Biomedical Research Centre
PhD/MPhil/MSc by research

  • Part-time study available
  • Alternative start dates available
  • International Students can apply

Subject Overview

Research within the Biomedical Research Centre focuses on understanding disease processes (both infectious and non-communicable) and applying this information to understand pathology and develop new or improved diagnostics and treatments. A multidisciplinary approach encompassing medicinal chemistry, rational drug design, pharmacology, physiology, immunology, molecular diagnostics and cell biology underpins the work of the Centre. A research degree in these areas will allow you to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical and related industries. . Further details can be found at  http://www.salford.ac.uk/environment-life-sciences/research/biomedical

Cancer.  

Our work focuses on developing new and improved treatments for cancer, particularly children’s cancers. This research allows you to be involved in a number of scientific disciplines ranging from understanding the molecular and genetic changes that give rise to cancer, biomarkers of disease and response, the design of novel drugs, drug synthesis, testing and analysis, pharmacology and toxicology. Research is supported by Kidscan a charity based at the University.  

Infectious Disease.  

Diseases arising from infection remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. A major focus is on parasitic infection which will allow you to work on aspects of pathology, drug action and diagnostics for malaria, trypanosomiasis and larval cestode infections with emphasis on the implications for both human and animal health. Diagnostics and biomarkers are growth areas of research within the Centre which includes a diagnostic service for human and animal parasitic infections.

The development of drug resistant bacteria is a major problem in clinical medicine. Projects you can undertake include studies on bacterial pathogenicity, the development and spread of antibiotic resistance and in how microbial evolution is driven by interaction with microbial communities and their environments is aimed at tackling this problem.

There is close collaborations with the Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre.

Tissue Fibrosis.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease affects almost 5% of the population. Research within the group will allow you to investigate cellular ‘remodelling’ events in lung fibrosis and evaluate fibrosis reversal strategies.  Fibrosis and response to tissue damage are also important in understanding host-parasite interactions and disease development.

Biotechnology.

Biotechnology is a growth area of research. Work carried out within the Centre will allow you to gain experience in methods used to research the interactions between environment and organism and to understand the molecular interactions of the system. In addition biotechnology approaches are being employed as novel ways of tackling the problem of multidrug-resistant bacteria.

Entry Requirements

For a PhD:

1. A Bachelor’s degree with an Honours classification of Upper Second or First or,

2. A Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s degree or,

3. An academic or professional qualification incorporating study at least comparable to 120 credits at Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) level 7 as so deemed by the College Research and Innovation Committee or,

4. An equivalent level of attainment to (i) above through a combination of certified or experiential learning as so deemed by the College Research and Innovation Committee.

For MSc by Res / MPhil:

1. A Bachelor’s degree with an Honours classification of Upper Second or First or,

2. An academic or professional qualification incorporating study at least comparable to 120 credits at FHEQ level 6, with a level of achievement equivalent to a good Honours degree as so deemed by the College Research and Innovation Committee or,

3. A Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate with a level of achievement equivalent to a good Honours degree or,

4. An equivalent level of attainment to (i) above through a combination of certified or experiential learning as so deemed by the College Research and Innovation Committee.

English requirement for non-UK/ EU students

Overall IELTS score of at least 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any one element.

We offer four entry points – October, January, April and July. Applications can be submitted at any point within the year.

Applicant Profile

You should have a first degree that provides a foundation in the principles of your chosen area of bioscience research. This could include Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Pharmaceutical Science or Medicinal Chemistry.  Evidence of ability to study and critically appraise literature independently is essential and candidates with a Masters qualification are preferred.  

As a student embarking on a postgraduate research degree you will be assigned a supervisory team, to help guide and mentor you throughout your time at the University. However, you are ultimately expected to take responsibility for managing your learning and will be expected to initiate discussions, ask for the help that you need and be proactive in your approach to study.  

All applicants will be required to attend for an interview, or if this is not possible, to be available for an interview by Skype or telephone.

