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Cambridge Institute for Medical Research


About the Programme

The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) and the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit (MBU) are offering a one-year MPhil in "The Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease". This course provides an in-depth understanding of how fundamental pathways of cellular homeostasis are disrupted in genetic and infectious diseases. The course covers both practical and theoretical aspects of research and spans disease diagnosis and identification, lab-based mechanistic studies, and how potential therapeutics are developed.


The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit

Welcome to the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research (CIMR) and the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit (MBU) : world-renowned hubs for scientific research. Here, Masters students join a diverse and inclusive environment that cultivates a positive research culture where we champion curiosity, collaboration, and innovative thinking. Our combined research strategies, linking detailed cellular mechanisms with the broader scope of human disease, have been integral to advancing our understanding of numerous conditions.

At CIMR and MBU, you'll collaborate with experienced scientists and clinicians, gaining invaluable insights and expertise. Our research culture emphasises the use of state-of-the-art technologies and platforms to delve into the mechanisms of human disease. Over the past two decades, CIMR and the MBU have been beacons of significant research accomplishments, including the publication of numerous papers and development of patentable innovations. By joining us, you'll contribute to our ongoing mission of translating fundamental discoveries into practical treatments and diagnostics, shaping the future of medicine together.


Programme Objectives:

  • Acquire a robust understanding of human disease pathophysiology, biological mechanisms, and cutting-edge biomedical research techniques
  • Master advanced research methodologies, data analysis, and statistics, harnessing these to generate innovative insights
  • Refine your critical thinking abilities to dissect complex research literature and interpret experimental data
  • Improve your communication skills, articulating your findings effectively and engaging in enriching scientific discourse

Programme Timetable

The course structure encompasses three significant elements:

  1. Approximately 100 hours of taught material.
  2. Core skills development, including a tailored biostatistics training.
  3. A 32-week lab-based research project.

The curriculum offers a comprehensive blend of theory, hands-on learning to develop research skills, and state-of-the-art lectures, all of which are delivered by internationally recognised experts in their field.

Faculty Members

Along with taught lectures lab projects will be offered by faculty within CIMR and MBU.

Course leaders

The course is being led by:

Dr David Gershlick (CIMR)

Prof. Matthew Seaman (CIMR)


Prof. Folma Buss (CIMR)

Prof. Mike Murphy (MRC MBU)



Their research profiles can be found in the provided links. For further information, please contact our administrative team at

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirement for admission is a bachelor’s degree with a 2:1 or its international equivalent. Detailed information on how to apply and admission deadlines can be found in the Application Portal



  • Home Student fee: £12,901  (at 2023/24 rate)
  • International Student fee: £35,673  (at 2023/24 rate)

Bursary Availability

We offer a bursary for eligible applicants experiencing socio-economic or educational disadvantage, with Home or UK fee status. This aid aims to support individuals facing financial obstacles to higher education. If you meet these criteria, apply and provide relevant supporting documents. For more details, contact our team at 


Alternative opportunities for funding considerations can be made during the application process.


Please note that you must apply by the Funding Deadline stated on the Application Portal which is Tuesday 5th December.

Useful Links

  1. The University of Cambridge Applicant Portal and Self-Service account
  2. How to find funding | Postgraduate Study
  3. Cambridge Trust Scholarships
  4. Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships (requires external application)
  5. Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
  6. MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit