Entry requirements

Applicants must hold, or expect to obtain, a first-class or upper second-class degree in the physical sciences, or will have obtained more than 50% of their course credits from physical sciences modules, from a recognised academic institution. 

These studentships are restricted to "UK students". Non-UK and non-EU students are welcome to apply if they are able to self-fund the four-year programme. 

  • UK students are defined as having the settled status in the UK (no restrictions on how long they can stay), and having been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship, as well as, for non-EU nationals, not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education
  • Exception: we do have a small studentship proportion for EU nationals that have not been ordinarily residing in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the studentship, however, these are extremely competitive and once filled, you may be turned down based on your fee status (EU fee status)

Currently Available Studentships at the ICB CDT

5 | Video-rate volumetric light sheet microscopy for studying the interaction of induced pluripotent stem cell ...

This 4 year fully funded studentship is part of the Institute of Chemical Biology Centre for Doctoral Training and co-funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre for Research Excellence.

Studentship 5 |  Video-rate volumetric light sheet microscopy for studying the interaction of induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes with mature cardiac tissue

Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) derived cardiomycotes are an emerging therapy for the failing heart that have the potential to rejuvenate areas of heart tissue that have been damaged during heart attack. However, the integration of these new cells into the existing tissue and their subsequent function is hard to study using microscopy techniques that acquire images in only two dimensions. This project aims to use novel light sheet-based microscopy technology developed in the Photonics Group in the Department of Physics to study how iPS cells interact and integrate with mature cardiac tissue. The new microscopy technology enables video-rate 3D fluorescence imaging and is therefore ideally suited to studying the highly dynamic interactions between the iPS cells and the cardiac tissue in an ex vivo model system. Changes in intracellular calcium concentration and trans-membrane voltage will be studied in 3D at video-rate as the wave-front of depolarization induced by electrical pacing spreads across and around the host and grafted tissue.  Impulse propagation and induced cell contraction will be recorded in 3D to learn about the interaction of the iPS cells with their mature neighbours.  Through these experiments, we will test if action potential duration dispersion and dys-synchrony of Ca2+ release (an index of excitation contraction (EC) coupling) is promoted by stem cell addition.

Dr Chris Dunsby | Dr Kenneth MacLeod | Prof Sian Harding

 

6 | Predictive modeling of ICAM-1 repression by Erg; Designing therapeutic Erg mimetics using computational modelling

This 4 year fully funded studentship is part of the Institute of Chemical Biology Centre for Doctoral Training and co-funded by the British Heart Foundation Centre for Research Excellence.

Studentship 6 | Predictive modeling of ICAM-1 repression by Erg; Designing therapeutic Erg mimetics using computational modelling

Endothelial cells (EC) lining blood vessels play an important role in health and disease by regulating key vascular functions, including permeability, hemostasis/thrombosis, inflammation and angiogenesis. The ETS transcription factor, Erg, is highly expressed in endothelial cells, and functions as a ‘master-regulator’ of endothelial homeostasis. Erg acts as both an activator and repressor of homeostatic and proÔÇÉinflammatory genes, respectively. In healthy endothelium, Erg represses expression of pro-inflammatory genes. A unique mechanism has been identified whereby Erg represses ICAM-1 activation by preventing the transcription factor NFκB-p65 binding to the ICAM-1 promoter. Notably, Erg’s expression is lost in activated endothelium over human coronary atherosclerotic plaques. Thus Erg represents a promising target to restore endothelial homeostasis and prevent vascular disease. The complexity of transcription factor signaling has meant they are traditionally considered too difficult to target therapeutically. Preliminary studies using state-of-the-art molecular dynamics simulations  have been performed in our group to generate a model of Erg protein structure. In this project, we aim to take these studies forward and model molecular interactions  to validate binding motifs within the promoter of ICAM-1 for Erg and NF-κB-p65. Furthermore, Erg isoforms and a putative Erg inhibitor, YK-4-279, will be used in silico, and in cellular in vitro models to validate our findings. This multi-disciplinary project aims to unveil the molecular interactions between Erg, NFκB-p65 and the ICAM-1 promoter to identify key structural and conformational determinants, providing us with the tools to design selective Erg compounds.

Dr Ian Gould | Prof Anna Randi

 

9 | Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Small Molecule Interactions with Biological Materials

This 4 year fully funded studentship is part of the Institute of Chemical Biology Centre for Doctoral Training and co-funded by Proctor & Gamble.

Studentship 9 | Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Small Molecule Interactions with Biological Materials

Materials such as cotton, hair, skin, wood and foods are biological materials with complex hierarchical structures, including significant levels of amorphous molecular disorder. As is common with materials of a biological origin, these materials are all hydrophilic & hygroscopic. Cellular biological materials are ubiquitous in our world, yet surprisingly, how they interact with small molecules is poorly understood. Such molecules can be delivered by liquid or gas phases and include perfume and malodour molecules, moisture, pesticides, drugs, VOC’s and pollutants, as well as solvents to name but a few relevant species. The molecular interactions of these molecules with complex biological materials forms the basis of a range of important research questions in the domains of consumer products, environmental science, food research, drug delivery and cellular science.


This project will investigate using a range of vapour solids characterization techniques, both the kinetics and thermodynamics of the interactions of small molecules with selected biological materials substrates including cotton, hair, skin and food materials. Current research techniques are unable easily to differentiate between surface adsorption and bulk sorption of molecules by the substrates, and on the whole only provide a quantitative understanding of the small molecule binding processes.  Recent developments in IGC (inverse gas chromatography) and DVS (dynamic vapor sorption) have indicated that these new vapour sorption characterization tools are very promising ways to obtain the highest quality thermodynamic and kinetics descriptors for small molecule vapour interactions with all types of solids. Such physicochemical descriptors are not only practically useful and relevant, but can be used to developing predictive models for these molecular interactions.  The flexibility on the types of samples studied, accurate control of both environmental temperature and humidity makes these types of techniques highly advantageous for conducting measurements in real world test conditions, eg those experienced by patients, manufacturers, consumers.  This work will be complemented by NMR and SAXS studies on these biological materials (Ces and Law) which have been exposed to selected vapours including water. Solid state NMR and SAXS will provide detailed structural and relaxation information, allowing structural changes to be correlated with vapour sorption data.

Dr Daryl Williams | Prof Oscar Ces | Dr Rob Law

How to apply

You may want to first explore the 'Guidance on how to apply' section, which explains the process of applying to Imperial College. Thereafter, please apply for these studentships via the 'apply online now' button which will take you to the official Imperial College application site. 

Select the F1ICB programme in the Postgraduate Programme Search - Chemical Biology: Multi-Disciplinary Physical Scientists (1plus3) (MRes 1YFT + PhD 3YFT)|F1ICB|1|SK|FT|CN)

Please clearly indicate in the Supporting Document section and Personal Statement, which studentship (or several) you are applying to.