Research course

Systems Biology

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

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.

Months of entry


Course content

Systems Biology draws on the strengths of molecular and cell biology to try to build an integrative picture of how organisms work. Implicit in the approach is big data (coming from imaging, microarray, RNAseq, proteomics or metabolomics, for which we are very well equipped), together with mathematical and computational biology to draw higher-level insights. Systems biology also works very well with genetic model organisms, such as yeast, Drosophila or Arabidopsis; or in human biomedicine.

Through their research interests in drug development, biotechnology and clinical applications, many of our project supervisors have strong links with pharmaceutical and agrochemical industry. The interdisciplinary nature of systems biology means that these highly active supervisors have international collaborations both with other Universities and industry. Funds are available through the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences to allow visits to international laboratories where part of your project can be carried out. This provides an excellent opportunity for networking and increasing your scientific knowledge and skill set.

Research topics are allied to ongoing research within the School, the majority of which are basic science projects. A variety of multi-disciplinary research approaches are applied, including biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular genetics, materials science, polyomics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics etc), bioinformatics, structural biology, microscopy and imaging techniques. Specific areas of interest include:

  • modelling organ specificity in the plant circadian clock
  • post-genomic insights into tissue function and control in Drosophila
  • optimising recombinant protein expression and secretion in mammalian cells
  • systems biology approaches of stress-induced plasticity of the mitochondrial intermembrane space
  • light control of local and long distance phytohormone signalling in Arabidopsis
  • quantitative systems biology of membrane transport and cellular homeostasis
  • systems biology of gas exchange and photosynthesis, from molecule to the field
  • materials and metabolomics for identification of stem cell fate modifying metabolites
  • analysis and integration of large omics datasets

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

Course contact details