Five paid-for Studentships in Life Sciences on offer! Apply now


We’re offering a variety of PhD projects across biological sciences including: Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare, Biomedical Sciences, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Evolution and Ecology, Microbiology, Forensic Anthropology, Biology and Zoology.

Of the ten advertised projects, five applicants, on five projects will be selected for funding, contingent upon the strength of the applicants.

Our Studentships are open to UK, EU and Overseas Students, Tuition Fees are included. Students will get a Stipend/Living allowance of £14,296 per annum. You will start 1st October 2016 and the Studentship will last 36 months.

Applications close 1st April – Apply now to not miss out!


Take a look at the projects on offer below.

Click staff names to email

1. Linking phenotypes with genotypes for canine chemosensory perception


Dr Malgorzata Pilot


2. Next generation analyses using next-generation DNA sequencing: testing theory for the population genomics of microbes

Contact Dr Matthew Goddard



3.  Protein conformational switches

Contact Dr Enrico Ferrari


4. Evaluating resistance mechanisms of the newly discovered antibacterial Texiobactin

Contact Dr Edward Taylor


5. Cell-to-cell communication in the diabetic kidney – keeping the art of conversation alive

Contact Dr Claire Hills


6. Characterisation of T-cells infiltrating the Type 1 diabetic islet

Contact Dr Michael Christie


7. Using virtual reality to investigate ‘protean’ anti-predator behaviour

Contact Dr Tom Pike


8. Identifying genome-wide transcriptional determinants of Alzheimer’s disease progression

Contact Dr Humberto Gutierrez


9.  State-dependent ageing and senescence across multiple traits

Contact Dr Carl Soulsbury


10.  Genetic basis of Morbillivirus resistance in Mediterranean striped dolphins: a 20 year time series immunogenomic and toxicology analysis, with emphasis on the effect of anthropogenic pollutants

Contact Dr Andre Moura



Candidates must have a good honours degree, or a relevant Masters degree or equivalent. A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 (or equivalent) will be required, where appropriate.

To apply:

We strongly encourage potential applicants to contact the named main supervisor for each of these to discuss the details of the project and suitability for application before submitting formal expression of interest.

Formal expressions of interest can be made by emailing your CV and a covering letter to the listed supervisor for that project. Please quote Reference: CS2016LS on all correspondence.


Eye-opening trip to Guatemala inspires PhD student research


University of Lincoln PhD student Ryan Austin went on an enriching and inspirational trip to Guatemala for his MSc Forensic Anthropology course, and is taking his research back in time to make some historic discoveries of the Guatemalan conflict.

Ryan’s research topic is ‘Identifying the missing; Utilising Strontium Isotopes for Geolocation; the voice of Guatemalas forgotten’ and he will be using Inductively Coupled Plasma- Mass Spectrometry to analyse the remains of individuals involved in the Guatemalan conflict of 1960 – 1996. Using strontium isotope ratios, most specifically strontium 87/86, will allow individuals to be separated based on the areas where they spent their lives.

This for the subject area represents a clear example of a scientific project with a clear humanitarian aim. Ryan will be working alongside the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) in the hope of repatriating those who were disappeared during the troubles. The majority of the attacks were aimed at the indigenous Maya with the Historical Clarification Commission (CEH) reporting that out of the 200,000 reported victims 83% were indigenous.

In terms of identification, when DNA fails many of these communities can be recognised by their clothing whose patterns are characteristic to the area of origin. However in many instances clothing has degraded due to the conditions of the burial such as bug activity and moisture.

Isotopes offer an objective method to determine the areas where these individuals lived during their lifetime. This allows ante-mortem data collection (information regarding a missing person) to be focused to these areas and increases the probability of individuals being reunited with their families and communities.

We will keep you up to date on Ryan’s discoveries as his research continues.

If you’re interested in Postgraduate study, click here to see Ryan explaining why Further Education could be the right choice for you.

Looking to go into postgraduate study?

RyanAustinWe spoke to MSc Forensic Anthropology student Ryan Austin who was awarded a Joseph Banks Scholarship to continue his studies here at University of Lincoln.

Ryan boasts the positives, saying: “The Forensic Anthropology course and the lecturers are brilliant; it’s a very hands-on course and the lecturers experience is fundamental.

“We’ve got experts in Forensic Anthropology and Disaster Victim Identification. We can develop the course and make sure it’s for the students and made for them rather than it being stale and the same every year.”

PhDs can be heavily research-based, but Ryan says not to let it put you off, adding: “It’s brilliant and really interesting, but hard work.”

For anyone looking into postgraduate courses, he advised: “Look at the universities interests and see what they’re doing, see what the lecturers are doing and their skills set and what their current research topics are. You can then see if any of your ideas fit in with their current research interests.”

There are a range of scholarships on offer to help fund your postgraduate degree here at Lincoln.

“I did mine through the Joseph Banks Scholarship, which was a very short application where you outline your method and research interests and go through the interview process, and then you find out if you’re accepted.”

Ryan is hoping to get the university interested in his research topics when it comes to the REF 2020 and wants to one day become a lecturer at the University of Lincoln.

See more information on postgraduate scholarships here.

Science students helping families of war crime victims

The skeletal remains of a grandfather executed by soldiers more than 30 years ago during Guatemala’s brutal internal armed conflict have been exhumed and analysed by science students on a unique field trip.

The group of postgraduates from the University of Lincoln, UK, were accompanied by programme leader Gillian Fowler and forensic anthropology technician Marco Perez.