International Students and Students who are Non EU/EEA/UK Nationals - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International Students and student who are not EU, EEA or UK nationals are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.
You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at https://www.gov.uk/academic-technology-approval-scheme with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at application@salford.ac.uk. If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on Salford-ATAS@salford.ac.uk.
You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link: https://www.atas.fco.gov.uk/

Current Student Research

Research Topics

Kamila Schmidt: 1st Year PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA).

Project: Measurement of Volatile Organic Compounds from Cancer Cells

I am a first-year PhD student in the School of Environment & Life Sciences. The aim of my project is to investigate potential cancer biomarkers of childhood cancer. Specifically, I am interested in so-called volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are substances produced (or consumed) by cells in vitro. VOC patterns may be different for normal and cancer cells and the aim of my project is to find such differences. The project involves cell culture and SPME-GC-MS analysis. SPME (solid phase microextraction) is a relatively new extraction technique and currently I am developing a method that will work for my cell cultures. My journey at the University of Salford started when I studied for a Masters in Biotechnology. I really enjoyed the course content and because I was impressed by the professionalism of the teaching staff, I decided to apply for a PhD project here under the GTA (now GTS) scheme. As a GTA, I deal with students on a daily basis during the teaching weeks and I find that working as a lab demonstrator is really a fulfilling experience. The School of Environment & Life Sciences at the University of Salford is a place full of helpful, friendly people. I found here my second home.  

Soran Mohammed: 1st Year PhD student

Project:  Purification and Analysis of Novel Lectins with Activity against Cancer Cells

The people here are extremely friendly and easy to get along with. The academics are also very good and enthusiastic about their subjects, and just as important, they all truly respect their students. In terms of my project, the anti-proliferative and cytotoxic potential of lectins extracted and partially purified from a variety of novel sources will be evaluated against cancer cell lines derived from different human tumours. Furthermore, the properties of selected lectins to bind selectively to cancer cells will be exploited in order to design lectin-fusion proteins that can deliver a toxic peptide or siRNA specifically to the cancer cells. This project will involve a multidisciplinary approach to a topic of much current interest, i.e. how to specifically target emerging biotherapies to cancer cells.  

Ryan Joynson: 2nd Year PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

Project: Metagenomic Analysis of Gut Microbiota of a Lignocellulose Degrading  Gastropod: A Route to Improved Biofuels

I am a GTA in my second year of doctoral studies and my project comes under the biotechnology part of the Research Centre, focusing on the identification of new enzymes that are involved in the sequential degradation into simple sugars of the well protected polysaccharide chains in plant cell walls. The target of my study is the gut environment of a common gastropod whose diet is mostly made up of lignocellulose.  We are studying this in the hope of finding enzymes with high levels of activity across various pH and temperature ranges in order to aid formation of a more robust system of lignocellulose degradation which could provide enough simple sugar feedstock for the biofuel industry. I have really enjoyed my time at Salford University; I’ve learnt a lot, both from experiences in the lab and from the academics here who are always more than happy to help us out. In accordance with my position as a GTA student I have undertaken a laboratory based teaching role over the last two years which has given me valuable experience in Higher Education, one that I have no doubt will give me an edge when applying for future jobs in academia.  

Patrick Killoran: 2nd Year PhD student

Project: Novel oxepines as vascular targeting agents.

I am currently in the 2nd year of my PhD, funded by the children’s cancer charity KidsCan. The aim of my project is to improve the therapeutic effect of a recently discovered anticancer agent. By modifying some of the drug’s components we shall change its shape and therefore its potential interactions with target molecules. This novel drug does not kill a tumour directly but kills the blood supply to the tumour whilst not interfering with the normal blood supply. Unfortunately, this type of compound can cause damage to the heart and children can be particularly sensitive to this type of toxicity. By changing the shape of the drug we aim to reduce or eliminate this cardiac toxicity and I have synthesised and tested a battery of related compounds for their ability to kill cancer cells. My final year will involve developing a method for testing the cardiotoxicity of these compounds. At the end of the project we aim to have an improved drug which shows little or no heart toxicity that would be suitable for clinical development by a pharmaceutical company. I have enjoyed my time here so far and have gained valuable experience teaching students, working in a team and working to deadlines.  

