Medicine - Personalised Medicine - Research
The Personalised Medicine Centre (PMC) aims to develop treatments and clinical tools that take into account a person's individual genetic and molecular signatures. By understanding the interplay of disease with the sequence, expression level, and activation states of genes and other molecules within our bodies, we are creating a new generation of treatments and robust diagnostics to inform clinical decision making across a range of chronic and degenerative diseases.
Since its inception in 2013, the centre has secured more than £24m in competitive grant funding and published more than 380 peer reviewed articles in prestigious top quartile journals (correct as of May 2022). At the forefront of innovation in personalised and precision medicine, the centre has secured 14 patent applications in novel therapeutic and diagnostic advances. The centre contributed to Ulster University's ranking in the top five universities in UK in research power in the Allied Health Professions, with 95% of our impact in REF2021 judged to be world leading or internationally excellent. Across a wide range of world-class research, the centre has developed a global network of partners and collaborative relationships with leading academic institutions and biotechnology, pharmaceutical, data analytics and healthcare sectors.
The centre was established in October 2013 by Professor Tony Bjourson with the award of an £11.5 million grant (European Union Regional Development Fund (ERDF) EU Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for N. Ireland, InvestNI, the Northern Ireland Public Health Agency (HSC R&D), ILEX & Ulster University) .
The Personalised Medicine Centre is based on the Altnagelvin Hospital site in Derry/Londonderry in the C-TRIC building, which offers clinical research organisation services. Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC) was jointly established by Ulster University, Western Health and Social Care Trust (the regional hospital trust) and Derry City and Strabane District Council.
What is Personalised Medicine?
Personalised medicine (also known as precision or stratified medicine) is an approach which subdivides patients into groups based on their risk of developing specific diseases or their response to particular therapies. Personalised medicine is recognised as a key global priority for healthcare providers, pharmaceutical and diagnostic industries and patients. The ultimate aim of a personalised approach to prescribing medicine is to enable healthcare professionals to provide the 'right treatment, for the right person, at the right time.'
Personalised Medicine relies on using biological markers along with imaging and clinical data to separate patients into specific groups for diagnosing and treating disease in more effective ways or at earlier time points than currently possible. In order to realise the potential benefits of personalised medicine, advances in technologies and systems are required to reliably predict disease, select the best treatment and reduce side effects for each individual patient.
Personalised Medicine Centre Capability Overview
Core resources include:
- Dedicated cell culture and microscopy labs
- MiSeq genomic sequencing
- Flow cytometry cell sorting
- State-of-the-art molecular and proteomic equipment
- Data analytics suite
Cell & tissue HTA regulated storage:
Ulster University's BMSRI and the Personalised Medicine Centre have extensive capabilities in human tissue storage, processing and analyses, utilising a barcoded computerised system compliant with the Human Tissue Act (HTA).
The Unit is managed by a Quality Assurance Officer as a core facility with a dedicated support team with access to
- Pressure fed Vapour Phase Cryo Storage System with capacity for up to 22,000 samples
- 1.2 million sample capacity in thirty-five -80° freezer units in a dedicated temperature-controlled environment utilising item tracker labelling and traceability software
- AAW WebReact Temperature Monitoring System
At PMC, we have collated an integrated disease sample biobank (dbPMC), enriched with clinical data and robust laboratory measures of genomic, proteomic and metabolomic determinants. This resource aims to facilitate the discovery and validation of biomarkers associated with disease predisposition and response to therapy, and ultimately more effective treatments.
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master's Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
Get additional information for International applicants at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/international-students
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.
How to Apply
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.
Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application (see "Application Date Weblink" below).
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system (see "Application Weblink").
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.
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Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.