Skip to main contentSkip to footer
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

PhD opportunities

BSMS > Postgraduate > Research degrees > PhD opportunities

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.


Using high quality HCP (Human Connectome Project) MRI to investigate effects of mild inflammation on brain function in ME/CFS

Supervisors: Dr Neil Harrison, Dr Jessica Eccles, Prof Kevin Davies

Closing date: 18 July 2018

Project Description

ME/CFS is an important neurological disorder associated with severe fatigue and post-exertional malaise, autonomic dysfunction and chronic pain. It is frequently triggered/ exacerbated by infections. Previous research has linked symptom expression to altered functional connectivity within fronto-parietal networks. However, it remains unclear why acute infections trigger and exacerbate symptoms This project will build on other work within the lab to investigate how acute inflammation acts on the brain to exacerbate symptoms in ME/CFS. Specifically, the successful candidate will combine state-of-the-art HCP (Human Connectome Project) resting state fMRI and blood transcriptomic analyses to investigate how acute inflammation contributes to experienced pain and fatigue. Effects on autonomic and interoceptive function will also be explored. 

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr Neil Harrison, Dr Jessica Eccles and Prof Kevin Davies and will work closely with collaborators in the Brighton Genomics Centre. They will have access to cutting-edge neuroimaging technology and analytics, including a 3T Siemens Prisma MRI scanner, high-resolution structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, peripheral psychophysiology, and blood transcriptomics. The studentship will offer training in neuroimaging techniques and analysis of high-dimensional transcriptomic data, as well as a host of transferable skills delivered through the University’s Doctoral School.

Funding notes

We are looking for an enthusiastic, motivated individual with a strong undergraduate degree in psychology, biology or neuroscience and ideally an MSc/MRes in Neuroscience or similar. Research experience in cognitive neuroscience methods and/or neuroimaging or transcriptomic analyses is highly desirable. Prior experience with human research is essential. The project will offer excellent opportunities for collaboration, and provide the successful candidate with the critical skills and experience to make them a highly competitive candidate for a postdoctoral research position in the field of clinical neuroscience.

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)