Haematology and Leukaemia

MPhil / PhD / MD

The University has invested over £20million in cancer research which has been used for the creation of several new posts in the Department, and in the establishment of the University of Liverpool Cancer Research Centre (ULCRC) building.

Internationally recognised experts in Haematology and Oncology

Professor Andrew Pettitt leads a large programme of clinical and translational research focussed on lymphoid malignancy with strong links with industry and national collaborative groups in lymphoma and haematological oncology.

I choose to specialise in Haematology and Leukaemia to learn the most cutting edge techniques used in the field but namely, the integration between clinical and research methods together to aim for more accurate prognosis and higher rates of prevention.

Faten Yasin - Haematology and Leukaemia 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

Our commitment to cancer research has resulted in the launch of Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre – an organisation that brings together scientists, clinicians and local stakeholders to lead and deliver cancer research of the highest quality and importance.

Haemato-oncology is one of Liverpool’s recognised strengths with scientific expertise in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and lymphoproliferative disorders and strong clinical leadership that includes chairmanship of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Haematological Oncology CSG and CML Subgroup and membership of the Lymphoma CSG and Subgroups for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), High Grade Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas (HG-NHL) and Low Grade Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas (LG-NHL). 

Research themes

Our research themes include:

  • In Chronic Lymphocyte Leukeamia (CLL) Protein Kinase C (PKC) and c-abl in B-cell receptor signalling have been found to be important in the selection and perpetuation of the malignant clone
  • In hairy cells constitutive PKC-dependent ERK activation has been identified as central to malignant cell survival and oxidant production by NOX-5 has been shown to be of importance in constitutive activation
  • Current work is focused on defining CLL subgroups on the basis of signalling profiles, on the control of adhesion-receptor expression in CLL and on the oncogenic origin of the constitutive signals of hairy cells
  • Translational work has identified Akt and Hsp90 as worthy molecular targets for novel therapy
  • The Clinical Trials Advisory and Awards Committee (CTAAC) -funded PACIFIC [RiChFlo] phase III trial will compare two different induction regimens for follicular lymphoma. Currently available biomarkers do not identify all patients with aggressive, chemoresistant disease
  • To address this problem, a novel prognostic test has been developed that probes the functional integrity of the ATM-p53-p21 pathway
  • The Liverpool Leukaemia Bank houses >27,000 vials of viable CLL cells obtained from >400 patients. The group also hosts the Leukaemia Research Fund-funded UK CLL Trials Biobank
  • The Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML) research group is investigating how TKIs are transported into and out of cells and the immune response to BCR-ABL linked to phase I/II/III trials Comparative digital transcriptional profiling of canine and human uveal melanomas.

Research interests

  • Clinical studies conducted with the intent to advance therapies to the clinic or develop principles for application of therapeutics to human disease
  • Non-human or non-clinical studies conducted with the intent to advance therapies to the clinic or develop principles for application of therapeutics to human disease
  • Investigations in humans which define the biology of disease and provide the scientific foundation for the development of new or improved therapies for human disease
  • Any clinical trial of a therapy that was initiated based on the above.


The Institutes research infrastructure is designed to give researchers access to world class facilities in the best possible environment.

Our facilities 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. The departments of the Institute have the following facilities and resources:

  • 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.

Study options and fees


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)

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)

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.

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