Research course

Synthetic Biology

Institution
Brunel University, London · Biomedical Engineering and Healthcare Technologies
Qualifications
PhDMPhil

Entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree.

Months of entry

January, December, November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February

Course content

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.

MPhil option

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.

Research profile

The overall aim of the Synthetic Biology theme is to address major environmental, health and societal challenges by engineering biological systems such that they display functions that do not exist in nature, as well as re-designing existing biological systems so that they perform new functions. Our research focuses on three key areas of activity.

  • Gene therapy: Some diseases and disorders happen because certain genes work incorrectly or no longer work at all. We are designing therapeutic interventions for human diseases and disorders by developing the technologies to correct defective genes. Our current projects within this area look at vector development for effective gene therapy, assessing and avoiding the risks of gene therapy (genotoxicity) and using the technologies of gene therapy to give new insights into cancer development.
  • Microbial bioengineering: The most exploitable and engineerable organisms are bacteria, so we want to harness their capacity and diversity to create white technologies –those which cause no harm. Our research uses integrated genomics strategies to direct bacterial engineering for a number of translational applications. We look at possible ways to create novel bacteria –bacteria that can produce clean proteins, for example, or bacteria that can improve the performance of cement. Using bioengineered microbes, we look at ways to degrade environmental pollutants; generate products using alternatives to petrochemicals; and reuse waste biomaterials from biomass and biodiesel manufacture. There are even investigations within our theme into ways of addressing antibiotic resistance in medically important bacteria. We are exploring other areas, and are open to developing new lines of research that will make the best use of the strain and widely applicable tools for strain assessment and development, especially when they are directed at projects that have sustainability as part of what they seek to achieve.
  • Computer sciences, statistics and maths: We are working on data analysis, bioinformatics, and system modelling to inform synthetic system 30 design and efficient laboratory engineering strategies. These outcomes will support our other strands of research.

Information for international students

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Fees and funding

We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees. Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.

Qualification and course duration

PhD

part time
72 months
full time
36 months

MPhil

part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Name
Enquiries
Email
enquiries@brunel.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)1895 265599