Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical Sciences


Cutting edge translational research addressing global health challenges, aimed at understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of how the human body functions, how these change during disease and infection and how this may be used to predict, identify and treat disease.

Study Information

At a Glance

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Our research spans biomedical and clinical disciplines ranging from basic laboratory science to clinical and applied research that impacts on many aspects of modern life.

Our aim is to conduct research that ranks among the best in the UK and internationally. Examples of areas of research strength include basic/applied physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry and drug discovery, infection and immunity, neuroscience, cell/developmental biology and cancer.

Research in the School is supported by state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. Our core facilities provide researchers with access to a range of cutting-edge equipment, staffed by experts who help with experimental design, training and data analysis.

Postgraduate students are supported by the Postgraduate School which provides induction, skills training opportunities and help with career planning.

Our Research

Students wishing to undertake postgraduate research in Medical Sciences can choose from:

Master of Science in Medical Sciences

The Masters of Science in Medical Sciences is an advanced postgraduate research masters degree taken over 12-months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time). The degree is designed to prepare students for PhD study or for careers where advanced-level research skills are required.

MD (Doctor of Medicine)

This postgraduate research degree is awarded for original research carried out in a clinical or health-care related context and is undertaken by clinically qualified medical graduates normally during their postgraduate medical training. The MD Degree is not the undergraduate degree that leads to qualification as a medical doctor; this is the MBChB.


A PhD is a Doctor of Philosophy, a prestigious qualification that demonstrates talent, academic excellence and a thirst for knowledge. It usually culminates in a thesis based on research carried out over the course of 3-4 years. The research must “make a distinct contribution to knowledge and afford evidence of originality as shown by the exercise of independent critical powers”. There are no formal lectures or seminars, but your work will be periodically qualitatively monitored by the Graduate School.

Research Interests

Infection & Immunity

The Infection and Immunity Programme embraces a range of research topics with emphasis on molecular mechanisms of infection and host defence. The programme is a community of microbiologists, immunologists, clinicians and industry partners that use state-of-the-art research technologies to address fundamental questions and find new approaches to cure diseases.

Programme Leads

Professor Helen Galley and Professor Heather Wilson


Rasha Abu Eid, Helen Galley, Andy Porter, Mark Vickers, Frank Ward, Heather Wilson, Karolin HijazI, Deborah Lockhart, Alexander Lorenz, Donna MacCallum, Samantha Miller, Carol Munro, Soumya Palliyil, Fiona Rudkin, Ian Stansfield and Pieter van Wes

Molecular Medicine

Our work is aimed at elucidating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underpinning life-long human health and disease, notably cell and developmental biology and cancer. Our research involves a range of experimental approaches including model organisms, cell culture and patient samples.

Programme Leads

Professor Lynda Erskine and Professor Iain McEwan


Professor Anne Donaldson, Dr Shin-ichiro Hiraga, Dr Bin Hu, Dr Takashi Kubota, Professor Iain McEwan, Professor Zofia Miedzybrodzka, Professor Graeme Murray, Professor Valerie Speirs, Professor Heather Wallace, Professor Jon Collinson, Professor Bernadette Connolly, Professor Lynda Erskine, Dr James Hislop, Dr Berndt Muller, Dr Jonathan Pettitt and Dr Neil Vargesson

Systems Physiology

The goal of our programme is to bring together and advance the fields of basic and applied physiology, pharmacology, endocrinology, biochemistry and drug discovery by collaborating on novel biomedical research projects.


Professor Dana Dawson, Professor Mirela Delibegovic, Professor Paul Fowler, Professor Stefan Hoppler, Dr Arimantas Lionikas, Dr Mary MacLeod, Dr Nimesh Mody, Dr Fiona Murray, Dr Nicola Mutch and Professor Graeme Nixon

More information about Systems Physiology

Translational Neuroscience

Translational neuroscience uses a diverse range of experimental approaches to study neuronal function and malfunction, from single genes and molecules to humans. Research investigates genetic, molecular and systems aspects, and incorporates functional as well as structural components based on a wide range of models and techniques.

Programme Leads

Professor Bettina Platt and Professor Gernot Riedel

Supervisors Dr Guy Bewick, Dr Charles Harrington, (TauRX) Dr Jiabao He, Dr Wenlong Huang, Professor David Lurie, Professor Peter McCaffery, Professor Colin McCaig, Professor Simon Parson, Professor Bettina Platt, Dr Ann Rajnicek, Professor Gernot Riedel, Professor David St Clair, Dr Gordon Waiter, Dr Justin Williams and Professor Claude Wischik (TauRX)

Entry Requirements

Normally, the minimum entrance requirement for admission to the PhD is a degree with Second Class Honours (Upper Division) in an appropriate field, or equivalent. It is preferable that you hold a Masters in the chosen area of study as well.

If English is not your first language and you have not studied previously at an institution in the UK, you will need to demonstrate your proficiency in English by taking an IELTS, TOEFL or PTE academic test.

International Applicants

Fees and Funding

View the tuition fee rates

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Research Impact

Aberdeen scientists are working towards halting the progression of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases in world leading research.

Watch video

PhD Perspective

PhD student Obinna C Ubah describes his research in the field of molecular biology and genetic engineering.

Watch more PhD Perspectives


A postgraduate qualification in Biomedical Sciences prepares you for a wide range of career options. Many of our graduates obtain posts in Universities, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, or hospital diagnostic and pathology laboratories. Further opportunities are available to apply research training in scientific publishing and communication, charitable sectors, working as a patent examiner on biological patents, in science outreach and contributing to the public understanding of biomedical issues. Some become business entrepreneurs and a few go on to study Medicine.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Postgraduate Research School - The School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition
University of Aberdeen
Crombie Hall
AB24 3TS