Research course

Cell Engineering

University of Glasgow · College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
PhDMS by researchIntegrated PhD

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

We are focused on fostering education and training in research to develop microenvironments to investigate and instruct cellular behaviour including, but not solely, stem cell differentiation. Our cell engineering research covers topics such as protein folding in the secretory pathway, regulation of membrane traffic, control of cell cycle, cytokinesis, compartmentalisation of cellular signalling and cell engineering.

The Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment at Glasgow is a new entity (2018) arising from the merger of the Centre for Cell Engineering (CCE) and the Microenvironments for Medicine (MiMe).

Our goal is to apply the knowledge gained from our research to address key issues affecting (stem) cell biology. Our research is centred on exploring how cells respond to their environment by changes in behaviour, differentiation, metabolism and various aspects of development.

The Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment at Glasgow adopts an interdisciplinary approach across the School of Molecular Biosciences in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences and the Bioengineering Group in the School of Engineering, which is part of the College of Science & Engineering. Cell-environment interactions, cell signalling, stem cell biology, cell, and protein structure and function at interfaces, bioengineering of gene regulation by microenvironments, nanoparticle technologies, synthetic biology to guide cell adhesion, cell sorting and translational approaches to take finding to clinical application.

Research topics are allied to ongoing research within the Centre for the Cellular Microenvironment. Some projects are related to basic science and other projects are more focused on translational aspects of our research, but all projects integrate with our existing research themes. A variety of multidisciplinary research approaches are applied within these research programmes, including biomedical engineering, protein engineering, biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics, polyomics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics), biomaterials, bioinformatics and synthetic biology, as well as cellular imaging of biological functions.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • bioengineering the microenvironment
  • engineering approaches to control gene expression
  • bio-engineered interfaces
  • biomaterials, scaffolds and 3D printing
  • protein structure and function
  • protein engineering and application
  • cell sorting and characterisation
  • stem cell maintenance and differentiation
  • nanoparticles for theranostics

Specific areas of application are:

  • bone repair
  • nerve repair
  • sourcing of rare cells
  • blood Brain Barrier
  • mesenchymal stem cell niche
  • haematopoietic stem cell niche

See Glasgow Biomaterials Seminar for an idea about recent and current projects.

Our PhD programme provides excellent training in cutting edge technologies that will be applicable to career prospects in both academia and industry. Many of our graduates become postdoctoral research associates (Canada, USA, Europe and UK) while others go on to take up positions within industry either locally (e.g. Collagen Solutions, BioGelX) or overseas (e.g. Medtronic). We have strong national and international connections with many academic and industrial collaborators. Funds are available through the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences or the College of Science & Engineering (depending on primary alignment) to allow visits to international laboratories, or industry where part of your project can be carried out. This provides an excellent opportunity for networking and increasing your scientific knowledge and skill set.

Information for international students

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MS by research
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • Integrated PhD
    full time
    60 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details