Cellular and Molecular Physiology

MPhil / PhD / MD

Cellular and Molecular Physiology focuses on understanding how molecular and cellular processes give rise to complex physiologic functions. We have expertise in all aspects of modern physiology, ranging from the regulation of gene expression to cell, tissue and whole organism biology.

World-leading in physiological research

We have a long and prestigious history and are a leading international centre for research into the fundamental principles of human physiology.

Cellular and Molecular Physiology is interesting and working in the lab has taught me to be creative and independent.

Louise Thompson - Cellular and Molecular Physiology PhD student
  • 100%

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

  • 309

    academic members of staff.

  • 359

    registered postgraduate research students.

Research at Liverpool

We're developing collaborative ways to address important physiological questions, providing vital translational links to clinicians at the bedside.

Research in this program includes study of molecular structure and function, molecular interactions and cell signalling through to complex cellular phenotypes and communications that underlie the integrated functions of the tissues and organ systems comprising higher living organisms. Research extends from molecular, biophysical and computational methods to developmental and post-genomic physiologic strategies, with model organisms ranging from bacteria and yeast, to fruit-flies, worms, mouse and man.

Research themes

In essence, our research is focused around a number of key research areas of expertise, each of which is related to a complementary area of clinical research or drug development.

These key research areas are:

  • Cell (including stem cell) physiology
  • Systems physiology
  • Smooth muscle physiology
  • Neuronal signalling
  • Calcium signalling in health and disease
  • Gastroenterology Research
  • Cancer cell biology.

Other themes, including vascular biology are under development, and there are exciting partnerships developing with clinicians in cancer research, reproductive medicine, child health and pancreatic research.

Research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including:

  • Cell physiology, with a focus on intracellular signalling, vesicular transport and the cell cycle
  • Systems physiology, including the cancer microenvironment, gastric physiology, stem cell biology and developmental physiology
  • Smooth muscle physiology, with research in reproductive physiology, ureteric microvessels, respiratory physiology and disease
  • Intestinal epithelial cell biology in health and disease
  • Neuronal signalling, integrating expertise in cell biology, structural biology and the use of model organisms to investigate aging, neurodegeneration and addiction
  • Calcium signalling in health and disease, which is currently focused on the role of Ca2+ signalling, mitochondrial function and bioenergetics in pancreatitis and regulated secretion
  • Vascular biology, including the therapeutic use of vascular stents
  • Mechanisms of infection and immune cell response
  • Cancer cell biology, including role of stroma/immune cell microenvironment; cancer cell invasion, migration and metastasis.

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

  • Biomedical Imaging
  • Centre for Preclinical Imaging
  • 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

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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.

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Related studentships

Funding

LDC module

Your training and development

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