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1 x fully funded PhD Studentship available, funded by the Life Sciences Initiative (LSI)

We are pleased to be offering a PhD studentship funded by QMUL's Centre for Genomic Health (LSI). The studentship is open to Home/EU applicants.

The Centre for Genomic Health (CGH) brings together the wealth of genomic expertise around the Queen Mary campus to tackle some of the key roadblocks in the field, such as interpreting the non-coding genome. The William Harvey Research Institute is currently the UK’s largest academic pharmacological research institute, with 350 scientists and clinicians from more than 40 nations, and has a long history of training talented scientists for careers in cardiovascular genomics and translational research.  We are seeking an outstanding life sciences graduate to work on the Characterisation of allele-specific variation and long-range interactions at the VEGFA locus.  

Project Summary

Genome-wide association studies for coronary artery disease (CAD) and related traits have identified many susceptibility loci, where the majority of associated variants are non-coding and their functional mechanisms unclear. This study will apply recently developed methods to characterise functionality of a subset of these non-coding, common CAD-associated variants. Using an assay to identify accessible chromatin (ATAC-seq) to indicate functional elements of the non-coding genome, the regulatory landscape of human endothelial cells will be examined across individuals to determine common variants that alter regulatory potential. 

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGFA) is a member of the PDGF/VEGF growth factor family. It is an angiogenic and neurotrophic factor, secreted by endothelial cells, and is known to impact various physiological and disease processes from cancer to cardiovascular disease and to be pharmacologically modifiable. The VEGFA locus will be examined in detail, where nearby variants have been associated with lipid levels, body mass index and coronary artery disease. Following identification of variants that may affect functionality, long-range interactions will be explored using promoter capture Hi-C (CHi-C), a technique that enables characterisation of long-range interactions between gene promoters and distal genomic elements. It is hoped that the target gene of any variant identified by allele-specific ATAC-seq will be characterised by CHi-C. Where strong evidence is found for functional variants at the locus, CRISPR-Cas9 genome-editing will be performed to confirm this, using pluripotent stem cells induced to an endothelial phenotype, followed by examination of allelic effects on gene expression and downstream effects on cell proliferation and other characteristics relevant to CAD.

BHF 4 year MRes/PhD


BHF 4 year MRes/PhD

Since October 2013 WHRI has been one of nine UK centres hosting a British Heart Foundation 4 year MRes/PhD programme. For outstanding applicants this programme consists of an MRes course for the first year of study, providing students with the foundation knowledge and abilities they need to proceed to their cardiovascular PhD training. 


This MRes year is divided into three distinct sections, the first being dedicated to the teaching of essential skills followed by two laboratory-based research projects. Upon successful completion of their MRes studies, students will continue to study for a 3 year PhD working with their chosen supervisor within the William Harvey Research Institute or wider medical school. 


Students receive an award covering tuition fees and a bursary at the applicable BHF rates (currently £22278 for the first year). These studentships are open nationals of the EEA (European Economic Area) with are open nationals of the EEA (European Economic Area) with relevant connection to the EEA.  Candidates who are not EEA nationals may be eligible to apply if the individual has worked in a university (providing it is not for the sole purpose of full-time education), hospital or research institution in the UK for at least 3 years (see BHF website for more detailed information).

For further information visit our programme website.

iBSc Sports and Exercise Medicine

Programme organiser:
Dr Manuela Angioi


Sports and Exercise Medicine is a newly recognised speciality with the first UK training scheme recently set up in London. With an increasing interest in sports and leisure activities, together with the growing problem of obesity and chronic disease, the importance of treating injuries and preventing illness through exercise, is set to grow considerably. The growing health agenda focus on exercise medicine is reflected in the legacy aspects of the successful London 2012 Olympics.

The aim of this programme is to offer an innovative and exciting course in Sports and Exercise Medicine. This will include giving you the knowledge and skills to assess sports injuries and to understand their treatment options, as well as understanding the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise and its use as a health tool.

Lecturers will include physiotherapists, exercise physiologists and sports physicians who are currently working with elite sport in this country and there will be a high clinical emphasis within lectures. Your research project will be clinically relevant and forms half of the course assessment. Therefore, another key component of the course is to give you the necessary knowledge and skills to execute this.

Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit Training Academy

In 2010 nearly a third of all deaths in England were caused by cardiovascular disease. The ethnically diverse East London population has some of the worst rates of heart disease in Western Europe.  North East London offers unique opportunities to train the next generation of translational researchers that can test novel therapies with general application in very large populations that offer access to common and rare diseases which can act as a research window on emergent communities across the world.

