Our research areas

PhD student working in a greenhouse

We offer a broad programme of research opportunities

The DTP offers projects in three overarching research themes: Agriculture and Food Security; Bioscience for Health; and Biotechnology. There are 22 underlying research areas which cut across these three themes. Read about our research themes below, and explore our underlying research areas via the links in the menu.

New for 2024 recruitment is the inclusion of the projects that are potentially available to select from, listed within each of the research themes. 

Download the 2024 Project List here

 Agriculture and Food Security

 Currently over one billion individuals suffer from chronic malnourishment, while nearly 200 million children are severely underweight. Future environmental pressures will require farming to achieve further advances in resource use. Alongside carbon footprint, ‘energy’, ‘nitrogen’, ‘phosphorus’ and ‘water’ footprints may well become the new farming and food currencies.

Sustainable farming will rely upon multi-disciplinary approaches underpinned by sound science and the skills to translate novel solutions into practice. Reducing water and resource use, enhancing food and fuel output and quality, delivering ecosystem services and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are some of the pressing issues that will need to be tackled. Sensory science, brewing science/fermentation projects are also included in this research area. Research projects in Agriculture and Food Security will focus on studies at the molecular, cellular, whole organism, and population levels to address these issues.

Below are a list of the projects available for selection for 2024 with their lead supervisor. 

Agriculture & Food Security Project List for 2024

The projects and lead supervisors
 Project TitleSupervisor & Email
New potent antiparasitic agents against livestock resistant roundworms Hany Elsheikha
Coronaviruses in UK Wildlife  Rachael Tarlinton
Engineering chimeric antimicrobials with multiple mode of action for advanced food protection Boyan Boyev
Understanding the role of Porphyromonas asaccharolytica in ovine footrot  Rachel Clifton
 The genetic and developmental basis of salinity tolerance in the teleost fishes  Andrew MacColl
Using bacterial exometabolites to resdesign plant roots Gabriel Castrillo
Manipulating targeted genes to improve barley resilience: characterising novel environmental stress regulators Guillermina Mendiondo
 Development and assessment of a novel sensitive method for the genetic analysis of complex traits  Cyril Rauch
Investigating the mechanisms of pH homeostasis linked temperature stress response in plants Rahul Bhosale

The identification of novel methods for re-emerging Enterococci pathogen management in intensive poultry farming

Adam Blanchard
How mechanosensing drives root penetration in hard soil? Bipin Pandey
Smart adsorbent materials to mitigate antimicrobial resistance in dairy farm wastewaters (SAM-FARM) Rachel Gomes
How a gaseous hormone is made, mobilised and mediates stress responses in plant tissues  John King
Characterisation and validation of cougar-derived candidate genes for resistance to Septoria tritici blotch (STB) in wheat Rumiana Ray
Enhancing heat tolerance in wheat from wheat wild relatives to improve food security Stella Edwards
Paramyxovirus spillover between humans and livestock - potential for a new pandemic? Alexander Tarr
One Health surveillance approaches to fight AMR using Aritifical Intelligence and big data mining Tania Dottorini
Investigating the role of cytokinin in regulating drought tolerance Anthony Bishopp
Space Farming: Optimising resource use efficiency in Bioregenerative life support systems (BLSS) Alexandra Burgess
Phenotypic and molecular characterisation of rice axr4 mutants Ranjun Swarup
Environmental bioremediation using predatory bacteria - taking the first steps towards applications of Bdellovibrio against pathogens in farm waste Laura Hobley
Microbiomes of beneficial arthropods in agricultural systems and their influence on biocontrol Sara Goodacre
Harvesting novel alleles from the Triticum timopheevii genome for bread wheat improvement Surbhi Grewal
Defend or Welcome: Evolution and regulation of plant cell walls to control microbial colonisation Ute Voss
Environmental pollen resilience: understanding the impact of heat and light stress on pollen development to maintain yield under environmental stress Zoe Wilson
Metaphenomics as a tool for assessing soil health (NTU) Marcello di Bonito
Methane Microbiology Ellen Nisbett
Evolutionary genomics of mirror-image land snails Angus Davison


Bioscience for Health

Projects in our Bioscience for Health theme will focus on maintaining health and wellbeing. This will include projects considering the molecular regulation and control of complex processes, including cancer and ageing and the impact of nutrition and physiological changes upon health and disease.

