Medical Sciences PhD/MPhil


Course facts

  • Name: Medical Sciences
  • Qualification: PhD/MPhil

The School of Medical Sciences is always interested to hear from prospective PhD students who have, or are interested in applying for, funding.

Research Areas

Medical Sciences with specialisations in:

  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Behavioural neurology
  • Sensorimotor integration (on eye and limb movements)
  • Higher order sensory processing
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Cardiac imaging using fMRI
  • Developing the use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Rendering
  • Effects of antipsychotic medication on neutrophil morphology and oxidative stress
  • Use of Quantitive Structural Activity Relations in cellular responses to antipsychotics
  • History of Medicine
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia and neurodegenerative diseases
  • Evidence based healthcare
  • Translation of research evidence to practice
  • Patient reported outcome following hip replacement surgery
  • Smell and taste pathophysiology, assessment and management
  • Assessment of Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
  • Transnasal fibreoptic flexible laryngo oesophagoscopy
  • Dizziness assessment and treatment
  • Catabolic effects of rheumatic diseases and effect on muscle mass and function
  • Autoimmune rheumatic diseases - prognosis, and assessment of treatment
  • Assessment of novel anti rheumatic treatment
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Sports and exercise medicine
  • Cardiac imaging and intervention
  • Cortical processes and cardiovascular
  • output
  • Cardiology and nuclear medicine
  • Clinical research into the assessment and development of new anti-cancer drugs
  • Assessment of the effects of chemotherapy
  • Intensive care medicine
  • Chronic disease patient care
  • Cardio-vascular risk factors in the severely mentally ill
  • Genetic predictors of antidepressant response
  • Mental illness in primary care patients
  • Diabetes and vascular disease

Basic Medical Research:

  • The genetics and molecular aeteology of cancer development / oncogenesis
  • Molecular mechanisms of disease related DNA repair pathways
  • The molecular basis of the cell division cycle (using human cells and model systems)
  • The molecular basis of cancer drug resistance
  • Molecular mechanisms of chromosomal translocations Molecular regulation of telomere biology
  • The role of human germ line genes in cancer development
  • The identification of new cancer-specific drug targets
  • The development of patient stratification strategies
  • Human stem cell biology
  • Human cancer stem cell biology
  • The molecular basis for human gut homeostasis
  • Molecular cancer immunology
  • Molecular autoimmunity 

A list of academic staff within the School of Medical Sciences can be found here, alternatively, contact with an outline of your research proposal, including actual or prospective funding, and an appropriate academic will be identified within the school.


Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.

Research project opportunities

Please note the research project opportunities detailed here are NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

If you are a European or International student this research programme is one of those which allows you to develop a research project proposal as an initial and integral part of a Combined English / Study Skills and Research Course at the University before starting the PhD/MPhil degree.

European and International candidates who have already reached the required level of English can apply for entry onto the project of their choice by presenting a relevant research proposal when applying for admission.

Alternatively you may also consider developing your own research proposal based on the research specialisms within the school.

The opportunities which are currently available are outlined below.

Cancer cell metabolism

Supervisor: Dr Rita Cha

T: +44 (0)1248 382865

E: r.cha@bangor

A hallmark of cancer cells is uncontrolled growth, reproducing themselves over and over again within the body. We are investigating how cancer cells synthesize the building blocks necessary for generating a new cancer cell. Our long-term aim is to utilize the knowledge to find a way to stop cancer cell proliferation.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

DNA repair in the model organism fission yeast

Supervisor: Dr Oliver Fleck

T: +44 (0)1248 388189


We are interested in genome stability, particularly nucleotide excision repair (NER), and mismatch repair (MMR), using the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as model. Our PhD projects address the function of various MMR proteins in stability of repetitive DNA and of NER factors in repair of DNA adducts caused by chemotherapeutic agents. Both aspects are important for understanding of the mechanisms that can prevent certain types of cancer. In addition, the status of MMR and NER factors play a role as prognostic markers in cancer treatment.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Management of peripheral vascular disease / Management of diabetic foot disease / Management of Chronic wounds

