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PhD Studentship in Computing Science - A Computational Systems Biology Approach to Psoriasis Treatment (Rosetrees Trust)

Value of award

100% of UK/EU tuition fees paid and an annual stipend of £14,296 (full award).  Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK/EU fees and international fees.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

October 2017 for 3 years.

Application closing date

31 March 2017.


The aim of this project is to derive personalised ultraviolet B (UVB) treatment regimes for psoriasis, a chronic and disabling inflammatory skin disease, affecting ~2% of the UK population, that prevents patients from living a normal life.  We will integrate computational and multi-dimensional statistical modelling with biomarker analysis to understand what determines individual patient response to therapeutic UVB.  Next, by combining computational modelling with formal verification, we will derive algorithms that compute optimised and individualised UVB treatment protocols.  Computational modelling will permit rigorous testing of systematic variations in standard phototherapy protocols, adjusted for individual factors; only verified regimes will progress through to clinical studies. 

This research is part of a very prestigious Rosetrees Trust grant recently awarded to Professor Reynolds and Dr Zuliani.  The project team will comprise another PhD student and a clinical research fellow based in the Institute of Cellular Medicine, and a post-doctoral researcher based in Computing Science.  There are also excellent opportunities for interaction with the MRC stratified medicine programme PSORT, in which both Professor Reynolds and Dr Zuliani are co-investigators.

This studentship provides a unique opportunity to perform interdisciplinary research of the highest calibre and potential impact, within a very active and well-funded group of researchers. Professor Reynolds heads the Dermatology research department in Newcastle comprising basic scientists and clinicians, and leads the Newcastle component (>£1M) of the PSORT project (£5.1M); Dr Zuliani is member of the Interdisciplinary Computing and Complex Biosystems (ICOS) research group, which consists of 50 individuals conducting cutting-edge research at the interface of computing science and complex biological systems.


School of Computing Science, Newcastle University.

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr P Zuliani, School of Computing Science and Professor N J Reynolds, Institute of Cellular Medicine

Eligibility Criteria

The successful candidate has an excellent first degree in, e.g., computer science, mathematics, or physics. Knowledge of biology is not a prerequisite, since the ICOS group and Newcastle University offer plentiful learning opportunities via their own MSc modules (e.g., CSC8319 ‘Stochastic Systems Biology’ and BIO8009 ‘Fundamentals of Cell and Molecular Biology’), regular research seminars, etc.

This award is available to UK/EU and non-EU international applicants.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.  To do this please ‘Create a new account’.
Only mandatory fields need to be completed.  However, you will need to include the following information:


For further details, please contact Dr P Zuliani, (, +44 (0)191 208 8064).