PhD and MRes projects – 2021 entry

The research priorities in Biological Sciences at Edge Hill University span three interlinked strands:

1. Ecology

Ecology priorities include research into forest adaptations to climate change, mitigating impacts of habitat change on biodiversity, conservation of species in rare habitats and sustainable management of ecosystems.

2. Genetics and Evolution

Genetics research priorities include insect vectors of disease, plant evolution, taxonomy, speciation, gene expression, soil microbiology and antibacterial discovery.

3. Biomedical Science

Biomedical priorities often take a genetics-based approach and include research into rare skin diseases, pregnancy complications, microbial infections, gene therapies and nanotherapeutics.

Across these biological sub-disciplines, we collaborate with researchers from across the globe as well as within Edge Hill, utilising cutting-edge technologies.


For initial discussion about these projects please contact Dr Anne Oxbrough, the Biology Department Research and Postgraduate coordinator, via email [email protected].

PhD projects

Ecology

  • Meadow composition and connectivity
  • Saproxylic species in plantations forests: deadwood and biodiversity
  • The value of mixed plantations for supporting biodiversity

Genetics and Evolution

  • Landscape genetics and dispersal of forest-associated invertebrates
  • Investigating insecticide resistance in the dengue and Zika mosquito vector Aedes aegypti
  • Competitive breeding of UK native and invasive species of mosquitoes that are disease vectors
  • The potential role of export of commercial bromeliads transporting mosquito disease vectors between countries

Biomedical Science

  • Combinatorial gene and drug therapies for neuroblastoma
  • New gene therapy approaches for cardiovascular-related disorders (including lipoproteins)
  • Exosome research for diagnostics of different disorders (including cardiovascular or cancer)
  • Modelling impaired epidermal barrier in patients with severe genetic skin diseases.
  • Moving forward in animal-replacement strategies: Challenges for local exposure and repeat dose drug studies.
  • Divergent stress response mechanisms in the early branching parasite Trypanosoma brucei
  • Strategies to stimulate inflammatory cell clearance of bacteria during hormone-driven ageing.
  • The effect of sex steroid hormones on the phagocytosis of wound-associated pathogens
  • Understanding complications of pregnancy

MRes projects

MRes projects are available in our three interlinked research themes:

Ecology (incl. plants, invertebrates, biodiversity and conservation)

  • Meadow composition and connectivity
  • Landscape genetics of forest-associated invertebrates
  • Urban biodiversity – the value of green spaces for invertebrate diversity
  • Saproxylic species in plantations forests: deadwood and biodiversity
  • The value of mixed plantations for supporting biodiversity.
  • Developing an early detection system for pathogen attack on crops using turgor sensors
  • From the soil to the leaf – plant physiology and trait relationships
  • The Honduran fern flora – DNA barcoding and taxonomy
  • The diversity of UK canopy invertebrates – species, traits and ecosystem function

Genetics and evolution (incl. antibiotic discovery, microbiology, disease vectors, ecological and conservation genetics)

  • Isolation of actinomycetes from different environments to identify new species with antibiotic production potential
  • Expression of “silent” clusters from Streptomyces species to try to activate transcription and production of antibiotic pathways
  • Understanding the role of MIP proteins (virulence factors) in a non-pathogenic Streptomyces Modification of antibiotic biosynthetic clusters to increase production of natural products.
  • Investigating insecticide resistance in the dengue and Zika mosquito vector Aedes aegypti
  • Competitive breeding of UK native and invasive species of mosquitoes that are disease vectors
  • The potential role of export of commercial bromeliads transporting mosquito disease vectors between countries
  • Divergent stress response mechanisms in the early branching eukaryotic organism Trypanosoma brucei

Biomedical science

  • Novel small molecule therapeutics to target Ocular Fibrosis
  • Extracellular vesicles as Cancer Biomarkers
  • Novel non-viral gene therapy vectors for DNA therapeutics
  • Development of mucus-penetrating nanocarriers for Cystic Fibrosis
  • Blood-brain barrier: can this human ‘fortress’ be infiltrated?
  • Cystic Fibrosis: can we make more CFTR protein for the most severe cases?
  • The effect of estrogen and on the phagocytosis of wound-associated pathogens
  • Strategies to stimulate inflammatory cell clearance of bacteria during hormone-driven ageing
  • The effect of Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERM’s) on the wound healing process and wound-associated pathogens
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