Supervisor: Mr Dean Williams

T: +44 (0) 1248 388787 E:

Atherosclerosis, lower limb ulceration and diabetic foot disease are major causes of limb loss and mortality. Although there is a positive correlation between a multidisciplinary approach and its impact on preventing loss of limb, what is less clear is the specific areas that have influenced those outcomes. These related areas of interest have potentially major clinical implications.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Molecular characterisation of the roles of autoantigens in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Supervisor: Dr David Pryce

T: +44 (0) 1248 382363

Chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is a form of blood cancer, which according to global trends, is steadily increasing in both incidence and prevalence. The discovery of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) - highly specific drugs that inhibit CML progression - has profoundly reduced CML-dependent mortality, from an annual rate of 10-20%, to approximately 2%. However, several issues still remain with the clinical effectiveness of TKI-based therapies; mainly they are rarely curative, patients may experience severe side effects, but treatment withdrawal almost invariably leads to disease relapse, and they require a considerable financial commitment for long-term treatment. Research into enhancing current and developing new alternative treatment options is therefore vital to sustain long-term CML treatment strategies. The PhD research projects in my laboratory are focusing on the characterising the roles of ‘autoantigens’ in CML development and progression, with the aim of developing new biomarkers and/or immuno therapeutic targets for CML diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Novel Regulators of Genome Stability

Supervisor: Dr Chris Staples

T: +44 (0) 1248 388776

Genome maintenance and DNA repair are essential tumour-suppressing processes. Though many genome stability and DNA repair factors are extensively characterised, research in my lab has uncovered a number of completely unstudied proteins that prevent the accumulation of DNA damage in human cells including a novel DNA repair factor. My work focuses on figuring out what these factors are, what other proteins they bind to and how they protect the human genome. This in turn leads to more in-depth analysis of the roles of these proteins in cancer biology and studies determining their relevance to patient treatment regimes and ultimately survival.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Novel Roles of the DNA Damage Checkpoint Proteins in the Regulation of Glucose Metabolism and Diabetes

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Caspari

T: +44 (0) 1248 382526


Diabetes type II is a growing health concern in many countries. Exciting new work in my group revealed novel activities of the DNA damage checkpoint kinases ATR, ATM, Chk1 and Chk2 in the response to glucose limitation. This is also of high importance since these genome maintenance pathways act under low glucose concentrations in many cancers as malignant cells have up to 10-times less glucose available compared to healthy cells.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Stem cell/germ cell genes in cancer: clinical and functional roles

Supervisor: Dr. Ramsay McFarlane

T: +44 (0) 1248 382360


The process of oncogenesis is a complex multifaceted process. Cells undergo changes to their genomic structure and the transcriptional landscape. We have identified a group of genes are normally only active in human stem cells and germ cell, but become activated in cancers. We believe that they have excellent clinical potential as drug targets and for patient stratification. We are currently focussing on a few of these to determine their function in cancer cells, stem cells with a particular interest in how they might control of genome dynamics.  

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Stem cells and differentiation in normal and cancer cells of the gut

Supervisor: Dr. Jane Wakeman

T: +44 (0)1248 382341


Normal homeostasis of adult intestinal epithelium and repair following tissue damage is maintained by a balance of stem and differentiated cells. Mutations in stem cells of the gut are known to cause cancer, as such it is important that we know and understand the processes required to form and maintain stem cells and cancerous stem cells of the gut. We are investigating the role of a small population of gut cells, known as enteroendocrine cells, which are marked by the presence of a transcription factor known as Brachyury. These cells are secretory cells that are critical for integrating nutrient sensing with metabolic responses, but may also have additional functions in regulating intestinal stem cells or acting as reserve stem cells. Our work aims to understand the role of Brachyury in normal and cancer stem-like cells will serve as a platform for assessment of the molecular processes of intestinal homeostasis that underpins our understanding of human health, cancer and ageing.

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

The role of DNA repair mechanisms in resisting treatment with DNA damaging cancer drugs

Supervisor: Dr Edgar Hartsuiker

T: +44 (0) 1248 382350


DNA damaging cancer drugs are a mainstay of cancer therapy, but it remains unknown which DNA repair pathways contribute to cellular resistance against these drugs. We have identified and are currently characterising various repair mechanisms which resist treatment with topoisomerase poisons (e.g. Irinotecan) and nucleoside analogues (e.g. Gemcitabine).

