Cell Biology

MPhil / PhD / MD

Cell biology encompasses research of the cell and its organelles' structural and functional roles, physiology, signalling, cell stress, cell communications, and its applications to the diagnosis and therapy of disease. We integrate expertise in cell biology, structural biology, signalling and the use of model organisms.

A world leader in physiological research

We're a leading international centre for research into the fundamental principles of human physiology, with expertise in all aspects of modern physiology.

  • 100%

    4* and 3* in research environment in Clinical Medicine REF (2014).

  • 309

    academic members of staff.

  • 359

    postgraduate research students.

Research at Liverpool

Our experimental approaches involve biochemical, behavioural, electrophysiological, molecular, structural and state-of art imaging (such as multiphoton confocal, spinning disk, light sheet and 3D electron microscopy) applied to mammalian cell systems and also to model organisms such as Caenorhabdities elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Dictyostelium. 

Our exciting and dynamic research environment  benefits from increasing collaboration with academic clinicians looking for cell-based and cell targeted therapies.

Research themes

Research may cover any aspect of life sciences and biomedicine, including:

  • Cell biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Molecular biology and genetics
  • Stem cell research
  • Regenerative medicine
  • Infection and immunology
  • Systems physiology approaches
  • Translational medicine. 

Research interests

Research interests focus on:

  • Neuronal cell and synaptic biology, including developmental cell biology and how neuronal intracellular signals are translated into physiological responses 
  • Role of cellular chaperone proteins in protection from damaging challenges and biological stresses  
  • Role of key cell signalling pathways (e.g. NFKappaB, Wnt, Erk1/2, AKT etc.) and intracellular messengers (calcium, IP3, cAMP etc.) in health and disease 
  • Calcium signalling in health and disease, including current focus on the role of calcium signalling, mitochondrial function and bioenergetics in pancreatitis and regulated secretion. 
  • Cell cycle control/ regulation  
  • Stem cell biology  
  • Cell biology of inflammation and infection 
  • Systems physiology, including the cancer microenvironment, gastric cell physiology. Also Immune and cancer cell invasion biology 
  • Development of fundamental model systems that can be used for understanding cell responses, damage/stress, cell-cell and cell-matrix communications 
  • Cell receptor dynamics, endosome trafficking and vesicular transport
  • Autophagy and phagocytosis  
  • Smooth muscle cell physiology, with research in reproductive physiology, ureteric microvessels and respiratory tract.

Facilities

The research infrastructure of the Institute of Translational Medicine is designed to give researchers access to world class facilities in the best possible environment.

Our centres, facilities and resources give us the ability to drive biomedical research from patient samples to the laboratory bench and vice versa from newly generated drug compounds into clinical trials. They provide powerful, productive collaborations between experts within the University and organisations worldwide.

  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Centre for Antimicrobial Pharmacodynamics
  • Centre for Drug Safety Science
  • Health Data Science Network
  • Centre for Preclinical Imaging
  • Clinical Trials Research Centre
  • Harris-Wellbeing Preterm Birth Research Centre
  • Liverpool Bio-Innovation Hub (LBIH) Biobank
  • Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit
  • MRC North West Hub for Trials Methodology Research
  • North West Cancer Research Centre – University of Liverpool
  • Pancreas Biomedical Research Unit
  • UK Experimental Arthritis Treatment Centre for Children
  • Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine.

Postgraduate researchers also benefit from flexible access to world-class equipment and expertise through the Shared Research Facilities provided by The Technology Directorate.

Research groups

  • Gastroenterology Research Unit
  • Neuronal Signalling Group
  • Regenerative Medicine Network
  • Safety and Efficacy Hub

Study options and fees

MPhil

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)
PhD

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 4-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)
MD

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,260 £19,850 (Lab based programmes) £16,150 (Non Lab based programmes)
Part time 2-6 years £2,130 £9,925 (Lab based programmes) £8,075 (Non Lab based programmes)

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

Applicants for postgraduate research study at Liverpool are normally expected to hold a UK first degree with a First Class or Upper Second Class degree classification, or a Second Class degree plus a Master’s degree. Equivalent international qualifications are also accepted, and their equivalence will be evaluated on the basis of the information provided by the National Academic Recognition and Information Centre (NARIC) as well as internal guidance based on our experience of a qualification’s suitability as a preparation for our programmes.

English language requirements

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

View supervisors in this area

Need help finding a supervisor? Contact us

Related studentships

Funding

LDC module

Your training and development

Join us and you'll also join the Liverpool Doctoral College, our home for doctoral support, training and development. You'll join a vibrant and collaborative community of researchers, get tailored support for your development and have the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

More about Liverpool Doctoral College

Visit

Arrange a personalised visit

Visit our campus and facilities in person with a visit that's tailored for you. Visit us by yourself or in a small group.

​Arrange your visit