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Postgraduate Admissions

About the Department of Clinical Neurosciences

About the Department

There are four components, spanning much of experimental and clinical neuroscience. This makes for a vibrant and multidisciplinary research training environment.  Many research students have projects that span two or more of the divisions of the Department. The four components are:

John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair (BRC).   The BRC focusses on understanding how diseases damaged the nervous system, and on developing methods to repairing this damage. Research spans basic biology through to clinical studies. Areas of research include the biology of neurons and glia, the process of myelination, the use of stem cells to repair the brain, axon regeneration, plasticity in the brain, mechanisms of neurodegeneration and inflammation. The techniques are multi-disciplinary, and include molecular and cell biology, electrophysiology, both tissue culture and in vivo work, behavioural studies, clinical studies. Research clinics in Parkinson's and Huntington's disease are also held in the BRC, emphasising its translational approach. Target diseases are Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's diseases, stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma. 

Neurology. This in one of the major neurology centres in the UK.  It has particular interests in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, stroke and multiple sclerosis (MS).  It combines experimental and clinical research.  Many of its clinicians thus spend time in both environments, and there is a seamless connection between them and the BRC.  Its many techniques include genetic studies, drugs trials, patient management techniques,  new approaches to therapy in MS and stroke, as well as many associated experimental projects on cell and molecular biology.

Neurosurgery. One of the most prominent academic departments of neurosurgery in the UK.  It has major interests in acute head injury (together with Department of Anaesthesiology), glioma biology and treatment,  developing new methods of bedside patient monitoring, the dynamics of the blood-brain barrier, brain haemorrhage and novel methods of imaging the damaged brain.  There are close interactions with both the BRC and the Department of Neurology.  As with that Department, the members of Neurosurgery have both clinical and experimental projects, and collaborate extensively with those in the other components of Clinical Neurosciences. 

Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre (WBIC). Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre (WBIC). This is housed in a £11.5 million building on the site of the renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital, close to the BRC, Neurology and Neurosurgery.  It has major interests in developing new imaging methods, based both on new hardware and on computational techniques.  As well as a GE PET camera, the imaging facilities comprise two  3T Siemens MRI systems. The first was a TIM Trio system, installed in 2006. More recently the Centre has acquired a 3T Verio system. The Centre is also a major programme in developing and synthesising ligands for PET. Its members also collaborate extensively  with other components of the Department, and with those in Chemistry, Metabolic Medicine, Anaesthesiology, Psychology, Psychiatry etc. 

2 courses offered in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences

 

The Department invests much time and resource in its research training programme, which it regards as one of its central activities. It attracts applicants from a wide range of disciplines, reflecting its own comprehensive approach. We have students with backgrounds in medicine (including both qualified medics and those pursuing the MB/PhD programme), biological science, mathematics, physical and chemical science, and psychology.

The Department of Clinical Neurosciences consists of both senior scientists and clinically qualified active researchers with a wide range of expertise and experience focused on a common set of topics. This provides a superb environment for research training in both basic and clinical neurosciences. Currently, we have more than 100 registered postgraduate students and numerous postdoctoral fellows (about half come from outside the UK).

The Department attracts a large number of applicants, and we admit about  30-40 postgraduate students per year. The selection process is managed by the Graduate Training Committee, which consists of representatives from across the Department and is chaired by the Department’s Director of Training, Dr Adrian Carpenter.  All shortlisted applicants are invited for interview either in person or by Skype depending upon their geographical location.

Please ensure you check the Department of Clinical Neurosciences website for up-to-date information on projects and funding.

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The Department invests much time and resource in its research training programme, which it regards as one of its central activities. It attracts applicants from a wide range of disciplines, reflecting its own comprehensive approach. We have students with backgrounds in medicine (including both qualified medics and those pursuing the MB/PhD programme), biological science, mathematics, physical and chemical science  and psychology.

The Department of Clinical Neurosciences consists of both senior scientists and clinically qualified active researchers with a wide range of expertise and experience focused on a common set of topics. This provides a superb environment for research training in both basic and clinical neurosciences. Currently, we have more than 100 registered postgraduate students and numerous postdoctoral fellows (about half come from outside the UK).

The Department attracts a large number of applicants, and we admit about 30-40 postgraduate students per year. The selection process is managed by the Graduate Training Committee, which consists of representatives from across the department and is chaired by the Department’s director of training, Dr T Adrian Carpenter. All shortlisted applicants are invited for interview either in person or by Skype depending upon their geographical location.

Please ensure you check the Department of Clinical Neurosciences website for up-to-date information on projects and funding.

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6 courses also advertised in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences

From the Department of Clinical Biochemistry

Awaiting Approval

From the Faculty of Clinical Medicine

The MD degree is a doctorate awarded to clinicians who undertake an extended period of scientific research. It provides an opportunity for doctors to receive recognition of research achievement within an approved academic programme.

The MD programme, on a par academically with the PhD, spans a maximum of six years, allowing candidates to undertake their research alongside clinical or other responsibilities, at the end of which their thesis is examined by Viva. Any candidate working in a Cambridge University Health Partner institution will be assigned a University supervisor and will  become  a registered student of the University and a member of one of the Colleges.  Any candidate intending to work at an institution outside Cambridge must already hold a Cambridge degree and must apply to take the MD by Special Regulations.

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From the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) is one of the leading research institutions in the UK. The Institute’s mission is to determine the molecular mechanisms of disease in order to advance human health, and the institute is founded on the principle of interdisciplinarity, leveraging extensive collaboration between basic and clinician scientists, outstanding core facilities and an inclusive, supportive working environment to tackle big problems.

