Optimum health & wellbeing

Test tubes

This research theme is one of our Translational Research topics.​ Offered by The School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, you will join a thriving postgraduate research programme, with more than 30 doctoral students currently undertaking innovative research within the School.

MRes | MPhil | PhD
Start Date
February and October
The role of diet and impaired redox status in preventing long-term chronic conditions

Contact: Dr Giovanna Bermano 

Eating a well-balanced diet, with adequate nutrients is a fundamental requirement for continued health. However, despite the clear connections between nutrition and health, worldwide, more than one third of adult population is obese or overweight. In the UK, low consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated to low intake of specific micronutrients and bioactive phytochemicals important for optimal health. As a result, a high proportion of people are malnourished especially among overweight and obese individuals, increasing susceptibility to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and some types of cancer.

Opportunities are available for projects which assess, by using in vitro and in vivo models, the mechanisms underpinning interactions between micronutrients and cellular processes (e.g. redox homeostasis, fat metabolism, mitochondrial metabolism/biogenesis, and inflammatory pathways), in order to understand their impact on the metabolism of overweight and obese individuals and disease risk.

Expression of ATP-binding cassette transporters in obesity: the next drug targets for long term chronic conditions

Contact: Dr. Gemma Barron 

Obesity is a well-known public health issue and the cost associated in the management of obesity related long term chronic conditions, such as, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and cancer, is enormous. Perhaps, of greater concern is the realisation that drug therapies available for the management of these conditions do not work as effectively in obese individuals. A more targeted approach for drug discovery and therapy management is, therefore, urgently required. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are highly conserved genes involved in the active transport of many amphiphilic and lipophilic molecules including drugs, lipids and endogenous metabolites and further investigation into their role in effectiveness of drugs in obese individuals is required.

Modelling obesity: Characterisation of the interaction between macrophages and an angiogenesis cell model in vitro

Contact: Dr. Gemma Barron  

Project Outline: There has been a drastic rise in obesity over the past 30 years. Obesity is a complex metabolic disease and together with associated complications, such as, insulin resistance, inflammation and oxidative stress, represent major risk factors linked to the development of long-term chronic conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer). Adipose tissues is highly infiltrated with macrophages that contribute to increased concentrations of pro-inflammatory markers in the plasma of obese individuals. These markers have been associated with the increased risk of obesity associated diseases and angiogenesis: the growth of new blood vessels, in the obese. Thus, it is important to investigate the complex network of molecular interactions that exist between pro-inflammatory markers and angiogenesis using an in vitro model.



Contact: Dr. Gemma Barron 

Project Outline: Cancer is a common cause of death in Mexico. Chemotherapy with cytotoxic drugs remains to be the most frequently used treatment approach. However, as several cancers are becoming insensitive and resistant to the effective therapies currently available; it is important to investigate new modalities that can enhance the therapeutic efficacy of anti-cancer drugs, for example, combining with micronutrients which can counteract cancer cell growth, but also limit the side effects which are often unmanageable for patients.  This project aims to (i) assess the synergistic effects, via beneficial interactions, of micronutrients with anti-cancer drugs, in breast and colon cancer cells in vitro, and (ii) determine the mechanism(s) by which they provide such effects in terms of DNA stability, DNA repair capacity, cell death and regulation of oxidative stress

Facilities for Researchers

If you decide to undertake research in one of these opportunities you will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities and receive support from experienced and dedicated staff.

All research students have dedicated space in our Research Hub, which is a self-contained space for you to work and socialise. Training in transferable skills is provided by a university-wide PG Cert in Researcher Development, which all students must complete, as well as a range of on-going research skills workshops. In addition, the School has several research events to aid your development, including external speakers at research seminars; student research seminars; and the annual School Research Day, where staff and students present their work.

All of our research students are provided with financial support for consumables and are funded to attend conferences. In addition, instances to enhance your curriculum vitae and transferable skills are provided via teaching and class demonstrating opportunities on our taught courses, as well as participating in public engagement activities within local schools and Aberdeen Science Centre.




Normal entry requirements are a first or upper second class honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom, or from an overseas University, or degree equivalent qualification, subject to the approval of Robert Gordon University.

Applicants holding qualifications other than those detailed shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme. Applicants will normally register for an MSc/PhD or MRes/PhD with transfer to PhD dependent on satisfactory progress.

English Language

Any applicant whose first language or language of previous University-level instruction is not English must normally demonstrate competence in English. This should be a score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

English Language requirements

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency.

Pre-Sessional English Programme at RGU

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact admissions@rgu.ac.uk for further information.


For Academic Year 2022/2023


  • Full time - £4,596 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £2,760 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £2,298 per academic year


  • Full time - £17,000 per academic year
  • Part time MPhil/PhD - £10,200 per academic year
  • Part time MRes/MSc by research - £8,500 per academic year

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:


Alumni Discount

Robert Gordon University is delighted to offer a 20% loyalty discount on course fees for all alumni who have graduated from RGU.


Student Funding

Postgraduate students will normally make their own arrangements for payment of fees. However, there are a limited number of SAAS funded places on certain postgraduate courses.
There are also sources of funding that are applicable to categories of student.


Scholarships and Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:



For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see:

Student Finance


All applications should be made via the University's online application for research students:

Application Deadlines
  • 31 May – October entry
  • 30 September – February entry
Completed application forms should be accompanied by:
  • Two academic references
  • A transcript or mark sheet for all graduate qualifications
  • A draft research proposal, or at least a short summary to indicate the potential area of research (Refer to Section 8 of the Application Form)

For applicants whose first language or language of university education is not English, applications must include:

  • Certificate of English language competency score of IELTS 6.5 in each of the four test components (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking).
  • Students who can demonstrate successful completion of tertiary (university or college) studies in a country whose national language is English, may be exempted from this requirement.


If you wish to know more about the opportunities to study for your research degree within the School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences, contact the PaLs Research Degrees Coordinator:


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