The Biomedical Research Unit Training Academy offers high-quality training for clinical fellows and healthcare related staff delivering on one of the most important themes of education and training. This programme is designed to be multi-disciplinary and flexible to encourage not just clinicians but also allied healthcare staff to undertake higher degrees and short courses.



PhD opportunities at the WHRI

At the William Harvey Research Institute we currently host over 100 PhD and MD(Res) students, most being full-time, and more than 50 research master students. Our students benefit from an integrated approach to cardiovascular, inflammation and endocrinology research and training, at the largest pharmacology institute in the UK.

Translational Cardiovascular Medicine Academy

In the area of cardiovascular sciences, a key element of our Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit is the creation of a Translational Cardiovascular Medicine Academy. Since 2013, this has been enhanced by our 4-year BHF MRes/PhD Programme. This provides students of the highest calibre with an opportunity to receive training in cardiovascular science from the molecular and cellular level, to in vivo models to healthy volunteer and patient based studies. 

British Heart Foundation (BHF) 4 year MRes/PhD

Since October 2013 WHRI has been one of nine UK centres hosting a British Heart Foundation 4 year MRes/PhD programme. For outstanding applicants this programme consists of an MRes course for the first year of study, providing students with the foundation knowledge and abilities they need to proceed to their cardiovascular PhD training. 

Visit the BHF 4 year MRes/PhD programme website for further information. 

Innovative Training Network (ITN) EVOluTION

EVOluTION is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) doctoral programme designed to provide multidisciplinary training for 11 PhD students on preclinical and clinical research, commercial and business opportunities and intellectual property. The science of EVOluTION is based on boosting the natural protective mechanisms operating in our body, to generate innovative therapeutic strategies in the management of chronic vascular and metabolic diseases. The interdisciplinary and cross-cutting research performed by the students will lead to novel therapeutic tools and a scientific perspective to address challenging medical, societal and industrial issues. Moreover, this ITN will deliver high level scientific and complementary training to create a new generation of scientists that are entrepreneurially minded and skilled in research and business. As such EVOluTION is perfectly aligned with the research vision of the WHRI.

Visit the ITN EVOluTION programme website for more information.

MRC combined MRes and PhD Doctoral Training Partnership Programme in Translational Immunology 

  • Delivered in partnership with the University of Southampton
  • Students will complete an MRes in year 1 before progressing to a PhD
  • The MRes will involve 4 taught modules and 3 rotational projects
  • Students will then select one of their MRes rotational projects as the subject of their PhD.

Contact: Professor John Marshall

Willoughby PhD Studentships

  • Awarded by the Trustees of the Professor Willoughby Fund for Inflammatory Research
  • For research into the mechanisms involved in basic or clinically applicable processes of inflammation
  • Open to applicants with either basic science or clinical qualifications
  • Normally two studentships are offered per year for specific projects.

Contact: Professor Paul Chapple 


We frequently advertise stand-alone PhD studentships funded by charitable bodies, industry and Queen Mary University of London. 

Speculative PhD Projects

  • If you have already secured your own funding and would like to register for a PhD with the William Harvey Research Institute, please look at our research areas and contact some potential supervisors to discuss a suitable project.
  • If you are unsure, or require further academic assistance please contact Prof Paul Chapple (Director of Graduate Studies), who will be able to advise you further.
  • Once you have identified a suitable project and supervisor please submit an online application using the weblink below where you should select the relevant William Harvey Research Institute course. 


During their studies the progression of each research student is closely monitored.  For PhD and MD(Res) students there are progression points at 9, 18 and 30 months when students produce interim reports of their progress and future plans for consideration by two independent assessors in conjunction with reports from the supervisors. Students also present at ‘Research In Progress’ meetings, at which PhD students and junior post-doctoral researchers share their on-going experimental work with researchers from across WHRI.

Within the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) all students participate fully in a doctoral development training scheme, based on the Vitae Researcher Development Framework. This approach means that students are well prepared to become successful independent researchers and fully equipped with the necessary skills to enter the workplace. During their training period students work with their supervisors and independent assessors to identify their individual training needs. In addition to opportunities within WHRI, students can undertake training programs from a range of activities offered by the wider School of Medicine and Dentistry and by QMUL’s Learning Institute.


Our aim is to provide all our students with the experience of cutting edge research conducted at the highest level coupled with the attainment of the transferable skills essential for success in research and research-related careers. Former students and fellows include Professors at Yale, Singapore, Frankfurt, Washington, and institutions throughout the UK, as well as CEOs and R&D Directors of major companies.