Wellcome Four Year PhD Programme in Integrative Cell Mechanisms

Training the next generation of Molecular Cell Biologists

Background and Aims of Programme

The Wellcome Four Year PhD Programme in Integrative Cell Mechanisms (iCM) is closely associated with the Wellcome Centre for Cell Biology and trains the next generation of cell and molecular biologists in the application of quantitative methods to understand the inner workings of distinct cell types in different settings.


A detailed understanding of normal cellular function is required to investigate the molecular cause of disease and design future treatments. However, data generated by biological research requires increasingly complex analysis with technological advances in sequencing, mass spectrometry/proteomics, super-resolution microscopy, synthetic and structural biology generating increasingly large, complex datasets. In addition, innovations in computer sciences and informatics are transforming data acquisition and analysis and breakthroughs in physics, chemistry and engineering allow the development of devices, molecules and instruments that drive the biological data revolution. Exploiting technological advances to transform our understanding of cellular mechanisms will require scientists who have been trained across the distinct disciplines of natural sciences, engineering, informatics and mathematics.

To address this training need, iCM PhD projects are cross-disciplinary involving two primary supervisors with complementary expertise. Supervisor partnerships pair quantitative scientists with cell biologists ensuring that students develop pioneering cross-disciplinary collaborative projects to uncover cellular mechanisms relevant to health and disease.

Applications are encouraged from students with a variety of backgrounds across the biological and physical sciences, including Biochemistry, Biomedical Science, Cell Biology, Chemistry, Computational Data Sciences, Engineering, Genetics, Mathematics, Molecular Biology and Physics. Students are trained to adapt, broaden and apply their skill set to the understanding of cellular mechanisms of biomedical importance.

Course Structure

Programme Enquiries:  phd.wcb@ed.ac.uk