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Graduate School of Life Sciences

An inspiring educational experience in a unique environment

Studying at Cambridge


Stem Cell Biology and Medicine

Wellcome Trust Four Year PhD Programme in Stem Cell Biology and Medicine

Studentships starting October 2017

Stem Cell Biology

Stem cells are defined by the dual capacity to self-renew and to differentiate. These properties sustain homeostatic cell turnover in adult tissues and enable repair and regeneration throughout the lifetime of the organism. In contrast, pluripotent stem cells are generated in the laboratory from early embryos or by molecular reprogramming. They have the capacity to make any somatic cell type, including tissue stem cells.

Stem cell biology aims to identify and characterise which cells are true stem cells, and to elucidate the physiological, cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern self-renewal, fate specification and differentiation. This research should provide new foundations for biomedical discovery, biotechnological and biopharmaceutical exploitation, and clinical applications in regenerative medicine.

Cambridge Stem Cell Community

The University of Cambridge is exceptional in the depth and diversity of its research in Stem Cell Biology, and has a dynamic and interactive research community that is ranked amongst the foremost in the world. By bringing together members of both the Schools of Biology and Medicine, this four year PhD programme will enable you to take advantage of the strength and breadth of stem cell research available in Cambridge. Choose from over 50 participating host laboratories using a range of experimental approaches and organisms.

Programme Outline

During the first year students will:

  • Perform laboratory rotations in three different participating groups working on both basic and translational stem cell biology;

  • Study fundamental aspects of Stem Cell Biology through a series of teaching modules led by leaders in the field;

  • Learn a variety of techniques, such as advanced imaging, flow cytometry, and management of complex data sets.

Students are expected to choose a laboratory for their thesis research by June 2018, and will then write a research proposal to be assessed for the MRes Degree in Stem Cell Biology. This assessment will also be used to determine whether students continue on to a 3-year PhD.

Application Closes: Thursday 5th January 2017

Interviews will be held on: 23rd, 24th and 25th January 2017

Application Process

Visit for further details including how to apply. Please note: you will be required to complete and submit a departmental application form, provide two references and upload copies of your transcripts as part of the application process.  Non-EU applicants, who need to apply for additional funding (which covers tuition fees at the ‘overseas’ rate), must also apply through the University Graduate Student Application Form ‘Applicant Portal’ by Wednesday 7th December 2016.

Informal enquiries are also welcome via email to


Welcome to the Graduate School of Life Sciences

We are the largest centre for research and professional training in the Life Sciences in the UK, offering a very special experience to a community of around 2000 graduate students across departments within the School of the Biological Sciences, School of Clinical Medicine and eleven University Partner Institutes in the Cambridge area.

Every year some of the world's brightest and most determined students are attracted by the opportunity to carry out research projects with renowned scientists in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment at one of the world's most respected research-led universities.

The School co-ordinates funding opportunities within the Life Sciences for their postgraduate education, as well as ensuring students receive the highest quality supervision and training.