Imaging and Biosensors

MPhil / PhD / MD

Research is undertaken within The Centre for Preclinical Imaging within the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology. The Centre research infrastructure is designed to give researchers access to world class facilities in the best possible environment.

World-leading in physiological research

The Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology builds on a long and prestigious history and remains a leading international centre for research into the fundamental principles of human physiology.

  • 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

In the post genomic era, physiology has acquired a new importance as a discipline which provides a valuable link between basic and translational research.  Within the Department we have recognised expertise in all aspects of modern physiology ranging from the regulation of gene expression to cell, tissue and whole organism biology. Each focused area of expertise is related to a complementary area of clinical research and/or drug development. 

The Centre for Pre-clinical imaging provides expertise and infrastructure for non-invasive imaging in pre-clinical models. The technologies available for pre-clinical imaging currently at the Centre include high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), optical imaging, photo-acoustic imaging and ultrasound. Novel applications and contrast mechanisms are constantly being developed that will aid the further development and refinement of regenerative medicine therapies, and facilitate areas such as developmental biology, neurobiology, physiology, pharmacology and cancer.  

Postgraduate researchers utilise state-of-art technologies, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to enable non-invasive assessment of anatomy and function, optical imaging to assess protein expression and reporter gene expression, ultrasound for the measurement of blood flow and vascularity and photo-acoustic imaging to facilitate assessment of renal function. All have widespread applications for diagnostics and therapeutic interventions in neurology, neurosurgery, oncology, physiology, musculoskeletal biology and other relevant fields. 

Research themes

Research areas specifically focus on: 

  • Monitoring organ structure and function in health and disease, including the kidney, liver, neuro/CNS, and imaging cancer. 
  • Tracking cells labelled with contrast agents such as Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (SPIONs), e.g. stem cell tracking
  • Application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess electrical conductivity of body tissues
  • Developing strategies for evaluating the safety and efficacy of regenerative medicine therapies
  • Utility of diffusion weighted imaging and spectroscopy to assess response to gene therapy, e.g. for brain tumours and for detection of apoptotic cell death in vivo. 
  • Studying models of memory disorders, schizophrenia and autism.

Research interests

We particularly welcome research proposals that match key centre resources, including the following:

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.

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. 

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

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.

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