Infection, immunology and inflammation - image from NIAID/Flickr

The Wellcome Trust 4-Year PhD Programme in Theoretical Systems Biology and Bioinformatics

Increasingly, advances in biological and clinical research are becoming critically dependent on the application of mathematical, statistical and computational approaches. 

This 4-year PhD programme, which provides a generous stipend, Home/EU fees and research expenses, is supported by The Wellcome Trust. The programme will provide an exciting training opportunity to acquire multidisciplinary skills to develop and then apply modelling to biological and clinical problems at the molecular and cellular levels.  The programme aims to facilitate discipline hopping into this area and welcomes undergraduates from biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, engineering and computing.   The course will enable you, whatever your first degree, to acquire the breadth of skills to undertake stimulating research using theoretical systems biology and bioinformatics to advance biological and clinical research.

Group of students chattingA key feature of this programme is that you are a member of a cohort of five students in your year and others from previous years who regularly meet. In addition, you will join a large community at Imperial applying modelling to study biological and biomedical problems. We are particularly keen to have a diverse cohort of students.

You will begin your studies by being registered on our highly-successful, year-long MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology. This course starts with a training phase in which you will acquire core biological, computational and mathematics skills and have lectures in bioinformatics and theoretical systems biology. This is followed by three different rotation projects which enable you to discover and experience different modelling methodologies and experimental laboratory environments. These projects will help you make an informed choice towards the end of this year about your PhD project. During the first year you will benefit from working with many other students studying for this MSc.

Please note that because this PhD programme aims to bring students with an undergraduate background in one of the above fields into interdisciplinary research in bioscience and biomedicine, it includes an MSc year. Accordingly, all our students, even if they have a Master’s, take our first year MSc programme before starting their PhD.

The subsequent three PhD years will involve research developing novel theoretical methodologies and applying them to solve biological and biomedical problems. You will have both a theoretical and an experimental supervisor throughout your PhD. You will have an opportunity to spend time with the experimental group so you understand the data-generating protocols and you can undertake laboratory work to test hypotheses generated from your modelling. We will offer you a wide range of research topics for your PhD as Imperial College has many world-leading research groups working in theoretical systems biology and bioinformatics and their application to bioscience and biomedical problems.