Research at the Life Sciences Interface is well established at Birmingham, with many strong and ongoing multidisciplinary collaborations.

The Sci-Phy Programme focuses on research at the interface between chemical, physical, biomedical, engineering and computer science. Students will apply their skills in research projects addressing three key UK healthcare challenges:

  • Cardiovascular disease - the major killer of over 65’s in the UK
  • Ageing, a UK healthcare grand challenge
  • Trauma -the major killer of under 40s in the UK and over 65’s 

Collaborations with industrial companies, several national research institutes and a leading NHS acute Hospital are embedded in the programme to ensure developments have immediate impact on patients.



In the first year of the programme students complete two short projects to introduce them to postgraduate level research and begin developing the skills which they will use in completing their PhD. We believe the full potential of technical developments in chemical/physical sciences or engineering/instrumentation can only be realised through the application of innovative and sophisticated mathematical and computational tools capable of extracting and maximum utilisation of information pertinent to biomedical sciences . With this in mind, projects are designed to ensure that on completion each student has expertise in, and has made original contributions to, a life science system, a physical science based technology, and the associated mathematical/computational modelling, analysis or processing.

Examples of recent mini-project titles, demonstrating the broad range of research topics available, include:

  • "A new method to analyse diffusion MRI in patients with treatment induced neurodegeneration"
  • "Developing microscopy methods to image sub-micron particles in dentine tubules for antimicrobial applications"
  • "Ruthenium coated fluorescent gold nanoparticles for photobiomodulation"
  • "Controlling extracellular matrix assembly through micro- and nano-topographical cues"

Students often choose to continue working in an area they have explored through a mini-project for their PhD. Although this is not compulsory, the opportunity to sample an area of research before selecting the PhD project enables students to make well-informed choices regarding their PhD research topic.

PhD Projects

The PhD projects undertaken by students in the centre apply the skills developed in the first year to larger projects of a similar nature. Each project is supervised by a physical scientist, a computational scientist and a biomedical scientist to ensure advancements are made in all three areas. Students in the centre work across the university, with previous projects having seen students based in the Medical School, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Computer Science, Psychology, Biosciences and Dentistry and within research groups at Birmingham Children's Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. The ability to work across multiple research environments means students in the centre have access to the widest possible range of facilities and experiences.

For supervisors

We are always interested to hear from academics who have an idea which would require the physical science knowledge or computation skills of our students to develop further. If you are interested in working with us please contact us via