PhD studentship in the Department of Clinical, Pharmaceutical and Biological Science


Qualification type: PhD

Location: Hatfield, United Kingdom

Funding for: Applicants must be UK nationals or have permanent UK residence status.

Funding amount: The award includes cover for UK home tuition fees and subject to eligibility a stipend at standard RCUK rates. For 2020-2021 this is set at £15,285. This studentship is part-funded by QR funds, University of Hertfordshire and covers a three-year PhD.

Closing application date: 28 February 2021

Start date: April 2021

Project outline

The University invites applications for a PhD student to join our QR funded scheme. This 3-year study aims to investigate certain epigenetic mechanisms underlying Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Specifically, the proposed project will be undertaken to investigate the role and functional significance of altered microRNA expression in patients with PD. State of the art sequencing technology as well as in vitro and in vivo validation tests will be used to deliver data that will help identify novel diagnostic biomarkers relevant to the stratification of PD patients.

Supervisor information

  • Maria Braoudaki, PhD,
  • Mahmoud Iravani, PhD


Our research environment is enriched by the diversity of our staff and students and we take a responsible approach towards further progressing inclusivity. Overall, 35% of our postgraduate research students are of minority ethnic heritage; 65% self-identify as females; and 16.4% have declared a disability. We recognise that subject level trends differ and that nationally, there is much more to be achieved in addressing diversity in the pipeline to success in a research career. That is why we whole heartedly encourage applications from people who identify with a protected characteristic; those from areas with traditionally low participation in higher education; and people who are the first in their family to study at university.

The successful applicant should have a minimum of upper second-class honours degree and a Masters with credit, with focus on computing. The candidate should have an idea ­­about construction or air pollution (through reading or experience). Experience in the use of, or having studied courses with focus on, machine learning, and/or big data analytics will represent an added advantage. Preferred skill requirements include:

Computing focused candidates:

  • Knowledge and experience of Big Data Analytics
  • Knowledge and practical experience of machine learning methods (supervised and unsupervised, deep neural networks and other algorithms, e.g. support vector machine and BART machine; knowledge of generative algorithms is an added advantage)
  • Experience in plug in and software development
  • Knowledge/experience in data visualization
  • Some knowledge of construction and/or air pollution
  • Interest in the management field


Applicants should have a good degree i.e. a 2.1 or higher in biological science or a related subject, or a suitable Master’s degree as well as excellent problem-solving skills.


Experience with Matlab and data mining.

The prospective student will have had previous knowledge and hands-on experience of data analysis and molecular biological techniques. She/He will be trained in areas of research relevant to Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and modern biochemical techniques. The programme of work will address a question of considerable scientific merit and thus it will have direct relevance to clinical neurology and patient stratification.

Application process

To apply for the studentships please complete the application form and email it with a copy of your CV, two academic references, a copy of passport photo page, and copies of qualification certificates and transcripts to

The closing date for applications is 29th February 2021. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an online interview in March 2021. If you have not had a reply within 3 weeks of the deadline, you have unfortunately been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Informal enquires should be addressed to Maria Braoudaki ( or Mahmoud Iravani ( Please note that applications sent directly to this address will not be accepted.