The work researchers in this area undertake will help to provide understanding of healthy systems to generate fundamental and applied knowledge regarding stress and diseased states in human and animal systems, and understanding of how this can be manipulated for optimal health.

Below are a list of the projects available for selection for 2024 with their lead supervisor. 

Bioscience for Health Project List for 2024

The projects and lead supervisors
Project TitleSupervisor & Email
How are some human skeletal muscles spared from atrophy-inducing signals? Bethan Phillips
Mitochondrial dysfunction in renal proximal tubule underpins kidney disease in all animals David Gardner
Path analysis of connectomes (NTU) Jason Smith
Non-structural protein 6 as a pan-coronavirus immunomodulatory protein Christopher Coleman
Does sweet tooth associate with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes? Qian Yang
Gene switches and treatment resistance in advanced cancer Nigel Mongan
Understanding the role of extracellular vesicles in the regulation of RNA Victoria James
Understanding the role of lysine methyltransferases in ovarian cancer progression and treatment resistance Jennie Jeyapalan
Antisense transcripts as novel biomarkers involved in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer Cinzia Allegrucci 
Using neuroimaging to examine brain structural and functional connectivity Tracy Farr
Investigating tRNA fragments as biomarkers of amyloidosis and alpha-synucleinopathies (NTU) Marion Hogg
Determining the influence of sex hormones on central and peripheral aspects of motor function across the lifespan (NTU) Jessica Piasecki
Behaviour and Addiction: Inhibition of Pavlovian-Instrumental Transfer Charlotte Bonardi
Exosome biogenesis and organelle trafficking in neurodegeneration Alistair Hume
Evolution and plasticity of human cognition Deborah Serrien
Understanding how particulate matter and respiratory viruses influence respiratory ageing using immune competent stem cell derived lung organoids Nicholas Hannan
Hippocampo-prefrontal-subcortical circuit in cognition and behaviour Tobias Bast
The use of Drosophila melanogaster neuronal imaging as a novel tool to test the efficacy of putative Alzheimer's disease drug candidates Marios Georgiou
Physiology, pathology and drug delivery opportunities associated with the lymphatic system of the rectim in animals and humans Pavel Gershkovich
Exploring the bio-instructive properties of glycosaminoglycans Andrew Hook
Genetic and biological rhythm drivers of molecular metabolism in fat and muscle (NTU) Rebecca Dumbell
Cracking the Code: Structural Basis for Regulation of Gene Transcription in HIV Aditi Borkar
Proteomic and electrophysiological features of the aged human neuromuscular junction Mathew Piasecki
Investigating the neurobiological mechanisms of psychedelics and their potential to treat affective disorders Claire Gibson
Using machine learning to uncover patterns in the evolution of protein sequence and function across eukaryote genomes (NTU) Maria Rosa Domingo Sananes
Safeguarding DNA in Humans: Understanding structure and function in the tumour suppressor 'hub' HELQ-RPA-POLD-CX3 Ed Bolt
Synthetic emrbyology: How to build a mammalian embryo Ramiro Alberio
Understanding lymph node determinants of therapy response Jacqui Shields
Role of Glial Fibrillary Protein (GFAP) in the response to Neuronal Degeneration and Injury Claire Friel
Understanding the lifetime accumulation of antimicrobial resistance genes in the human gut microbiome Dov Stekel
Neural and behavioural mechanisms of cognitive flexibility: intergrative neuroscience studies of the overtraining reversal effect Silvia Maggi
Developing nanoscale structural and compositional techniques for vascular pathologies Kenton Arkill
Assessment of protease and ligand-induced PAR2 conformational changes and its subcellular trafficking in living cells - how is inflammatory pain initiated? Raphael Silvanus Haider
Design and development of Gi peptide biosensors for the interrogation of signal transduction processes in G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) Charlie Laughton
How the spinal cord talks to the brain: Illuminating the sensory output system of the spinal cord Kim Chisholm
Telling tails: using computer-based approaches to understand the roles poly(A) tails in gene expression Keith Spriggs