Nanda Ayu Puspita: 3RD Year PhD Student

Project: Natural Products of Phyllanthus niruri L. as New Anti-Platelet Drugs

My research is focused on the isolation of active compounds from the tropical plant, Phyllanthus niruri L. that show potent activity in inhibiting platelet aggregation. To achieve this, I apply various extraction methods from traditional procedures to advanced methods such as HPLC. The work is also supported by various analytical instruments that are available in the Biomedical Research Centre. Working on human platelets has also given me valuable experience to develop and use a bioassay for platelet aggregation, which is new to our group. It has also introduced me to the field of proteomics, which I use to understand how the plant extracts alter the protein expression on platelets upon activation. During my PhD I have attended numerous training courses and conferences within the University of Salford, which have given me the opportunity to improve my research and presentation skills. I have always had the full support of my supervisors, colleagues and other academics while doing my project. Finally, being a PhD student in School of Environment & Life Sciences has been a wonderful and valuable moment in my academic life.

Assessment Links

As a postgraduate research student at the University of Salford, you are required to meet a number of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These ‘progression points’ are an important aid for both you and your supervisory team and it is essential that you complete them on time.  

Learning Agreement:  this is completed by you and your supervisor collaboratively in the first 3 months of your research programme. It encourages both of you to develop a thorough and consistent understanding of your individual and shared roles and responsibilities in your research partnership.

Interim Assessment: this is an assessment of your progress by a panel. It takes place towards the end of your first year (FT), and is designed to ensure you have reached a threshold of academic performance, by assessing your general progress. The assessment comprises a written report of approximately 4000 words and an oral examination by a Panel. You must successfully complete it in order to register for your second year.  

Internal Evaluation: this will take place towards the end of the second year (FT) and successful completion is required in order to continue onto your third year of study. You will be expected to show strong progress in your PhD study reflected in the submission of a substantial piece of work of approximately 15.000 words, generally at least 1 chapter of your thesis.  

Annual Progress Report:  this report is completed by your supervisor at the end of each year of study, and reports on your achievements in the past year, the likelihood that you will submit on time, confirmation of the Learning Agreement and relevant training undertaken.  

Self Evaluation Report: this is completed by you at the end of each year of study. It asks you to comment on your academic progress, supervisory arrangements, research environment, research training, and relevant training undertaken.  

Research Profile

Research Excellence

Within the Biomedical Research Centre each area of research areas is led by experienced researchers whose expertise has international recognition. All our researchers publish their research in peer reviewed internationally recognised journals and are they regularly invited to speak at international conferences. They lead on a wide range of established collaborations with UK, international academic and industry partners.

The research areas within the Centre are:

  • Cancer
  • Infectious disease
  • Tissue fibrous
  • iotechnology

For details of the latest research projects on offer from academic members of the Biomedical Research Centre.

Staff Profiles

For full details on our research staff please follow the links below:

Associate members

Employability

Career Prospects

Students leaving the School with a postgraduate research degree are well placed to lead and manage research and development activities in a number of areas. This includes academia where graduates go on to ‘postdoc’ in their area of expertise or in an unrelated area where the skills they have acquired can still be put to good use. A PhD followed by one or more successful postdocs is the usual prerequisite for an academic career. Other graduates go to work in industry in companies based around the globe. For example, one recent graduate is working as a patent examiner in Japan for Shusaku Yamamoto, one of the largest one-stop solution intellectual property, technology and related commercial law firms in Japan, while another has just joined Pharmatronic AG in Basel, Switzerland in the area of quality control.  Other, international graduates, return to their employer where their PhD from Salford will greatly enhance their career prospects within their organisation.

