PhD/MPhil Cell Matrix Research / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

Programme description

Our PhD/MPhil Cell Matrix Research programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of the interactions between cells and their extracellular matrix environment in the contexts of health, disease and tissue regeneration.

Cells continuously sense, synthesise and remodel the proteins and glycosaminoglycans that form the Extracellular Matrix (ECM). This matrix varies in its biochemical and biophysical properties in different parts of the body, and their responses to these differences influence the motility, growth, differentiation and survival of cells. Therefore, cell-matrix interactions underpin the development of multicellular organisms and are essential throughout the life of an organism.

Aberrations in cell-matrix communication are associated with severe diseases, such as cancer, fibrosis, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disorders. Conversely, the synthesis of healthy matrix can be used to induce new functional tissue that can support regeneration. Because understanding how cells sense and synthesise their ECM is critically important for preventing disease and supporting tissue regeneration, our Cell Matrix postgraduate research programme comprises projects that study:

  • the biochemistry and biophysical properties of the ECM;
  • the mechanisms of how cells interact with the matrix and how they translate the extracellular information into a cellular response;
  • how cell-matrix interactions affect cell fate and tissue function;
  • the mechanisms of how cells synthesise and remodel their ECM environment, including how aberrant signals affect health and can result in disease;
  • how ECM signalling can be applied to tissue regeneration;

See the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research website for further information.

Special features

Training and development

All of our postgraduate researchers attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Researcher Development team . The programme provides key transferable skills and equips our postgraduate researchers with the tools to progress beyond their research degree into influential positions within academia, industry and consultancy. The emphasis is on enhancing skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals, whether they relate to effective communication, disseminating research findings and project management skills.

Teaching and learning

PhD/MPhil programmes are based on individual research projects that last three to four years (PhD) or one to two years (MPhil), working with a specific Primary Supervisor and Co-Supervisor(s).

Applicants are specifically matched with a Primary Supervisor and individual project based on their research interests and background.

International applicants interested in this research area can also consider our PhD programme with integrated teaching certificate .

This unique programme will enable you to gain a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning, whilst also carrying out independent research on your chosen project.

Scholarships and bursaries

Funded programmes and projects are promoted throughout the year. Funding is available through UK Research Councils, charities and industry. We also have other internal awards and scholarships for the most outstanding applicants from within the UK and overseas.

For more information on available the types of funding we have available, please visit the  funded programmes  and  funding opportunities  pages.

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to undertake a postgraduate research degree at Manchester on the Doctoral Academy Blog and the support available through our Faculty Doctoral Academy.


You will have access to a range of  research and learning facilities  across the University and at some of our partner organisations.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: