PhD Scholarship for UK or EU applicants in Biomedicine, Biochemistry and Chemistry


Subject area:

Application of mass spectrometry in biomarker discovery and clinical diagnosis: Study of Steroids in Health and Disease

Steroids are biological molecules with a characteristic 4-ring structure. They are essential signalling molecules and also represent markers of disease. They are important in many fields including, developmental biology, immunology, neuroscience and endocrinology.

Vitamins D are a family of compounds, known as the sunshine vitamins, where the steroid ring system has been opened in a light catalysed reaction. Like other steroids, they are ascribed may beneficial effects on health. The compound 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 is the natural vitamin found in blood and its concentration is a marker of vitamins D status. Much still remains to be learnt about the metabolism of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and the biological properties of its metabolites. In this project you will be based at the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University Medical School working under the supervision of Prof Bill Griffiths and will work in collaboration with Markes International Limited on the development of new mass spectrometry-based methods for steroid analysis including discovery and quantification of vitamins D metabolites.

There will be opportunities for you to present your work at national and international meetings. Students trained in the Swansea mass spectrometry group often deliver first author publications in international journals.  The training with cutting edge mass spectrometry technology is ideal for future employments in pharmaceutical/biotech companies, clinical laboratories or in academia.

The ideal candidate will have a 2.1 or better degree in Chemistry, Pharmacy, Biochemistry or Biomedicine or a related subject. Students with an MSc in an similar discipline are welcome to apply.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations.


Value of Award

The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend.  The bursary will be limited to a maximum of £14,002 p.a.

There will also be additional funds available for research expenses.



3 years funding with a 6 month period to complete the thesis.

The achievement of a post graduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS 2 scholar is based on a 60 credit award.


How to Apply

Please contact Prof. William J Griffiths regarding information on the area of research.

For further information on the mass spectrometry research group see

Please contact (Jane Kelly 01792 513565) or (Jane Phipps – 01792  513729) for a relevant application form. Please quote KESS2 studentship with Prof WJ Griffiths.

Eligibility Criteria – Please refer to the KESS 2 student application form for full details. Please contact or for the relevant form. Please quote KESS2 studentship with Prof WJ Griffiths.


3-year Ph.D. studentship in Biomedical Science/Biochemistry/Immunology

We are looking for an ambitious candidate to take on a Ph.D training on a project entitled “Inhibiting IL-17 production by blocking endogenous RORγt agonists for the treatment of autoimmune diseases”. We are passionate to train the next generation biomedical scientist in drug discovery. This is a collaboration project between oxysterol group, molecular modelling group and immunology group at Swansea University Medical School. The studentship is funded by Life Sciences Research Network Wales and Swansea University for 3 years.

Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is a pro-inflammatory signalling protein which plays a pivotal role in driving autoimmunity and inflammatory diseases. Thymus retinoic acid-related orphan receptor gamma (RORγt), a nuclear hormone receptor which controls both IL-17 production by Th17 cells and conversion of naïve CD4+ T cells into Th17 cells, has emerged as a hot drug target for IL-17 inhibitors. A number cholesterol related molecules, including precursors in the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway and also cholesterol metabolites are reported to activate RORγt, however, there is still a debate on exactly which molecule functions as the endogenous ligand(s) driving IL-17 production in Th17 cells. The aim of this project is to elucidate the cholesterol metabolism pathway in Th17 cells and design new drugs to target this pathway.

You will work at the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University Medical School and will be trained on cutting edge technologies such as mass spectrometry, flow cytometry and in silico molecular modelling. There are also opportunities for you to present your work at national and international meetings. Students trained in our group often deliver first author publications in international journals and secure employments in biotech companies. Tentative start date on October 2016. For further information, please contact Dr Yuqin Wang on


Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 undergraduate degree or a Master’s degree or equivalent in Biomedical Science, or Biochemistry.


The studentship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a tax free stipend of £14,296 p.a.

UK/EU and international students are welcome to apply, although only UK/EU tuition fees are covered by this studentship. International students will be required to pay the difference between UK/EU and international tuition fees.


Another important discovery about cholesterol and immunity

The work with our collaborators have now been accepted and published open access in Plos Biology.

Kevin A. Robertson , Wei Yuan Hsieh, Thorsten Forster, Mathieu Blanc, Hongjin Lu, Peter J. Crick, Eylan Yutuc, Steven Watterson, Kimberly Martin, Samantha J. Griffiths, Anton J. Enright, Mami Yamamoto, Madapura M. Pradeepa, Kimberly A. Lennox, Mark A. Behlke, Simon Talbot, Jürgen Haas, Lars Dölken, William J. Griffiths, Yuqin Wang, Ana Angulo, Peter Ghazal, An Interferon Regulated MicroRNA Provides Broad Cell-Intrinsic Antiviral Immunity through Multihit Host-Directed Targeting of the Sterol Pathway, PLoS Biol. 2016 Mar 3;14(3):e1002364. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002364. eCollection 2016.


Oxysterol Group present at BSI congress 2014

Yuqin, Tom and Eylan attended the BSI congress 2014 in Brighton.

Yuqin presented a talk at the “Immunometabolism control in chronic inflammatory diseases” session.

Eylan presented a poster titled “Cholesterol Metabolism during human CD4  T cell activation”.

New GC/Q-ToF now online

The Griffiths-Wang group is pleased to announce that our new Agilent 7200 GC/Q-ToF is now online. This provides a unique ultra-high performance mass spectrometry facility in South Wales, and is available to industry for collaborative research and development applications.