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Biomedical Sciences PhD courses

Postgraduate Open Evening: Wednesday, 23 January 2019

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With a changing global landscape and increasing personal and professional pressures on our lives, the science of wellbeing, prevention and cure is more important than ever.

Studying a PhD at Brunel gives you the opportunity to carry out some of the most important work of the 21st century to advance scientific knowledge and to better understand, treat and develop cures for a wide range of human diseases.

You’ll learn alongside our world-renowned biomedical sciences academics who are involved in the highest quality research generating novel and repurposed solutions to combat a range of medical challenges.

Our enthusiastic academics are particularly research-active in cancer genetics, diagnosis and treatment, infection and immunity as well as human health and ageing. We also have experts in genomic medicine, structure and stability, DNA repair and stem cell biology.

You’ll study your biomedical sciences PhD in our newly refurbished laboratories with a wide range of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to bring out the best in your research. As a research student you'll benefit from the latest work by internationally-renowned academics and the support of our Graduate School.

The biomedical sciences department has four main research areas

Health and disease

The Division of Biosciences’ research focuses on understanding, treating and developing cures for a wide range of human diseases. These diseases range from pathogenic infections such as influenza, TB, candida (yeast) and bilharzia (Schistosomiasis) to degenerative syndromes such as Friedrich’s ataxia and the premature ageing syndrome Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS).

We also have a strong focus on cancer with specific attention to female, rare and childhood cancers, such as breast and ovarian cancers, neuroblastoma and childhood leukaemia. Finally, our academics also research the complex pathways that lead to obesity and to normal ageing.

Treatments and cures

Researchers in the Division of Biosciences are using novel and repurposed drugs to combat antibiotic resistance, to treat premature ageing, to delay the effects of normal ageing and in the treatment of cancers and degenerative diseases such as Friedrich’s Ataxia. The huge advantage of repurposing drugs developed for one treatment but found to be effective in treating an often unrelated disease is that most if not all the regulatory requirements for use of the drugs in human has already been completed, providing a massive saving in both time and costs.

Our strong team are using state-of- the-art viral gene therapy vectors to replace missing or damaged genes in utero, and are finding new ways to engineer the genome to alter damaged genes. We are also working on developing novel vaccines for autoimmune disease and cancer, and investigating the use of nanoparticles for delivery of treatments.

Genomic and epigenomic level

Many of bioscience’s academics are performing research that investigates how the genome behaves with respect to its functional regulation and stability in cells through the cell division cycle and life-span, working on important proteins such as repo-man, frataxin, the nuclear envelope proteins, proteins involved in DNA replication and repair, nuclear motors, the cancer gene c-myc and the proliferation associated protein Ki67. Other related research focuses on important pathways such as Wnt, and Jak/Stat, that signal to the genome. Biosciences also investigates the effects of assault on the genome from irradiation, the environment or pathogens.  

Our genome research is clustered in the cross-theme grouping – the Genome Engineering and Maintenance Network, hosted by the Institute for Environment, Health and Societies.

Technology and methodology

Biosciences boasts a large state-of-the-art imaging facility with ten different microscope systems for automated fluorescence imaging at high resolution, live cells imaging, 3- and 4-dimensional imaging, imaging-in-flow and 24-colour imaging. Biosciences academics have expertise in CRISPR/cas9 genome engineering, viral gene therapy, nanoparticle use, various types of fluorescence in situ hybridisation, cell culture, and bioimaging and analysis.

Located in the Heinz Wolff building, biosciences has ten labs all fully equipped to carry out molecular, biochemical and cell biological research. The research is supported by five technicians and one research associate, and is currently funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and the Medical Research Council (MRC).

I would not be working at this level of seniority so soon without my Biomedical Sciences PhD.
Susan, Research Biosciences PhD