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PhD opportunities

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PhD opportunities

All our current PhD opportunites are listed on this page. If you would like to undertake a PhD at BSMS, please contact potential supervisors directly.

If you are applying for a specific project that is advertised below, there is no need to write a research proposal. Simply give the details provided in the advertisement in the Research Proposal section of the online application form.

If you require entry clearance to study in the UK, please see the ATAS information.


Characterising tuberculosis in the human lung, developing new tools for antimicrobial drug discovery 

Application deadline: Monday 30 April 2018

Supervisors: Dr Simon Waddell, Prof Colin Smith

Project description

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD studentship to join our tuberculosis research group in BSMS Department of Global Health and Infection at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS). The project will use cutting-edge whole genome technologies to help understand the molecular basis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenicity. The studentship, starting in October 2018, is funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). 

Tuberculosis (TB) is among the top ten causes of death worldwide and the leading cause of death by an infectious agent. Currently, no system is able to reproduce the complexity of the tuberculous lung, which limits our ability to predict the efficacy of new drugs in patients. New models rooted in the host-pathogen dynamic of the human TB lung will be more representative of human disease and therefore more useful to the discovery of new drugs. This project will use whole-genome molecular profiling tools to characterise Mycobacterium tuberculosis in lung tissue from TB patients and develop a model using insights from both TB phenotype and lung lesion immunology. The project is a collaboration between Dr Simon Waddell at BSMS and Professor Colin Smith at the Genomics and Proteomics Centre in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton. The project offers a wide range of training opportunities and the student will acquire essential skills including microbiology, molecular biology, transcriptomics, bacterial genomics, bioinformatics and working with pathogenic bacteria in a Containment Level 3 facility. This should provide the successful candidate with critical skills and substantial experience to make them a highly competitive candidate for a postdoctoral research position.  

The post will be based in the Medical Research Building on Sussex University Falmer campus just outside Brighton. The student will join the Department of Global Health and Infection at BSMS that includes four Professors, seven Senior Lecturers, two Lecturers, two Global Health Teaching Fellows and a range of research fellows and PhD students based both in Brighton and at overseas partner institutions. The Department of Global Health and Infection at BSMS has a vibrant research programme with academic links around the world. Taking an inter-disciplinary approach, we work on existing and newly arising health issues, including neglected tropical and non-communicable diseases as well as infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, HIV and antimicrobial resistance. Students will be encouraged to present their work at national and international conferences and will have the opportunity to travel. BSMS is an equal partnership between the Universities of Sussex and Brighton together with NHS organisations throughout the South East region. The University of Sussex is a leading research-intensive university, ranked in the top 10 in the country for Biological Sciences ( The University of Brighton is a complex and diverse institution with a long and distinguished history of applied research. 

Applicants for this 3-year PhD funded by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement & Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) starting in October 2018 should hold, or realistically expect to obtain, at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry or similar. 

Application notes 

As the project is pre-defined, please enter the project title "Characterising tuberculosis in the human lung, developing new tools for antimicrobial drug discovery", in place of a project proposal on the application form.

Funding notes

Posts are open to UK nationals. EU nationals, who have spent at least 3 years prior to this application resident in the UK, are also eligible. Funding provides full support for tuition fees, associated project costs, and a tax-free stipend of approx. £16,000 per annum. 

Informal enquiries about the project should be directed to Dr Simon Waddell. For more details of the funder please visit View Website


Honeyborne I, McHugh TD, Kuittinen I, Cichonska A, Evangelopoulos D, Ronacher K, van Helden PD, Gillespie SH, Fernandez-Reyes D, Walzl G, Rousu J, Butcher PD and Waddell, SJ (2016) Profiling persistent tubercule bacilli from patient sputa during therapy predicts early drug efficacy. BMC Medicine, 14 (68). 

Evangelopoulos D, Fonseca JD and Waddell SJ (2015) Understanding anti-tuberculosis drug efficacy: rethinking bacterial populations and how we model them. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 32. pp. 76-80. 

