Research opportunities in the School of Medical Sciences


The School of Medical Sciences have a range of fundamental research programmes ongoing that are ultimately aimed at developing a knowledge base that will drive the treatment and management regimes of the future. Research interests within the School range from trying to understand the complexities of human cancers and stem cell biology through to addressing the challenges of microbial-mediated disease, with a strong focus on cancer biology and genetics in the North West Cancer Research Institute.


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.

Alternatively, candidates may undertake a research degree in a topic specified by the School. Visit the ‘Research Projects’ section for details of these topics.

  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Inflammatory arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Behavioural (cognitive) neurology
  • Sensorimotor integration (on eye and limb movements)
  • Higher order sensory processing
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • 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
  • 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
  • Diabetes and vascular disease

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

Candidates wishing to research any of the projects listed in this section should apply as follows:

  • International candidates requiring a pre-sessional English course will be enrolled on a Combined English / Study Skills and Research Course at the University before starting the PhD degree. The research proposal will be developed and written when enrolled on this course.
  • UK nationals or European and International candidates who have already reached the level of English required for entry should present a relevant research proposal when applying for admission.

Alternatively candidates may present a research proposal related to the research expertise & specialisms within the School. Please refer to the 'Apply' section for further details.

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

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 three 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

Select a research project from the Directory for PhD opportunities (Also available as a PDF document). Enter the name of the project and the name of the supervisor on the application form. The ‘Research Project’ route is delivered in two parts:

  • Part 1: A Combined English / Study Skills and Research Proposal course. This is when you will write a research proposal based on the selected research project. Duration is up to 1 year, dependent on the English language level.
  • Part 2: The PhD programme.

Option 3

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