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Research opportunities in the School of Biological Sciences


The School specialises in the areas listed below. Visit the School research pages and School academic staff pages for further details.

Candidates seeking entry onto PhD and other research degrees are encouraged to present research proposals related to these areas of specialism.

Animal Physiology, Behaviour and Conservation with specialisations in:

  • Environmental modulation of growth and protein turnover
  • Morphological and physiological adaptations that underlie inter- and intra-specific differences in animal locomotor abilities
  • Energetic costs involved in different behaviours, especially flight
  • Use of miniature archival data loggers to measure GPS position, heart rate and accelerometry in free-ranging animals.
  • Neuroendocrinology and neurogenetics of crustacean ecdysis
  • Understanding variation in prey behaviour in response to predation risk and environmental change
  • Invasive species control, conservation policy, antipredator behaviour, territoriality and prey preferences
  • Behavioural ecology of threatened species
  • Physiological adjustments of aquatic organisms to environmental change (temperature, oxygen levels, salinity and ocean acidification), and associated energetic costs

Biogeochemistry and Plant Science, with specialisations in:

  • Biogeochemistry of iron, sulfur and carbon in extremely acidic environments
  • Effects of climate change and eutrophication on drinking water quality
  • Effects of climate change and eutrophication on high carbon storage intensity aquatic ecosystems (wetlands and lakes)
  • Establishing microbial pathways and microbial contributions in cycling biogenic elements (e.g. carbon), in ruminants, soil and in marine systems
  • Genetic modification of crop plants in order to increase disease resistance (e.g. potato and tomato)
  • Molecular approaches to reduce decomposition rates of peatland plants and therefore increase carbon sequestration rates
  • Use of constructed wetland to purify wastewaters and increase habitat quality

Cancer Biology and Neuroscience, with specialisations in:

  • Genome stability mediated by DNA repair mechanisms and by the E3 ubiquitin ligase CRL4Cdt2
  • The role of DNA repair in providing resistance to Topoisomerase poisons (e.g. Irinotecan, Etoposide) and nucleoside analogues (e.g. Gemcitabine, Ara-C)
  • Role and maintenance of cancer stem-like cells in colorectal tumours
  • DNA Damage Responses – novel elements and variants of known regulators in human cells and fission yeast
  • Crustacean neuroendocrinology and neurogenetics
  • Hormonal control of arthropod ecdysis
  • Using the central nervous system of the fruit fly, Drosophila, as a model to analyse the cellular and molecular mechanisms of nervous system development and disease

Microbiology, Parasitology and Biotechnology, with specialisations in:

  • Metagenomic analysis of extreme marine environments and further microbial habitats rich in industrially-relevant enzymes, e.g. gastrointestinal tracts of plant biomass-depleting animals and on their prospecting for new enzymatic activities
  • Genome and OMICS studies and applications of marine hydrocarbon-degrading bacteria
  • Characterizing microbial polysaccharide (lignocellulose) decomposition in terrestrial, aquatic and managed environments and the biotechnological application of novel glycosyl hydrolase enzymes. Isolation and cultivation of novel cellulolytic bacterial strains
  • Sources, ecology and fate of human microbial pathogens (bacterial and viral) in estuarine environments and their interactions with nutrients, suspended particulate material (flocs), sediments and shellfish
  • Functional and genomic analysis of bacterial species associated with Acute Oak Decline
  • Developing improved methods for quantifying the diversity and abundance microbial taxa in the environment
  • Extremophile microbiology – focussing on the diversity and application of microbial life that thrives in extremely acidic environments
  • Biomining – developing new “green” technologies for extracting metals from mineral ores
  • Bioremediation of metal- and acid-contaminated environments, coupled with developing new approaches for recovering and recycling metals from wastes
  • Parasitic and symbiotic mites and lice of humans, primates and other animals, especially follicular mites; biology, microbiology, co-evolution and genomics
  • Endo- and ectosymbiotic bacteria of terrestrial and marine invertebrates; minimal genomes and their application in synthetic biology
  • Molecular parasitology of Leishmannia and Toxoplasma

Molecular Ecology and Evolution, with specialisations in:

  • Evolutionary biology and phylogenetics of fish
  • Discovery and monitoring of species and community diversity using DNA barcoding, metabarcoding and environmental DNA analysis
  • Population structure, genetic diversity and adaptation to changing environments, especially fish and large mammals
  • Traceability and forensics, especially in relation to wildlife conservation and exploited fish
  • Causes and biology of the late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions.
  • Paleogenetics and paleogenomics
  • Development and application of next generation sequencing protocols for sequencing highly degraded DNA
  • Investigation of the functional genomic basis of environmental niche adaptation
  • Venom evolution: understanding the origin and evolution of venoms; evolutionary drivers of venom composition and underlying genetic mechanisms, relevance to snakebite treatment
  • Speciation, natural selection, phylogeny, hybridization and other aspects of evolution in squamates, particularly island lizards, including both natural and invasive species
  • Biogeography and systematics of venomous snakes and other reptiles, species delimitation
  • Invasion genetics
  • Honeybee health and population genetics
  • Ecology of mites and forensic acarology
  • Host-symbiont evolution
  • Developing improved methods for quantifying the diversity and abundance microbial taxa in the environment
  • Molecular microbial ecology of natural and managed environments

Entry requirements

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

Fees & Scholarships

Please take a look at our Fees & Scholarships pages for details.

How to apply

Step 1 – Select your research topic

You have two options with regards the selection of your research topic;

Option 1

Prepare your Research Proposal, based on the research expertise at the School.

Option 2

Occasionally, the University advertises PhD Studentships. Studentships are funded / sponsored PhD placements which cover tuition fees and sometimes living costs, usually for a period of 3 years. They are offered for specific research projects. Studentships are advertised on the University website and Academic Schools’ websites and there is normally a deadline for submitting applications. The terms and conditions of Studentships vary and may become available at different times of the year.

If you are applying for a Studentship, enter the name of the studentship on the application form.

Step 2 – Prepare your documentation

You will need to gather the following documentation to present with your application:

  • Bachelor degree certificate and transcript
  • Masters degree certificate and transcript (if undertaken)
  • English language test certificate (if undertaken)
  • Academic reference / support letter
  • Confirmation of funding / sponsorship (if applicable)
  • Passport
  • Research Proposal (if you are NOT selecting a project from the Directory of PhD opportunities or applying for a Studentship). Click here for guidance about how to write a good research proposal.

Step 3 – Apply Online

International students have two options when applying;

Apply online

Option 1 – Apply online yourself

Option 2 – Apply online with the help of a recruitment agent

  • If you would like help in completing and managing your application you may seek help from one of our authorised representatives or agents. To see a list of our representatives for your country please visit the Country pages.

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.

When do I Apply?

You can apply at any time of the year.

It is possible to start a PhD degree at any point in the year at most academic Schools, subject to agreement with the supervisor.

We advise that you submit your application in enough time to:

  • organise funding
  • undertake an English course
  • obtain documents such as transcripts and references required for meeting the conditions of the offer
  • apply for a visa
  • make accommodation arrangements

Further information

Admission related queries

If you need any assitance in completing your application, contact the International Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1248 382028 or email