Please note this research project opportunity is NOT funded by the University. Candidates must secure their own funding to meet the costs of PhD study.

Entry Requirements

International Students

For information and further detailed guidance on entry requirements for International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages on the International Education Centre section of our website.

Ask the IEC for assistance...

If you want advice or a general chat about what’s available contact the International Education Centre on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email


Application advice

Applications for research degrees differ substantially from applications for taught courses such as Masters degrees. Although the application form is the same, the way in which you approach your application can make all the difference.

Applying for a self-funded or externally-funded Research Degree

As with all of our courses, you can apply to fund yourself through a PhD/Mphil at Bangor, or you may already have sourced external funding (e.g. from your employer or government), and we warmly welcome all expressions of interest in so doing. However, rather than simply filling in an application form, there are a few steps that you can take in order that your application stands a greater chance of being successful.

All PhD/Mphil students require supervision from at least one academic member of staff at the University, and if you are considering a PhD/Mphil, you will already have a good idea of the specific area or theme that you want to research. In order to ascertain that we hold sufficient expertise in your chosen topic to provide supervision, you should first look at our staff pages. This will provide you with a breakdown of each staff member’s area of academic focus.

Once you have found a member of staff whose research interests broadly accord with your own, you should contact them directly with a concise research ‘brief’ that outlines your proposal and ask whether s/he would consider supervising your project. If the academic expresses his/her interest, you may then further discuss your ideas and develop a full PhD/Mphil research proposal.

At this stage, you should formally apply online for the PhD/Mphil programme. You should fill the form out thoroughly, including academic references, your research proposal and the name of the academic member of staff under whose supervision you intend the research to be conducted.

Your research proposal

A good research proposal is essential if you are applying for a PhD or MPhil. The proposal should include:

  1. Overview – give a brief abstract of the subject area you wish to research and include information on the key theoretical, policy or empirical debates that will be addressed.
  2. Planning – you need to demonstrate that you are aware of the research timescales and have a plan in place to conduct your work. You need to demonstrate that the research is manageable in the given time period.
  3. Literature references – you need to show that your planned area of research has not been studied before. Provide references to key articles and texts relevant to your area of study.
  4. Methodology – you need to show that you are aware of the methodological tools available and have identified which ones would be suitable for your research.

More advice about preparing a research proposal

Applying for funded PhD studentships advertised by Bangor University

Funded PhD studentship opportunities arise frequently throughout the year, and are advertised as specific opportunities for which you must formally apply. The application process for funded PhD studentships may differ according to the academic School in which the studentship opportunity is held, so please check the relevant School’s homepage and follow the application advice therein. If you are unsure of any part of the application process, please contact the individual School for advice, or e-mail

Online applications can now be made by prospective applicants for all postgraduate taught programmes and postgraduate research programmes at the University (with the exception of the PGCE, Diploma in Occupational Therapy and DClinPsy).

Home/EU students

Apply Online here...

Apply online

  • Please read through the Guidance Notes before you begin the online application form
  • Apply online yourself through our online application system.

Home/EU students with admissions queries please contact...

Postgraduate Admissions:, telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717 or write to:

Postgraduate Admissions Office.
Academic Registry
Bangor University
Gwynedd UK
LL57 2DG

International students

  • Agents: if you are an agent applying on behalf of the student, then you can Apply here.  For further guidance click here

International students with admissions queries please contact...

International Education Office: or write to

International Education Centre
Bangor University
LL57 2DG

Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028

When do I Apply?

The University will accept applications throughout the year. We would generally advise that you submit your application in enough time for you to make any funding and/or accommodation arrangements, and for documents such as transcripts and references to be obtained if not submitted with the application.This will also give you more time to meet any conditions we may potentially attach to an offer (e.g. in the case of overseas students, taking an IELTS or TOEFL test to meet the English Language requirement).

Further information

Next steps