Gillian previously spent six years working for the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) where she was involved in the exhumation of graves containing innocent victims of the uprising against the military dictatorship of the 1980s. Marco spent 12 years working for the FAFG as the Head of the Social Anthropology Unit.

The team travelled to a remote region in the highlands of Guatemala to carry out two exhumations, both graves containing victims extra judicially executed by the army.

Accompanied by archaeologists from the FAFG, they exhumed the body of a man in the village of Batz Chocola, a three hour drive from the town of Nebaj. Family members were present as the remains of the grandfather were uncovered.

The second exhumation took place on an ex-military base, on the outskirts of Cotzal, near to Nebaj, where the students spent three further days digging trenches. On the third day one trench revealed clothing and further careful excavation uncovered a grave of six individuals. They had been thrown into the grave and all had their hands tied. Ballistic evidence was also recovered from the grave, indicating the victims had been shot.

Back in Guatemala City, the group of students from Lincoln’s MSc Forensic Anthropology programme returned to the FAFG laboratory to analyse the remains. Their findings will add to evidence being collected by the country’s state prosecutor to bring perpetrators of war crimes to justice.

Postgraduate student Ryan Austin said: “The field trip gave us the opportunity to experience first-hand the demands of being a Forensic Anthropologist and both the practical and mental challenges that ensue. Comparatively, on a personal level to work on human rights issues and know that we have contributed in some small way to the families in their pursuit of closure and justice while still on our Masters is a remarkable privilege.”

Fellow student Stephanie Morgan said: “It was an honour to be able to meet the family of one of the victims, and to see how the community deals with the disappeared was a humbling experience. To witness how the FAFG helps the community and what it means to the families shows how important this work is.”

On the students’ work Nancy Valdez, FAFG Field School Coordinator, said: “During the two week field school the students demonstrated an excellent performance in both the development of professional and sociocultural activities. They displayed huge interest in the work and were eager to learn, as well as showing respect and thoughtfulness towards the families.”

Gillian Fowler, Senior Lecturer in the University of Lincoln’s School of Life Sciences, leads the MSc in Forensic Anthropology and established the student field work with the FAFG. Recognised internationally for her work on mass grave exhumations, she has also been involved with the Afghan Forensic Science Organisation (AFSO) from its inception in 2010 and contributed to a special report which outlines steps Afghanistan can take to help identify the victims of the country’s 35-year conflict.

She said: “The students have been well-trained throughout their course to carry out complicated analytical tasks taking instruction in Spanish and the FAFG were very impressed with their abilities. The final day was spent in the FAFG’s DNA lab where they worked on family reference samples and prepared bone samples for DNA extraction and analysis.

“This was a real test for the students who had to prove themselves and work in very difficult conditions. I am extremely proud of how they handled themselves and they are a credit to the University of Lincoln. We are the only Masters programme to incorporate this type of experience within the course in the UK and I believe this hands-on experience is essential to anyone wishing to develop their skills in forensic anthropology.”

Guatemala 1 Guatemala 2 Guatemala 4 Guatemala 5 Guatemala 6 Guatemala 7 Guatemala 8 Ryan Austin

Research will help inform pre-flood planning

A team of researchers from the University of Lincoln, UK, are working with the residents of Canvey Island in Essex to record the unique history of those families affected by the North Sea Flood of 1953.

Postgraduate Forensic Anthropology students from the University’s School of Life Sciences will delve into the unique history of the Island by talking to the few remaining survivors and family members that were affected, plus those whose family history relates to the event. The Flood resulted in 58 people losing their lives and the Island population being evacuated.

Councillors, community groups and local residents have been invited to participate in the research project, which will also analyse the recovery methods undertaken to sustain the population.

The ultimate aim is to create a detailed account of residents’ stories in order to give an overview of how the tidal surge passed through the Island on 31st January, 1953.

Stephanie Armstrong, who is leading the research team while on site at Canvey Island, said: “We would like to work with local people in order to outline in detail what actually happened to the victims and how the residents coped in the immediate aftermath. If we are able to gain more knowledge of how the flood passed through the Island, we can help to inform any disaster management planning the council has in place should an event such as this happen in the future. For example, we may be able to recommend where disaster response stations are positioned.”

The team will also construct maps of where the victims were and highlight specific areas of flood risk, which could then feed into a new pre-flood plan currently being worked on by Essex Emergency Services.

Assistant Divisional Officer Martyn Hare, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The information from this research will help us in our future response and preparedness work. This project has identified the areas of Canvey most likely to be hardest hit by flooding and it gives us the intelligence we need to develop strategies to prevent flooding by getting our resources in the right place at the right time and start pumping water into the sea before roads and homes have flooded.

“The data is also helping us target advice to families living in high risk areas to make sure that they take the correct precautions and know exactly what to do if there is a flood.”

Councillor Ray Howard, from Castle Point Borough Council, said: “This research will help to support and promote the civil protection duty placed on the Council under the Civil Contingencies Act 1994 to increase preparedness and warn and inform residents regarding the measures which exist to deal with any emergency taking place in the Borough and the findings of the research will be made available to the public.”

Overseeing the project is Dr Lucy Easthope, senior lecturer at the University of Lincoln and an expert in mass fatality disasters.

Dr Easthope has advised governments, corporations and relief agencies in the aftermath of major incidents, including the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes in New Zealand, as well as developing contingency plans, training programmes and exercises with a number of international organisations.

Interviews with residents will take place at Canvey Fire Station from 10am to 6pm on 23rd and 24th July, 2015.