on the Acquisition of Variation in Viruses”. As obligate parasites viruses adapt to the surrounding environment and evade host responses by mutation. Variability is most commonly assessed at the level of gene sequence variation. To what degree this is limited by constraints on genome structure is poorly understood, especially for DNA viruses.

The project will examine the extent to which the structure and architecture of a virus genome imposes stability and limits the degree to which it can mutate or acquire variation. The student will alter the relationships between a number of vaccinia virus genes by directed switching of promoter/control sequences between the genes. Recombinant viruses in which the promoter sequences are altered will be assessed for the predicted modulation of temporal expression, and this will be correlated with observed modulation of the functional relationship in terms of virion structure; efficiency of assembly; growth kinetics; and efficiency of in vitro dissemination.

This exciting project will determine novel parameters in the acquisition of variation in viruses, and provide invaluable data for metagenomics analysis and the rational design of antivirals.

The proposed work will utilise state-of-the-art techniques for cell culture, cloning, virology, protein biology and flow cytometry, with the possibility of exploring next generation transcriptomics and genomics. It will be carried out in the Department of Microbial & Cellular Sciences in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (FHMS) at University of Surrey, Guildford, with a minimum of 3 months’ placement at the industrial partner laboratory (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down).

During the course of the project, it is expected that the successful candidate will develop skills to become an independent researcher and to design and interpret his/her own experiments. In addition, the candidate will be able to take advantage of the University of Surrey training programmes on communication and presentation skills.

Funding information 

The EPSRC CASE studentship provides a 3.5-year stipend (£14,863 per annum), approved University of Surrey fees and a consumables budget. Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a first or upper second class UK honours degree in an appropriate area (e.g. microbiology, biology, biochemistry). MSc and/or research experience is preferred, but not essential.

Only UK nationals are eligible for this studentship.


What is the role of the polysaccharide storage compound glycogen in the life cycle of Mycobacterium tuberculosis?

Primary supervisor: Dr Dany JV Beste

Application deadline: All year round

With the average daily death toll from tuberculosis at 4,500 and one third of the world is estimated to harbour the causative agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis asymptomatically the worldwide burden of this disease is overwhelming. Current drug therapies are being undermined by the worldwide spread of multi, extensively and even completely drug resistant strains making finding new drugs a priority. Glycogen and trehalose metabolism has been highlighted as a potentially fruitful area for anti-TB drug targets. Classically in bacteria these carbohydrates are used for storage of carbon but in M. tuberculosis they are also incorporated into important cell wall lipids critical to the virulence of this pathogen. Over accumulation of an alternative storage carbohydrate triacylglyceride has been associated with slow growth and drug tolerance but the impact of glycogen storage on the metabolism, physiology and antibiotic tolerance of M. tuberculosis has yet to be investigated. This PhD project aims to generate M. tuberculosis mutants which over and under produce glycogen and then use the tools of systems biology to explore the metabolic and physiological phenotype of these mutants in-vitro and also ex-vivo in human host cells. The findings will not only advance our knowledge about the metabolic strategy used by M. tuberculosis but could also aid in the development of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs.  

The project is suitable for a candidate with a background in microbiology and related disciplines and an interest in microbial metabolism. You also need to meet the entry requirements of the University if Surrey where this PhD will be based. Please address any enquiries to d.beste@surrey.ac.uk.

Funding Information
This is available to self-funded students and the candidate is required to cover cost of living and registration with the University of Surrey www.surrey.ac.uk in addition to bench fees of £10,000 per year.

Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008 Results

Unit of Assessment : Allied Health Professions and studies
FTE Category A submitted4*3*2*1*Unclassified
61.65 %20%40%35%5%0%

Subject areas

Biological and Medical Sciences
- Biochemistry
- Microbiology
- Molecular biology
- Systems biology


The emerging role of cardiac fibroblasts in heart physiology and pathology

Primary supervisor: Dr Patrizia Camelliti 

The heart is made up of many different cell types – myocytes which enable contraction, vascular cells which construct the blood supply network and fibroblasts which are traditionally thought to provide structural support.  In recent years, however, it has become clear that fibroblasts are not just a passive structural scaffold, but play an active role in heart function, particularly in disease where they become activated and their number increase to >70% of all heart cells. This PhD project will investigate the so far under explored mechanisms through which fibroblasts communicate with the myocytes and affect cardiac function in the normal heart and in response to cardiac diseases. The novel and exciting approach has the potential to identify new therapeutic targets which manipulate fibroblast contribution to heart function in disease.

You will be trained in cardiac electrophysiology, tissue engineering, molecular biology and advanced imaging methods. The main methodologies used in this project will be cell culture, western blotting, quantitative real-time PCR, ELISA, immunofluorescence, confocal microscopy, and multicellular electrophysiology methods including multi-electrode arrays and optical mapping.

You will be part of the Cardiovascular Research Group at the University of Surrey and will be involved in close collaborations with a number of other internationally recognised research groups at the University of Oxford, University College London and Washington University in St Louis. You will be encouraged to spend research visits in the above Institutions and present work at various national and international meetings.

For further information please contact Dr Patrizia Camelliti (p.camelliti@surrey.ac.uk)

Interested candidates should apply through the university website. Applicants should have a MSc degree or an upper second class degree.

Funding Information
This is available to self-funded students


Kohl P & Camelliti P. Fibroblast-myocyte connections in the heart. Heart Rhythm. 2012; 9:461-4.
Vasquez C, Mohandas P, Louie KL, Benamer N, Bapat AC, Morley GE. Enhanced fibroblast-myocyte interactions in response to cardiac injury. Circulation Research. 2010; 107(8):1011-20.
Camelliti P, Gallagher JO, Kohl P & McCulloch A. Micropatterned cell cultures on elastic membranes as an in vitro model of myocardium. Nature Protocols. 2006; 1:1379-1391.
Camelliti P, Borg TK, Kohl P. Structural and functional characterisation of cardiac fibroblasts. Cardiovasc Res. 2005; 65(1):40-51.

How to Apply

If you are interested in applying for a PhD or MD, please see the 'Programmes and How to Apply' section of the Graduate School Homepage or access our online application form.

Useful Links

Postgraduate Life at Surrey

To find out more about life as a postgraduate at Surrey, as a prospective or current student, visit the postgraduate pages.

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