skip to content

Postgraduate Admissions


A fully funded AstraZeneca PhD studentship is available, commencing in October 2022, to investigate whether antibodies targeting actin regulatory proteins have potential as in vivo expressed biologics. This project is located 50% at AstraZeneca (AZ) and will make use of AZ's considerable experience in developing antibody therapeutics. The actin cytoskeleton is critical for cell function and alterations in its regulation are implicated in multiple disease pathways, including immunological diseases, kidney disease, neurodevelopmental defects and cancer. Actin filaments are highly dynamic, assembling into multiple distinct networks that includes filopodia; thin actin rich finger-like protrusions essential for sensing and responding to external stimuli. The studentship project builds on a successful collaboration between the Dobson and Gallop groups: a phage display screen on the filopodia-like structures cell-free system identified a panel of antibodies with high affinity and specificity that produce distinct changes in actin assembly in vitro (Jarsch et al, J Cell Biol, 2020

This project aims to test the utility of the antibodies in cellular models, by optimising their design and testing efficacy on measures of actin cytoskeletal activity. Starting with the antibodies that recognise SNX9, the student will test the expression and stability of single chain and IgG antibodies and fragments in cell lines. The student will establish commonly used cellular assays for endocytic uptake and cell migration, such as EGF uptake, scratch and transwell migration assays.

The student will receive a tailored career development programme designed to broaden their research and professional skills and the opportunity to participate in training and cohort building events with AZ programme and other students. In addition to her/his AZ and University supervisors, each PhD student will also have an advisor and a postgraduate thesis panel comprising three members of faculty, two of which are chosen by the student.

Applicants should have or shortly expect to obtain a minimum of a UK II.i Honours Degree (or equivalent) in Biochemistry or a related subject. We are looking for highly motivated, enthusiastic and industrious individuals who are capable of thinking and working independently. The studentships are available to students who meet the UK residency requirements. Further information about your fee status can be found at the following website: Applications: Fully completed applications (including references) must be submitted by the deadline. Please search in the Course Directory for "Biochemistry" PhD studentships, selecting course code BLBI22 as the programme of study. In addition to the application, please email a covering letter (max two A4 pages) highlighting (a) your research interests, (b) what you hope to achieve from the programme, (c) your career aspirations beyond the programme, and (d) why you wish to undertake this PhD before the deadline to

Funding: A stipend (currently £18,500 pa) will be provided for up to 3.5 years with effect from 1 October 2022. This funding also covers the University Composition Fee and Maintenance, and an allowance for consumables.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years in the first instance.

If you have any questions, please in the first instance forward your enquiry to our Postgraduate Admissions Administrator at

The closing date for applications is 12 noon on 31 January 2022.

Please quote reference PH29629 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Key Information

Department of Biochemistry

Reference: PH29629

Dates and deadlines:

Thursday, 6 January, 2022
Closing Date
Monday, 31 January, 2022