CIMR’s ambitious Research Strategy is to generate a detailed understanding of cellular homeostasis across three main themes: protein folding and quality control, membrane trafficking and organelle biology. These pathways are fundamental to normal cellular function, so when they are altered by mutation they can lead to diseases that are rare, devastating, and frequently occur in the nervous system. Numerous infectious pathogens have also evolved to infect cells by exploiting and manipulating these pathways. CIMR therefore focuses on genetic and infectious disease areas where cellular homeostasis is altered, and which are frequently neglected and overlooked, meaning there is significant unmet patient need: rare genetic disease, neurological disease, and intracellular infection. There are 24 research groups working across these research themes at CIMR.

A one-year full-time MPhil programme of research is offered under an individual supervision of principal investigators based in CIMR. This course can also be taken as a part-time option over two years. During their MPhil, the students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor and the CIMR Postgraduate Education Committee. There is no taught and examined coursework, but students are encouraged to attend research seminars at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and elsewhere in the University, and postgraduate student seminars dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, writing a thesis or paper, and entrepreneurship. Students write a thesis, which is examined via an oral examination.

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From the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) is one of the leading research institutions in the UK. The Institute’s mission is to determine the molecular mechanisms of disease in order to advance human health, and the institute is founded on the principle of interdisciplinarity, leveraging extensive collaboration between basic and clinician scientists, outstanding core facilities and an inclusive, supportive working environment to tackle big problems.

CIMR’s ambitious Research Strategy is to generate a detailed understanding of cellular homeostasis across three main themes: protein folding and quality control, membrane trafficking and organelle biology. These pathways are fundamental to normal cellular function, so when they are altered by mutation they can lead to diseases that are rare, devastating, and frequently occur in the nervous system. Numerous infectious pathogens have also evolved to infect cells by exploiting and manipulating these pathways. CIMR therefore focuses on genetic and infectious disease areas where cellular homeostasis is altered, and which are frequently neglected and overlooked, meaning there is significant unmet patient need: rare genetic disease, neurological disease, and intracellular infection. There are 24 research groups working across these research themes at CIMR.

A three-year full-time PhD programme of research is offered under the individual supervision of principal investigators based in CIMR. This course can also be taken as a part-time option for over six years. The PhD students are based in a research group, supported by their primary supervisor, their graduate adviser, and the CIMR Graduate Education Committee. There is no taught and examined course work, but students can take part in core topic discussion sessions held once a week by PIs in CIMR.

Along with the specific research training provided in the laboratory in which the student works, he or she receives further training within the CIMR in the form of postgraduate workshops concentrating on research techniques, research seminars both on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and elsewhere in the University, and postgraduate student seminars dealing with generic skills such as intellectual property rights, writing a thesis or paper, and entrepreneurship. Students write a dissertation, which is examined via an oral examination.

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From the Faculty of Clinical Medicine

The Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine Doctoral Training Programme in Medical Research (SCM DTP-MR) includes institutes and units within the School of Clinical Medicine, as well as other University Partner Institutions.
The program is offering at least five fully funded PhD studentships commencing in October 2022. Applicants should identify a group leader whose area of research falls into one of the following themes:
  • Neurosciences and Mental Health
  • Infections and Immunity
  • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Disease
  • Data Science for Health

Applicants will be expected to approach the group leader, and agree on a suitable research proposal for consideration.  

Students on the SCM DTP-MR will complete 2 rotations in the first two terms. These projects will be in different disciplinary areas related to your field of research, and will allow refinement of your PhD project in line with your emerging research interests as the programme progresses.   The SCM DTP-MR studentships must be based in a department, unit or Institute of the School of Clinical Medicine. Please refer here. 

You will need to successfully complete the first year to be able to progress into your second year of studies.

This is an annual competition, and the opening and closing dates will be advertised on FindaPhD.com and on the SCM DTP-MR website.  ​For further details on the application process, please refer here

In addition, five Industrial MRC CASE (iCASE) studentships will be available for doctoral study at Cambridge, to start in October 2022. These studentships allow postgraduate research students to receive high quality research training, with the additional benefit of working closely with an industrial partner. These collaborations will provide MRC iCASE students with unique technical and transferable skills, as well as an insight into how commercial science is conducted, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The industry partner specifies a research project that will be of importance to them, and provides a placement at their premises for the student of at least 3 months, together with an additional non-academic supervisor. Projects for MRC iCASE studentships will be advertised in Oct 2021, and can be based in either the School of Clinical Medicine, or the School of Biological Science. For further details on the application process, please refer to the MRC DTP website.

Each studentship (MRC iCASE and SCM DTP-MR), is fully-funded for four years with a stipend of £18,000 p.a., and includes all course fees, plus a research training support grant.

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From the Department of Medicine

This innovative programme was established in 2002 as a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US. Its aim is to train outstanding students in biomedical research, taking advantage of the excellent research environments. Students work on collaborative projects organised by co-supervisors at both Cambridge and the NIH, spending two years at each institution. Students have access to all NIH facilities and are paid by the NIH. The PhD is awarded by the University of Cambridge.

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Department Members


Professor Patrick Chinnery
Head of Department

  • 61 Academic Staff
  • 98 Postdoctoral Researchers
  • 125 Graduate Students

http://www-neurosciences.medschl.cam.ac.uk/

Research Areas