Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Molecular Basis of Human Disease


Molecular Basis of Human Disease studentships offer an exciting opportunity to investigate the principles and mechanisms of the dynamic spatial organisation of molecules, cells and tissues with a view to understanding the molecular basis of human disease. Jointly supervised by internationally leading experts from biomedicine, engineering and the physical sciences, this programme will enable you to integrate cutting-edge molecular, quantitative and analytical approaches to undertake exciting research projects that will reveal the molecular basis of human disease to enable the development of novel therapies and treatments. Students will benefit from:

Project supervisors (listed alphabetically)

  • Mohan Balasubramanian (Medical School) l We use a combination of biochemistry, high-throughput drug screening and animal modelling to understand and treat hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathies. We collaborate with Faizel Osman (UHCW) and Karuna Sampath (Medical School).
  • Amol Bhandare I We use advanced in-vivo Ca2+ imaging in freely behaving rodents combined with other molecular techniques to understand neuron-glia interactions in health and disease, especially epilepsy. We collaborate with Nicholas Dale (SLS) and Jose Gutierrez-Marcos (SLS).
  • Andrew Blanks (Medical School) | My lab is interested in parturition (child birth) in mammals, particularly human uterine physiology and the basis of electrogenesis in uterine smooth muscle (contraction) with a view to understanding the molecular basis of labour dysfunction in humans, such as pre-term birth, and to identify new treatments. We work closely with Magnus Richardson (Mathematics Institute)

  • Johannes Boltze (Life Sciences) | We are interested in cerebrovascular diseases, such as stroke or vascular dementia which are characterised by poor blood flow. We decipher the molecular processes that triggers inflammatory and immunological cascades that lead to long-term brain damage to aid development of new diagnostics and therapies. Working with Bruno Frenguelli and Robert Huckstepp (Life Sciences)
  • Andrew Bowman (Medical School) | My research utilises novel synthetic biology approaches and fluorescence microscopy to understand chromatin assembly in human cells and its deregulation in human disease | We are working with Nigel Burroughs (Mathematics Institute)
  • Jan Brosens (UHCW and Medical School) | The Brosens lab is focussed on elucidating the mechanisms of persistent reproductive failure, including recurrent implantation failure and recurrent pregnancy loss | We work with Sascha Ott (Computer Science) and Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research
  • Rob Cross (Medical School) | We study the force generating mechanisms of kinesins and microtubules and how they are disrupted in human disease. We collaborate with: Nigel Burroughs (Mathematics Institute) and Carolyn Moores (Birkbeck)
  • Robert Dallmann (Medical School) | Our research is focused on the interplay between our internal timing system (circadian clock) and its dysfunction in human disease and its exploitation for therapeutic benefit | We work with: David Rand (Mathematics Institute) and Sebastien Perrier (Chemistry and Medical School).
  • Samuel Dean (Medical School) l We are interested in how trypanosomes build their flagellum (cilium in humans) as a model to understand the molecular basis of human ciliopathies. My work intersects with that of: Anne Straube (Medical School) and Sascha Ott (Medical School).
  • Ann Dixon (Chemistry) l We combine experimental and computational approaches to investigate the structures and molecular interactions of integral membrane proteins that control immune signalling and cancer development. We also study agents that can de-stabilize cell membranes, such as antimicrobial peptides. We collaborate with Phill Stansfeld (Life Sciences) and Darius Koester (WMS).

  • Bruno Frenguelli (Life Sciences) | My lab. is interested in purine signalling in the brain - particularly restoring cellular ATP levels after brain injury as a means to improve outcome in stroke and traumatic brain injury and to exploit adenosine receptors as targets for novel painkillers and anti-epileptic drugs l We work with Mark Wall and Johannes Boltze (Life Sciences) and Dave Spanswick (Medical School)
  • Erin Greaves (Medical School) | We investigate the etiology and mechanisms that cause endometriosis using genetically modified mouse models, in vivo imaging, single-cell discovery in human tissue to identify potential novel therapeutic targets. We collaborate with Jan Brosens (UHCW/WMS), Aparna Ratheesh (Medical School) and David Spanswick (Medical School)

  • Wolfram Gruhn (Medical School) | My lab investigates the environmental and genetic risk factors that contribute to the global decline in male fertility by recapitulating human germ cell development from embryonic stem cells and employing CRISPR-mediated genome and epigenome editing and techniques to monitor the epigenetic and transcriptional state of cells. I will be joining Warwick in October 2023.

  • Marie Holt (Life Sciences) | We study the brain circuits engaged during stress particularly to changes in appetite, heart rate and blood pressure. We use an array of modern neuroscience techniques, including chemo- and opto-genetics, in vivo calcium imaging, and viral anatomical tracing. We will collaborate with Anne Straube (WMS) to understand how long-term stress elicits changes in neuronal trafficking.
  • Darius Koester (Medical School) | My lab studies the mechano-biology of cell membranes using bth quantitative cell biology and reconstituted minimal systems to decipher the underlying biochemical and physical mechanisms involved. We work with Aparna Ratheesh (Medical School) and Mohan Balasubramanian (Medical School)
  • Andrew McAinsh (Medical School) | Origins of chromosome mis-segregation in human disease early human development using live-cell imaging, in vitro reconstitution, genome editing and image analysis | working with: Nigel Burroughs (Maths), Geraldine Hartshorne (UHCW), and Till Bretchneider (Computer Science)
  • Andrew Nelson (Life Sciences) l We study gene regulatory control of cell fate and how its mis-regulation leads to developmental defects. We use trophoblast stem cells, small molecules, CRISPR and functional genomics in Zebrafish to study placenta, liver and pancreas development | working with: Sascha Ott (Computer Science).
  • Ioannis Nezis (Life Sciences) l We interested in the role of autophagy in health and disease, particularly ageing, neuro-degeneration and obesity. To do this we are deciphering the conserved catabolic process that causes cytoplasmic material to be degraded through lysosomes in collaboration with Chris Corre (Life Sciences)
  • Aparna Ratheesh (Medical School) l We study the mechanochemical and biochemical control of macrophage migration through tissue barriers during embryogenesis using quantitative live cell imaging, genetics, biochemistry and biophysics l see Ratheesh, A. et al. Developmental Cell. 2018 May 7;45(3).
  • Stephen Royle (Medical School) l Our lab is interested in understanding mitosis and membrane trafficking at the molecular level to identify new ways to prevent tumour propagation, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease. We work with Richard Bayliss (Leeds), Julia Brettschneider (Statistics) and Corinne Smith (Life Sciences).
  • Karuna Sampath (Medical School) | We are interested in development and cell differentiation in embryonic progenitors using live-imaging, proteomics and genome editing in zebrafish | working with: Till Bretschneider (Computer Science), Andrew Nelson (Life Sciences), Yue Wan (Singapore).
  • Tim Saunders (Medical School) l The Saunders lab investigates the biochemical and biomechanical processes that lead to the emergence of complex organ shape during development. We utilise Drosophila and Zebrafish along with advanced imaging and image analysis tools to bring a quantitative approach to understanding organogenesis. We work closely with Anne Straube (Medical School)
  • Cathy Slack (Life Sciences) | We study the dynamics of metabolism during ageing to understand how metabolic changes impact overall health and longevity. We are particularly interested in how certain cancer-promoting pathways drive metabolic dysfunction leading to age-related physiological decline. We work with Corinne Spickett (Aston) and and Andrew Pitt (Manchester)
  • Corinne Smith (Life Sciences) | We study the structure and mechanism of macromolecular assemblies involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis using high resolution cryo-electron microscopy, fluorescence and biophysical analysis in collaboration with: Matthew Turner (Physics) and Nikola Chmel (Chemistry).
  • Michael Smutny (Medical School) | We study the mechanisms of tissue formation, patterning and homeostasis during zebrafish embryonic development using quantitative live cell imaging, genome editing, biophysical tools, transcriptomics and mathematical modelling. We work with: Till Bretschneider (Computer Science) and Matthew Turner (Physics)
  • Anne Straube (Medical School) | Work in my lab focusses on the mechanisms of microtubule organisation, interactions of microtubule ends with the cell cortex and sub-cellular structures and cargo transport along microtubules to understand microtubule function in muscle differentiation, neuronal transport and viral spread. We primarily use live cell imaging, biochemical reconstitution and proteomic approaches. | working with: Tim Saunders (Medical School), Jeremie Houssineau (Statistics)
  • Matthew Turner (Physics) | My group develops mathematical models to understand DNA organisation and structure and the function and mis-function of membrane sorting and trafficking within cells. We work with Andrew Bowman, Darius Koster, Steve Royle & Corinne Smith
  • Mark Wall (Life Sciences) | We are interested in the control of neural circuits in health and disease with a particular focus on epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease using electrophysiology, behavioural studies, molecular biology, immuno-histochemistry and computational modelling. We work with Magnus Richardson (Mathematics Institute) and Bruno Frenguelli (Life Sciences)

Key Facts

Four-year MSc + PhD fully funded programme

Contact: Tom Hodgekins

Email: mrcdtp at warwick dot ac dot uk