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I wanted to do a PhD at the University of Cambridge because I became interested in medicine at a young age, and as an undergraduate, I became particularly curious about the neural underpinnings of cognition and behaviour.

My PhD was focused on understanding the physiological and neurocognitive correlates of a transdiagnostic eating disorder symptom, binge-eating. ‘Binge-eating’ is characterised by the consumption of an objectively large amount of food within a relatively short period of time, and whilst it is commonly associated with obesity, individuals who fall along the full weight spectrum suffer from this syndrome. However, at the start of my PhD, there was limited knowledge on whether the mechanisms underlying binge-eating are conserved across disorders and weight classes.

I would rate my standard of supervision as a 10 out of 10. I feel extremely grateful to have had the support and guidance on my PhD project that I did, and I don’t believe I could have undertaken this work anywhere else. I felt well supported by the department and my lab throughout my time in Cambridge.

My advice to future students would be to take advantage of the incredible resources at Cambridge, whether that is attending talks, workshops or courses, or forming collaborations with students and researchers from across the university. I was fortunate to work closely with clinicians and scientists from the Institute of Metabolic Science and the Department of Engineering, and this made a real difference in how I conceptualised my own research questions.

 

 

Maggie Westwater (April 2021)

I joined the Department of Psychiatry in 2013, first as an MPhil student, and later, as a PhD student. I work on the genetics of autism and related traits with the aim of developing genetically informed stratification of the autism spectrum. What I really value about the research here is the mix of basic and clinical sciences. At the Autism Research Centre and other labs in the department, there's research on wide-ranging ideas from the development of brain networks to developing apps to help autistic kids better communicate and understand social cues. However, whilst different labs are working on different questions, there is a sense of community and collaboration. In particular, the annual graduate student symposium and the postdoc day brings people from all the different labs together to brainstorm and swap ideas. 

 

Outside of the Department, I've also really enjoyed college life in Cambridge. It's great to grab dinner or a drink after a long day's work with people outside my field. There is so much happening in Cambridge:  Here, you can row with Olympians, watch thespians on stage at the ADC, share a table with a Nobel laureate at the local cafe, or simply, let your hair down at one of the many parties in the colleges. There's something for everyone! There really is no better place to conduct cutting-edge research.

 

Varun Warrier (October 2017)

I pursued my PhD in Psychiatry at Trinity College, University of Cambridge from 2013–16 as a Gates Cambridge scholar. During this time, I had the privilege to be supervised by Professor John O’Brien, an NIHR Senior Investigator in dementia research for over 15 years.

My research interests concern the use of structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study abnormal brain changes that are associated with cognitive impairment and Lewy body diseases (ie Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies). To this end, the Department of Psychiatry has provided a highly conducive environment to nurture my intellectual growth as a student. It has an excellent infrastructure (eg cutting-edge neuroimaging research facilities) that is matched by a broad range of world-leading expertise across diverse psychiatric conditions (schizophrenia, depression, compulsive disorders, dementia, etc).

Indeed, one of the things that struck me very early on as a PhD student was the sheer amount of opportunities for cross-talk among the various research groups within the department. This is quite a remarkable feat considering that we are scattered across different sites in Cambridge! As a previous student representative, I have also helped to organise the Cambridge psychiatry graduate symposiums where graduate students are brought together annually to present their projects. Often times, these departmental events have led to organic discussions which later materialised into concrete collaborations for myself and others.

The accessibility to such a wide variety of expertise – which I think is exceedingly rare for a department – has also allowed me to learn and apply new methodologies to probe my MRI data from unique perspectives. After completing my PhD studies, I have since taken up a research associate position at the Old Age Psychiatry group to investigate the impact of amyloid and tau on disease progression in dementia with Lewy bodies.

Elijah Mak (April 2017)

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Key Information


3-4 years full-time

5-7 years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Psychiatry

Course - related enquiries

Application - related enquiries

Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2021
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2020
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2022
Course Starts
April 17, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Michaelmas 2022

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
May 16, 2022
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2022

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Oct. 4, 2022
Course Starts
Jan. 5, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Applications open
Sept. 1, 2021
Application deadline
Jan. 14, 2023
Course Starts
April 17, 2023

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 2, 2021
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 13, 2021

These deadlines apply to applications for courses starting in Michaelmas 2022, Lent 2023 and Easter 2023.


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