Research course

Synthetic Biology

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

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Entry requirements

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1).

An interview will be required as part of the admissions process and will be conducted by at least two academic staff members remotely via MS Teams, Zoom, or face to face.

Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it.

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

The overall aim of the Synthetic Biology 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (59 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 68% (58% in all areas)
  • TOEFL: 98 overall (min 20)

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,596
International students
£20,450

Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MPhil
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

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