Salina EG, Waddell SJ, Hoffmann N, Rosenkrands I, Butcher PD and Kaprelyants AS (2014) Potassium availability triggers Mycobacterium tuberculosis transition to, and resuscitation from, non-culturable (dormant) states. The Open Biology Journal, 4 (10).

Wellcome clinical PhD programme in global health research

Open for applications from 19 November 2016

The Wellcome Clinical PhD Programme in Global Health Research is a partnership between the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University College London, King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London, St George’s University of London and Brighton and Sussex Medical School bringing together their expertise in global health research. The Programme provides postgraduate training opportunities to clinicians committed to undertaking research on the health problems of low and middle income countries.

The Programme will support up to four clinical PhD fellowships each year over the next five years. The first intake will commence in the academic year 2017/2018.

The aim of the Programme is to support the most promising clinicians who wish to undertake rigorous research training and complete a research project in the field of global health. The Programme will focus on the following six key areas:

  • HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria

  • Neglected tropical diseases

  • Maternal and child health

  • Mental health

  • Antimicrobial resistance

  • Non-communicable diseases.

The Programme has a large pool of potential-supervisors who have a breadth of clinical specialities and experience in these areas.

Successful applicants will develop their potential to become academic clinicians within a structured and mentored training environment. They will, usually, spend up to two years overseas in a low or middle income country based in well-established research groups.

Financial support is for three years and includes a clinical salary, research expenses, general training funds and travel costs.

Applicants must be fully-qualified medical doctors (with no more than 10 years’ whole time equivalent [WTE] career experience after full medical qualification at the time of applying), have a right to work in the UK, be eligible for home/EU PhD fees and should be currently engaged in a specialist training programme and not yet awarded a CCT or equivalent. They must demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to pursuing a career as an academic clinician with an interest in global health.

more about the programme and how to apply >

PhD studentships now recruited

  • Epidemiology of cancer in the elderly (aged > 65 years) in England

  • The roles of oxidative stress and redox regulation in chronic inflammatory disease (Supervisors: Dr Lisa Mullen, Prof Pietro Ghezzi, Prof Kevin Davies)

  • Pillars of Expertise: Visual Perception & Memory (Supervisors: Dr Natasha Sigala, Prof Mara Cercignani)

  • Investigating the genetic basis of osteosarcoma in children & dogs (Supervisors: Prof Sarah Newbury, Dr Peter Bush, Dr Chris Jones)

  • The embodiment of unconscious knowledge in maladaptive behaviour (Supervisors: Prof Hugo Critchley, Dr Sarah Garfinkel, Prof Dora Duka)

  • Can simulation clarify diagnostic skills for newly qualified doctors? (Supervisors: Dr Inam Haq, Dr Wesley Scott-Smith)

  • Impact of oxytocin on emotional regulation in binge drinking and alcoholism: behavioural, physiological and fMRI investigations (Supervisors: Prof Hugo Critchley, Prof Dora Duka)

  • Developing an algorithm for predicting children with severe asthma (Supervisors: Prof Somnath Mukhopadhyay, Dr Katy Fidler)

  • Development of a refined model of neuropathic pain: a model without frank nerve injury (Supervisors: Dr Andrew Dilley, Prof Pietro Ghezzi)

  • Role of secreted oxidoreductases in osteoarthritis, rheumathoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (Supervisors: Prof Pietro Ghezzi, Dr Manuela Mengozzi)

  • Measuring quality of life in severe dementia: validation of DEMQOL-Proxy in family and professional carers of people with severe dementia (Prof Sube Banerjee, Dr Naji Tabet)

  • Stigma in health care: Does it influence the way general practitioners record consultations? (Supervisors: Dr Elizabeth Ford, Prof Helen Smith, Prof Flis Henwood)

  • Interoception and preventative intervention for anxiety in adults with autism (supervisors: Dr Sarah Garfinkel, Prof Hugo Critchley)