Institute of Healthy Ageing
University College London
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Ph.D. in Gems Lab

About Ph.D. projects in the Gems lab

This research lab regularly trains Ph.D. students. All eight previous graduate students successfully completed their Ph.D.s and published their findings in high impact research journals. For example, Dr Dan Ackerman graduated in 2010, and published first author papers in the journals PLoS Genetics and BioEssays, and was a co-author on papers in Nature, Free Radical Biology and Medicine, Genetics and Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. He is currently a postdoctoral scientist conducting cancer research at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Dr Sara Valentini graduated in 2011, and published first author papers in Nature and Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, and is now a Laboratory Manager at the Sanger Institute near Cambridge. Both presented their work at several research conferences, e.g. the International C. elegans Meeting in Los Angeles, USA.

The research environment here is friendly and supportive, and geared towards innovative and creative scientific investigation at a high level of intellectual and technical excellence. The research team of around 10 people is one of a number of groups working on the biology of ageing in the communal setting of the Institute of Healthy Ageing. The groups intermingle both scientifically and socially (using a shared space for lab meetings, seminars and coffee) and include scientists from around the World, currently including Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and USA.

Requirements for Ph.D. students

To conduct a Ph.D. at UCL requires a bachelor's degree with a good grade (equivalent to a UK upper second class degree or better), and a good standard of English. Ph.D. fees (2017/18) are £4,915 per year for UK students (or £2,455 part time) and (unfortunately) £22,850 for overseas students (or £11,420 part time). Ph.D. projects require up to 4 years, with fees paid for the first 3 years. Also required is at least £16,000 per year to cover the expensive cost of living in London. Thus, the overall cost of a Ph.D. (full time) is ~£78,700 (~€90K EU) for UK students or ~£133,000 (~$180K US, or ~¥1,200K CNY) for overseas students.

If you are interested in the possibility of doing a Ph.D. here, please contact For more information about the practicalities of a Ph.D. at UCL see UCL Doctoral School website. UCL also offers a number of Ph.D. scholarships, though competition for these is stiff: successful applicants often have a first class honours degree and a masters degree.

Masters projects in the Gems lab

1 year masters in research (MRes) projects are available through the Biology of Ageing and Age-Related Disease stream of the Biosciences MRes Programme.

Last modified: 21st September 2017

Sara Valentini and David Gems discussing research at a weekly planning meeting

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