Alumni Profiles

Nicole Dodd

PhD: ‘An investigation in the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife species’.

I carried out my PGR degree at the University of Salford in molecular parasitology under the supervision of Professor Geoff Hide.  This research investigated the relative importance of congenital transmission of Toxoplasma gondii in wildlife cycles using molecular techniques. I enjoyed my time at the University of Salford immensely and received a lot of support and encouragement throughout my PhD. I had become a confident, independent, researcher by the time I had finished and decided to progress into postdoctoral research.  I wanted to gain experience abroad and applied for, and obtained, a postdoctoral position in Prague in molecular pathogenetics.  A PhD in a related field and a strong background in molecular biology were required for this position.  I am currently 5 months into my postdoc at the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic. My research is investigating the role of transcription factor interactions in neurosensory development.  This is a really excellent position with advanced training in the latest molecular techniques and also includes 3 month training in the USA. My training as PGR student at Salford gave me with the opportunity to apply for this position and provided me with excellent grounding for this research.  

Barrie Anthony

PhD graduate in Molecular Parasitology.

While at Salford I investigated how eggs of a human trematode parasite influenced human liver cells with regard to pathology. This involved learning many different laboratory skills which allowed me to study phenotypic changes in the cells after co-culture with parasite eggs. This work was unique and demonstrated that the parasite can influence pathology and limit the effects of an overzealous host response. Upon completion of my PhD I contacted a laboratory based in the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, which had similar research interests to the work I undertook during my PhD. They were very impressed with the research carried out and it complemented their work very closely. They worked on a different species of the parasite and were interested to know if there were any differences in the way it interacted with the host liver compared to the species I studied at Salford. As a result, they offered me a 3 year postdoctoral contract there, which I have just completed. This allowed me to carry on the work started at Salford and has resulted in the publication of several papers in the scientific literature.  

Thomas Roedl

PhD: Investigating the biological role of human NEIL3

Studying Biochemistry (BSc Hons) at the University of Salford allowed me to gain essential knowledge in areas such as microbiology, biotechnology and drugs & disease, which were taught by experienced research active academics and invited speakers from industry. This enabled me to grasp the reality of a job in bioscience and this, along with an interesting and challenging final year project, motivated me to apply for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (now GTS) at Salford. After three years of very innovative and fascinating studies in the field of DNA repair, I recently completed my doctoral studies and left Salford as a PhD in Biology. Because I gained a range of practical skills through my studies and by teaching interdisciplinary topics as part of the GTA, I was able to choose my career from a wide variety of opportunities. Thus, I have recently accepted a post in the pharmaceutical industry to validate and quality control different processes in production. During my time at Salford I learned the discipline for quality that is an essential part of this job and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to study at this University, which always supported me as an individual and helped me to integrate easily into student life.

Industry Links

Research within the Biomedical Research Centre focuses on both basic and applied research.  Collaboration with both industry and academic partners is encouraged which can allow students to experience research in an industrial environment. OncoNX, a spin out company formed to exploit potential novel cancer therapies developed within the University, is an example of how research is translated from an idea to a commercial company.  Cestode Diagnostics is a commercial enterprise unit set up within the University of Salford and provides a unique, accurate and reliable service for scientists, researchers, hospitals, governmental bodies etc with a diagnostic interest in parasitic zoonoses, i.e. parasitic infections transmitted from animals to humans.  Kidscan is an independent charity based at the University of Salford which funds research into new and improved treatments for children with cancer. In addition most researchers have collaborative links with Universities and Research Centres throughout the world which offers opportunities  for exchange visits for both students and staff.

Facilities

Up to date and well equipped bioscience research labs, most recently refurbished in 2010. Includes facilities for mammalian cell culture, parasitology, immunology, microbiology and molecular biology.