Gastroenterology MPhil/Phd/MD

Major code: GAMR/GAPR/GAMD

About us

The Department of Gastroenterology

The Department of Gastroenterology ( provides excellent opportunities for laboratory and clinical research focusing on the pathogenesis of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in humans and animals.  The high quality of our research was specifically commented on in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise and we have funding from sources including MRC, BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, NIHR and CRUK. Our focus is on “translational” research that will take advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the hospital or veterinary clinic ‘from the bench to bedside’ in order to improve the health and welfare of people and animals world-wide.

Our research areas specifically focus on:

  • Gastrointestinal Cancers - molecular pathogenesis; regulation of apoptosis in the GI tract; the gastrin family of peptides; epithelial glycobiology; development of biomarkers
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – role of bacterial factors; the development and assessment of novel therapies
  • Tropical Gastroenterology, GI Infections and bacteraemia
  • The Health Economics of Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Equine Gastroenterology – epidemiology and evaluation of equine colic; metabolomics
  • Small Animal Gastroenterology – gastric physiology and response to NSAIDs

We employ the whole range of cutting-edge experimental techniques from mechanistic studies involving cell-lines and gastrointestinal tissues through to patient studies and clinical trials.

Laboratory research is based mainly in the main campus in the Henry Wellcome Laboratory of Molecular & Cellular Gastroenterology. Clinical research and trials are conducted at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre in Microbial Diseases at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, and at the Leahurst Veterinary Field Station within the Philip Leverhulme Equine Hospital and Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

Institute of Translational Medicine

The Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) ( comprises the Departments of:

The overarching themes of Translational Medicine are:

  • Basic studies which define the biological effects of therapeutics in humans.
  • 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 biology-chemistry “bridge”.

Translational medicine is a two-way street from bedside to bench and back again and also from bench to bedside. This is because not all in vitro and in vivo models replicate human disease. It is only possible to translate high quality basic research. Therefore, it is vital that we have integration of clinical, whole animal and in vitro work. This must be underpinned by strong cellular, molecular and bioanalytical technologies alongside clinical networks. The integration of practical research with theoretical advances is being strengthened by advances in Computational and Systems Biology.

A primary aim of the Institute is to provide the necessary infrastructure, facilities, professional support and environment to foster collaborative research between basic science and clinical science postgraduates. The Institute of Translational Medicine will draw on the established expertise within each Department to foster, develop and enhance translational medicine work streams and projects throughout the Institute as a whole. The Institute has close links with the Institute of Learning and Teaching (ILT) and participates in both undergraduate and taught postgraduate teaching including CPDs.

The Institute runs a comprehensive Master in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine (MRes) programme with ten research strands (pathways) covering all it core areas.

  • Biology of Cancer
  • Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing
  • Biostatistics (with Health Informatics)
  • Cancer Medicine
  • Cellular and Molecular Physiology
  • Drug Safety
  • Medical Sciences
  • Molecular and Clinical Gastroenterology
  • Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology
  • Nanomedicine
  • Neuroscience
  • Stem Cells, Tissues and Disease
  • Women’s, Children’s and Perinatal Health

All departments in the Institute of Translational Medicine also offer a comprehensive range of MD, MPhil, and PhD programmes both full time and part time in all their core areas (see for detailed programme codes and how to apply under the individual departments).

Andrea Varro

Our Institute is one of the world leading providers in research areas for postgraduate students and it is real fun to be a postgraduate student here.

How long have you worked at the university?

25 years
Are you mainly involved in teaching/research (what’s the split?)

I am involved in both research and PGR (postgraduate research) provision. I am the Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Institute of Translational Medicine
Tell me more about this i.e. what’s your research about? Does your research take you anywhere interesting e.g. foreign countries, important sites/projects? Do you collaborate with anyone?  Has your research made a difference to anything/one? What’s been the impact? 

My research is about cancer development and progression. I am especially interested in the so-called stromal cells, a kind of helper cell that facilitates tumour development and promotes cancer progression by providing growth factors (nutrients) for cancer cells. We also are working on developing biomarkers from blood that helps to identify patients at risk from gastric cancer. I collaborate with scientists in Hungary and the USA.

Hopefully we will be able to develop a diagnostic test and also to contribute for targets for drug therapy in cancer.
I also teach on our MRes (Master in Research) on the Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine, and Research Project modules. I mostly teach to small groups although I do inductions to postgraduate research lectures to big groups.

Our students go and do different things after finishing. Some end up in working as lecturers at University, others go to Industry, small Biotech companies, Teaching, Academic writing, Civil Service or go back and continue their professional jobs such as Medicine, Veterinary Science, etc.
Why should prospective students study a postgraduate qualification here?

Our Institute, The Institute of Translational Medicine is one of the word leading providers in the research areas mentioned above for postgraduate students and it is real fun to be a PGR student here.
What are the benefits?

Good science training and preparation for the job market (academia, industry, teaching, civil service, academic writing).
What does your department/subject, in particular, offer a prospective student?

We offer MRes, MD, MPhil and Phd in almost all areas of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology including drug safety, Children and Women's Health including perinatal care, Biostatistics, Gastroenterology including both humans and animals, Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine.