A 3D x-ray of a blowfly
Visualisations of a blowfly thorax created using in-vivo time-resolved microtomography, highlighting several tiny steering muscles (green-blue) alongside the much larger power muscles (yellow-red)
(Image Credit: Dr Simon Walker, Department of Zoology)
Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division


The Department of Biology is one of the leading UK university departments dedicated to research and teaching in biology, possessing world-class strengths across the breadth of modern biological science research.

The department’s research is organised into five sections:

  • Behaviour and Biomechanics
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Evolution and Developmental Biology
  • Microbial and Disease Biology
  • Molecular Plant Biology

There is considerable overlap between these sections, with many members of the department working in more than one section, and many research projects that cut across section boundaries. Indeed, a key characteristic of the department is that it works as a well-integrated whole with collaborations developing naturally between researchers working on diverse topics

All of the department’s laboratories are excellently equipped for modern cell and molecular technologies. In addition, you will have access to a range of unique facilities in the form of the living collections and arboretum of the University’s Botanic Garden and two on-site herbaria of international standing.

There are two routes into undertaking your doctoral research at the department. You may apply directly to the DPhil in Biology. Alternatively, you may apply to one of the University’s Doctoral Training Programmes. The latter are fully-funded, four-year graduate training programmes which involve a training period of taught courses for around three to six months before deciding on a DPhil project. Applicants are encouraged to consider both entry routes.


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