School of Pharmacy

UK funded vacancies

Funded by research councils, charities and industry, these studentships cover tuition fees and, for most UK students, provide more than £17,000 per year towards living expenses. They last four years, or three if you already have an MRes, MSc or other postgraduate degree.

Male student working with a microscope


How to use the table

We've listed specific positions with secured funding in the table below. Clicking on a member of staff's name will take you to their personal home page whereas clicking on a PhD title will show more details about that particular project. If your research interest isn't listed, please contact us to talk about potential opportunities.

Research Opportunities (UK students)

Member of StaffTitle

Dr Veeren Chauhan

Fluorescent Nanosensors for Biological Measurement

Dr Veeren Chauhan

Deciphering Surface Communication in Nematodes: A Bioinformatics and Mass Spectrometry Approach

Current research opportunities 

Fluorescent Nanosensors for Biological Measurement

Supervisors: Dr Veeren Chauhan, Professor Jonathan Aylott and Professor Phil Williams

Subject areas: Biophysics, Biotechnology, Analytical Chemistry, Optical Physics, Nanotechnology, Bioinformatics

About the project

Fluorescent nanosensors are inert, versatile biosensors, that can be used to make important measurements of key molecules and ions in microenvironments at the physics of life interface and are ideal for real-time measurements of dynamic processes [1].

At the University of Nottingham, fluorescent nanosensors have been developed to quantify pH, [2] molecular oxygen [3] and temperature [4] in complex model systems. Of these sensors, the pH-sensitive fluorescent nanosensors have gathered the greatest momentum. They have been evaluated and validated in a range of complex and diverse microenvironments and demonstrated their immense potential by mapping the acidification in nematode model organisms (Caenorhabditis elegans [5] & Pristionchus pacificus [6]), elucidation of subcellular fermentation pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae [7], determined the intracellular processing of foreign material in human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) [8] & characterised the evolution of acid by-products during bacterial biofilm growth [9].

The new understanding gained from innovative analytical tools developed as part of this project will advance micro-environmental insights in biological systems, currently not possible with conventional techniques, such as probes and free fluorophores. This will ultimately lead to the optimisation of disease prediction, diagnosis and intervention through improvements in understanding of ion and molecule flux in biological microenvironments.

This project will provide diverse training opportunities for the PhD candidate in fluorescence, microscopy, spectroscopy, analytical chemistry, particle characterisation and model system culture. With support from the experienced supervisory team, the research conducted will pave-the-way towards establishing new methods towards the understanding the complex and dynamic functions of ions and molecules in diverse biological systems. This data obtained will be used to generate high impact publications and opportunities to disseminate research at international conferences.

This project will continue the application of pH-sensitive fluorescent nanosensors to diverse biological environments, which include fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), Thale cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) and CHO/Heck 293 cell culture for bioprocessing. As well as develop new biosensors for key biological molecules and ions.


 1] S. Ahmed, V.M. Chauhan, A.M. Ghaemmaghami, J.W. Aylott, New generation of bioreactors that advance extracellular matrix modelling and tissue engineering, Biotechnology Letters, 41 (2019) 1-25.

[2] V.M. Chauhan, G.R. Burnett, J.W. Aylott, Dual-fluorophore ratiometric pH nanosensor with tuneable pK(a) and extended dynamic range, Analyst, 136 (2011) 1799-1801.

[3] V.M. Chauhan, F. Giuntini, J.W. Aylott, Quadruple labelled dual oxygen and pH-sensitive ratiometric nanosensors, Sensing and bio-sensing research, 8 (2016) 36-42.

[4] V.M. Chauhan, R.H. Hopper, S.Z. Ali, E.M. King, F. Udrea, C.H. Oxley, J.W. Aylott, Thermo-optical characterization of fluorescent rhodamine B based temperature-sensitive nanosensors using a CMOS MEMS micro-hotplate, Sensors and Actuators B-Chemical, 192 (2014) 126-133.

[5] V.M. Chauhan, G. Orsi, A. Brown, D.I. Pritchard, J.W. Aylott, Mapping the Pharyngeal and Intestinal pH of Caenorhabditis elegans and Real-Time Luminal pH Oscillations Using Extended Dynamic Range pH-Sensitive Nanosensors, Acs Nano, 7 (2013) 5577-5587.

[6] J.W. Lightfoot, V.M. Chauhan, J.W. Aylott, C. Rödelsperger, Comparative transcriptomics of the nematode gut identifies global shifts in feeding mode and pathogen susceptibility, BMC research notes, 9 (2016) 142.

[7] M.M. Elsutohy, V.M. Chauhan, R. Markus, M.A. Kyyaly, S.J.B. Tendler, J.W. Aylott, Real-time measurement of the intracellular pH of yeast cells during glucose metabolism using ratiometric fluorescent nanosensors, Nanoscale, 9 (2017) 5904-5911.

[8] R.P. Harrison, V.M. Chauhan, D. Onion, J.W. Aylott, V. Sottile, Intracellular processing of silica-coated superparamagnetic iron nanoparticles in human mesenchymal stem cells, Rsc Advances, 9 (2019) 3176-3184.

[9] B. Blunk, M. Perkins, V.M. Chauhan, J.W. Aylott, K.R. Hardie, Fluorescent Nanosensors Reveal Dynamic pH Gradients During Biofilm Formation, bioRxiv, (2020) 2020.2007.2031.230474.

The successful candidate will:

  • have a high first degree (2:1 or above) in a Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacy or a related scientific discipline, which include Bioinformatics and Mathematics  
  • receive a full studentship tax free (fees and stipend at UK rates) for 3.5 years
  • The project is suitable for candidates with a scientific background who would like to develop their experimental analytical skills.
  • A background in bioinformatics and mathematics is desirable.


  • The studentship is only available for UK candidates. The studentship will provide full-time UK tuition fees and stipend, in line with UK stipend rates for 42 months
  • Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a minimum of a 2:1 degree in a related subject 

How to apply

Informal inquiry before applying is welcome and recommended. Please contact Dr Veeren Chauhan by email.

Application deadline: 22 December 2023 


Deciphering Surface Communication in Nematodes: A Bioinformatics and Mass Spectrometry Approach

Supervisors: Dr Veeren ChauhanDr Dong-Hyun Kim and Dr David Scurr

Subject areas: Bioinformatics, Biological Sciences, Data Analysis, Mass Spectrometry, Parasitology

About the project

Aim: This groundbreaking funded PhD project at the University of Nottingham is set to tackle one of biology's pressing challenges: understanding and controlling parasitic nematodes. Leveraging bioinformatics and cutting-edge mass spectrometry techniques like TOF-SIMS, 3D OrbiSIMS, and UPHPLC, the project aims to investigate the surface chemical differences between free-living and parasitic nematodes.

The Challenge: Parasitic nematodes pose a significant threat to human health, agriculture, and the environment. They are responsible for severe diseases in humans, livestock, and crops, leading to substantial economic losses and health issues worldwide. This project seeks to uncover the secrets of these elusive creatures, focusing on their surface chemistry, which is key to their survival and pathogenicity.

Why Surface Mass Spectrometry? Surface mass spectrometry stands as a revolutionary tool in this quest. It offers unparalleled precision in analyzing the chemical composition of nematode surfaces. This information is critical in understanding how these parasites interact with their hosts and environments, potentially leading to breakthroughs in nematode control strategies.

Impact: Your research will be at the forefront of a significant scientific endeavor, contributing to the global fight against parasitic nematodes. By unlocking the mysteries of their surface chemistry, you could pave the way for novel control methods and treatments, significantly benefiting agriculture, health, and environmental sectors.

Training and Career Development:

  • Extensive training in advanced mass spectrometry techniques and bioinformatics.
  • Opportunity to collaborate with leading scientists in the field.
  • Development of a unique skill set at the intersection of biology, chemistry, and data analysis.

The University of Nottingham has a long-standing reputation for world-class research. The School of Pharmacy is ranked 5th in the world (2019 QS World Rankings) for pharmacy and pharmacology and was recently awarded an Athena Swan Silver award. The School was also ranked joint 1st in the UK rankings on quality of research for Pharmacy Schools in the most recent Research and Excellence Framework (REF) and has a strong collegial ethos. Furthermore, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Panel judged that the University of Nottingham delivers high quality teaching and learning to students.

Candidate Requirements:

  • A high first degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant scientific discipline (e.g., Biology, Chemistry or Bioinformatics)
  • Strong interest n mass spectrometry, and bioinformatics
  • Desire to contribute to a globally significant research area


  • The studentship is only available for UK candidates. The studentship will provide full-time UK tuition fees and stipend, in line with UK stipend rates 
  • Candidates must possess or expect to obtain, a minimum of a 2:1 degree in a related subject 

How to apply

Informal inquiry before applying is welcome and recommended. Please contact Dr Veeren Chauhan by email.

Application deadline: 22 December 2023 

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