The regulatoin of multipotent stormal cell functions in inflammegeing; a focus on miRNA roles (NTU) Jehan El-Jawhari
Understanding the role of actin nucleation in the cellular stress response (NTU) Amanda Coutts
The striatum as a recurrent neural network Mark Humphries
Investigating regulatory mechanisms of the AP1 transcription factor in hypoxic (low oxygen) cell adaptation Alan McIntyre
Signal boost: Exploiting the solvent effect to optimise signal and functional performance in genetically expressed fluorophores and FRET sensors Kevin Webb
The role of potassium ion channels in central nervous system cell division and stemness Stuart Smith
Deciphering the functional solution structure and structure-activity profile of the macrocyclic antibiotic zelkovamycin Weng Chan
Characterisation of potentially pathogenic enteric viruses from the River Trent, Derbyshire, UK Kenneth Mellits
Advances in genetic mechanisms and pathway analysis towards diagnostic, prognostic and treatment opportunities for osteosarcoma Catrin Rutland
Using computational methods to predict child cognitive development and mental health Sobana Wijeakumar
Do Archaea use Conservative DNA Synthesis in the absence of replication origins? Thorsten Allers
Sexual dimorphic impacts of glucocorticoids upon metabolic resilience (NTU) Craig Doig
Ageing, neurodegeneration and oxygen - does nature have an alternative to haemoglobin for us? Lisa Chakrabarti
Investigating the influence of the tumour microenvironment in 3D models of Diffuse Midline Gliomas Beth Coyle 
Exploring the potential of methenamine as a novel approach for urinary tract infection treatment (NTU) Alasdair Hubbard
The effect of physical activity on the immune system in physically inactive older adults (NTU) John Hough
Immunity in the face of diversity and the development of protective vaccines against African trypanosomes Catarina Gadelha
What is the fact of silver in silver resistant bacteria? David Scott
The exploration of brain-penetrant analogues of cannabidiol (CBD) for enhanced targeting of treatment-resistant cancers Shailesh Mistry 
Characterisation of equine asthma endotypes Sarah Blott
Combining C-H functionalization and SuFEx click chemistry for peptide bioconjugation (NTU) Warren Cross
Developing bismuth-based broad-spectrum antivirals for human and animal health (NTU) Sophie Benjamin
Do ligands with different chemical structures impact conformational changes in GPCRs? Shahida Mallah
Applying RNA Interference Technology to understand the role of 1q amplification in multiple myeloma pathogenesis (NTU) Zahraa Al-Ahmady
Cancer-related cognitive impairment: investigating the impact of peripheral tumours on neuronal plasticity in the brain Graham Sheridan
Can a bad cell turn good? Investigating metabolic resilience of reactive astrocytes in the immune response to brain cancer Sebastien Serres
Sugar addiction - is it all in your genes or all in your tongue? Peter Aldiss
Diminished astrocyte-neuron interactions induces sensory neurodegeneration due to disturbance in metabolic homeostasis (NTU) Richard Hulse
Does carbonation and non-sugar sweetners in carbonated beverages impact appetite sensation? Sally Eldeghaidy
How does survivin inhibit apoptosis? Sally Wheatley
"Receptor Activity-Modifying proteins (RAMPs) as novel pharmacological intervention to target Vasopressin receptor nanodomain" Isabella Maiellaro
Investigating the anti-inflammatory effects of celecoxib and loxoprofen in glioblastoma (GBM) with and without bio-nanoantennae electrical stimulation Frankie Rawson
How does Fusobacterium nucleatum cause gum disease? The contribution of nucleotide second messengers to virulence pathways (NTU) Sarah Kuehne
Deubiquitinase structure determination for drug design  Jonas Emsley
Design and development of allosteric modulators for human beta-adrenoceptors Barrie Kellam
Dissecting quality control of bacterial outer membrane biogenesis Jack Bryant
Developing induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human skeletal muscle models to investigate healthy and pathological ageing Matthew Brook
Does pregnancy alter sweet taste perception and sweet food cravings Matthew Elmes
Self-assembled theranostics: combing PARASHIFT MRI with drug delivery Ben Pilgrim
Effect of the extracellular matric on metabolite regulation and distribution in primary human macrophages Anna Piccinini
Pluripotent stem cell research related to human development and regenerative medicine Masaki Kinoshita
Mammalian stem cells: an experimental platform to study epigenetic changes in development and neurodegenerative disorders Reinhard Stoger
Facilitating protein degradation to impair cell survival (NTU) Cristina Montiel-Duarte
Assessment of a Genomic Informational Field Theory (GIFT) for genetic analysis of complex traits in high performing atheletes (NTU) Ian Varley
Exploring the role of Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) - targeting pathway changes in cancer Natalie Mack
Understanding the hierarchy of cell division in trypanosome parasites Bill Wickstead
Defining the role of fucosyltransferase 2 (FUT2) genetic variants in airway mucocilliary function and inflammatory crosstalk Ian Sayers
Genomic characterization of Staphyloccus haemolyticus and associated bacteriophage (NTU) Jonathan Thomas
The contribution of glycation signalling to unhealthy aging and neurodegeneration Joern Steinert 
Defining the biophysical properties of chromosomes Daniel Booth
Cardiovascular regulation by insulin-like growth factor receptor 1 Samantha Cooper
Exploring the interplay of miRNA, circular RNA and long non coding RNA with the transcriptional regulators KAT6A and KAT6B Hilary Collins
 Investigating the macrophace-mast cells cross-talk and its role in cancer  Anna Malecka
Ladybird alkaloid, Harmonine, and analogues for inhibition of NDMA receptors and acetylcholinesterase in Alzheimer's Disease  Ian Mellor
Reconstitution of mRNA deadenylation by components of the microRNA repression machinery Sebastiaan Winkler
Synthesis of fluorescently labelling ligands for the atypical chemokine receptor 3 (ACKR3) Luke Steven Schembri
How dos GPCR/RAMP signalling co-ordinate blood-brain barrier development? Rob Wilkinson
Studies of GPCR signalling using single molecule protein-protein interaction quantum biosensors Dmitry Veprintsev
Mesoporous metal surfaces as novel platforms for SERS-based biomedical diagnostics (NTU)  Anna Vikulina
Mapping adenosine receptor interactomes in human cells utilising NanoBRET protein-protein interaction & CRISPR/Cas9 mediated proximity proteomics Laura Kilpatrick
CRISPR generated models of Human KAT6 Syndromes: can we restore function? David Heery
The effect of the menopause on cognitive function and visual attention Laurence Warren-Westgate
HYBRID Multifunctional Scaffolds for Guided Tissue Regneration: combating Periodontitis and Associated Infections (NTU) Dmitry Volodkin
Developing a model of the ageing neuroimmune system Andrew Bennett
The extracellular vesicles transglutaminase-2 in regulating early synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease (NTU) Elisabetta Verderio Edwards
Mechanistic Springboard for Healthcare Driven Portable Sodium Sensors Galina Pavlovskaya
Characterising a novel chemogenetic method for inducing aberrant adult hippocampal neurogenesis (NTU) Edward Beamer
Targetting human prolyl oligopepditidase (HuPOP) in inflammation  Ivan Campeotto
Unravelling the role of mitochondrial sulfide oxidation in diabetic neurodegeneration (NTU) Nicholas (Nik) Morton
Robustness of the blood cell development during vertebrate embryogenesis Martin Gering
Investigating the causal role of brain rhythms for cognitive flexibility in the ageing brain Nicholas Myers
Multimodal brain networks in cognition Roni Tibon
The role of melanopsin-based photoreception in visual analysis Paul McGraw
Peturb and record: a multimodal approach to the study of brain connectivity in the attentional network Domenica Veniero
Influences of anxiety on learning and memory Christopher Madan
Neural underpinnings of driving behaviour Matias Ison
The neurochemical dynamics of human semantic cognition JeYoung Jung
Mapping the brain circuits integrating vision and touch with high resolution imaging Elisa Zamboni
Neurochemical changes in response to human errors and shifts in attention Claudia Danielmeier
The role of oestrogen in mediating muscle stem function in women Sophie Joanisse
What makes endothelial cells start growing? Interactions between transcription factors and microtubules Andrew Benest
Differentiation of human amniotic epithelial stem cells into beta islet cells using conditional cellular reprogramming Abdolrahman Shams Nateri



The future is set for renewable and waste feedstocks to play an increasing role Bioscience for Health projects as a source for chemicals and energy production. The DTP offers expertise in bioenergy, biorenewables and sustainable chemistry, and has a strong focus on solving real-world problems using tools from synthetic biology, in partnership with major fuels and chemicals manufacturers and related industries.

Stem cell biology and tissue engineering are also emerging disciplines within the field of biotechnology, biofuels and the bioeconomy. There are important challenges to be overcome in the scale up of production of future cell therapies. A new industry is emerging built on the need to understand how cell therapies can be made at an industrial scale. The BBSRC is playing an important role in the study of fundamental cell biology of stem cells and how differentiation can be controlled to create new classes of biotechnology products. Nottingham has expertise in the production of cardiac, nerve and musculoskeletal cells and works closely with the UK and international industrial community to exploit this basic biological science for industrial applications.

Below are a list of the projects available for selection for 2024 with their lead supervisor. 

The projects and lead supervisors

 Project TitleSupervisor & Email
mRNA methylation regulation of gene expression Rupert Fray
Developing the next generation of immune-modulatory nanomedicine to treat chronic diseases Babatunde Okesola
Identifying the novel natural products in the Klebsiella oxytoca complex using genomic and metabolomic techniques (NTU) Lesley Hoyles
Metalloenzymes for the biodegredation of rubbers Anca Pordea
Cultivated meat production using novel hydrogel fibres with encapsulated livestock stem cells Jing Yang
New Biocatalysts: Identification and directed evolution of a 'clickase' enzyme from a natual protein scaffold Neil Thomas
In-situ cryo-electron tomography of arenavirus entry pathways Toshana Foster
Manufacturing precious metals from waste streams via microbial biotechnology Helena Gomes
Engineering improved carbon capture and conversion in Cyanobacteria utilising metal organic frameworks (MOFs) Andrea Laybourn
Type 5e two-partner secretion systems of Gram-negative bacteria: a novel secretion pathway with biotechnological potential (NTU) Jack C Leo
Differentiation of human amniotic epithelial stem cells into beta islet cells using conditional cellular reprogramming Abdolrahman Shams Nateri
Development of high-throughput engineered human muscle for regenerative medicine and drug discovery (NTU) Livia Santos
Discovering new components and functions of plant oxygen sensing Michael Holdsworth
Green hydrogen from microbial fermentation Simone Morra
One-Pot, Cascade Reaction for production of pharmaceutical intermediates Parimala Shivaprasad
Creating sustainable biofertilisers: optimising endophytic bacteria as nitrogen providers for global plant crops Klaus Winzer
Investigation of the receptor Paqr9 in metabolic health and identification of its novel ligands (NTU) Mark Christian
Psychedelic drugs and serotonergic modulation of functional connectivity in neuronal microcircuits Michael Okun
Computational modelling of the axolotl spinal cord during regeneration Osvaldo Chara
Life on Plastic: Is it really Fantastic? Samantha Bryan
Controlling the function of individual neurons with a neural circuit Joseph Sollini
Haploid genetic screens for better delivery systems of therapeutic nucleic acids Snow Stolnik
Non-invasive early-stage disease diagnosis via optical nano-sensors (NTU) Mohsen Rahmani
Polydenylation and signal transduction: Is RNA in charge? Cornelia de Moor
Streamlining synthetic genomes for designer organisms Benjamin Blount
Controlling miR-122: a master regulator of liver health and disease Catherine Jopling
The strong arm of CRISPR-Cas systems Ronald Chalmers
Novel ubiquitin fusions for cancer drug discovery Ingrid Dreveny
Antimicrobial films based on metal-organic framework (MOF)/biopolymer composites Begum Tokay
Bacterial nanowires for Bioelectronic devices Katalin Kovacs
Exploring the role of VGF-derived peptides and their potential therapeutic use in Alzheimer's disease Preeti Jethwa
Synthesis and exploration of hybrid photo-responsive biomaterials Nicholas Mitchell
Sustainable fertilizer production with negative CO2 emissions (NTU) Wenbin Zhang
Fabrication and validation of ultrasensitive next-generation immune-biosensors; torwards a potent tool for personalised medicine (NTU) Yasser El-Sherbiny
Bacterial cellulose production from spent coffee grounds (SCG) and its potential applications Konstantina Kourmentza
Monitoring effects of radiation therapy within a 3D cancer in vitro model using fluorescent quantum sensors (NTU) Ahmad Serjouei
Competition in co-cultures of streptomyces - Identification of novel natural products from the fight for survival Huw Williams
Investigating the prebiotic potential of dietary fibre and polyphenolic compounds in non-alcoholic beer Stephen Lawrence
Autonomous Bioactivity Searching Connor Taylor
Experimental & computational investigation of LPMO mimics David Robinson


How to apply

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946
Email: bbdtp@nottingham.ac.uk