Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) (Biology)

The Environmental and Life Sciences Graduate Programme offers Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Biology. It provides a broad laboratory and/or field training, and a comprehensive educational experience in environmental and life sciences, which can lead to a variety of careers in the government agencies and private sectors. Fields of study include cell and molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and biotechnology, developmental and reproductive biology, ecology (terrestrial, marine and aquatic) and conservation biology, behavioural ecology, invasive ecology, marine and aquatic biology, plant and animal sciences, microbiology, botany, plant taxonomy and systematics, ethnobotany and medicinal plants, environment and climate change. The excellent laboratory and outdoor field facilities, and a field studies centre in the tropical rainforest (under Institute for Biodiversity and Environmental Research, IBER) strengthen both teaching and research in the broad field of Biology. Candidates will perform a research project under the supervision of staff from the Environmental and Life Sciences Programme and frequently in collaboration with staff members from other disciplines.

Programme Details

Aims and Scope
The PhD Programme in Biology aims to make scientists with high level specialised training, in order to cover the increased needs of Industry in related aspects. The scope of the Programme is to provide students the necessary specific scientific information, as well as to train them to develop their skills and analytical capabilities.

Students conduct an approved, original research project, with the supervision of one or more staff members. Upon completion of their research, they submit a Thesis, which normally does not exceed 100,000 words.

Assessment includes examination of the Thesis by internal and external examiners. As stipulated in the relevant UBD regulations the examiners may subject a candidate to an oral examination or any other test they think necessary to assess the acceptability of the Thesis. Periodic assessment of the progress of the candidate is carried out as stipulated in the relevant UBD regulations.

Areas of Research/ Specialisation

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Reproductive Biology
  • Ecology
  • Conservation Biology
  • Plant and Animal Sciences
  • Microbiology, Botany
  • Plant Taxonomy and Systematics
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Marine and Aquatic Biology
  • Invasive Ecology
  • Ethnobotany and Medicinal Plants
  • Environment and Climate Change

For more information

Contact:   Deputy Dean of Graduate and Research in FOS (Dr. Lim Lee Hoon)

Complete programme details can also be found here .

Faculty Member and Contact Details

Research Interests

Prof. Abdalla Mohamed Jama

Gene therapy.
Cellular signalling.
Molecular basis of disease.

Prof. Ulmar Grafe

Functional diversity of amphibians.
Sensory ecology of frog-biting midges.
Community ecology of Bornean frogs.
A novel resource-service mutualism between bats and pitcher plants.

AP Dr. Zohrah Hj Sulaiman
Vice-Chancellor, Institut Teknologi Brunei, Adjunct Associate Professor of UBD

Molecular genetics.
Biodiversity of fishes.
Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of fishes.
Genetic modification to produce biodiesel and robust variety of paddy.

AP Dr. Kushan Tennakoon
Director, Institute for Biological and Environmental Research

Ecophysiological and biochemical attributes of parasitic plants and mycoheterotrophs, their biogeography, structural biology and mechanisms of solute transfer.

Restoration of degraded tropical habitats with local native plant species and investigating their physiological responses to varying environmental conditions.

Impacts of alien invasive plant species (i.e. holoparasites, Pinus, Acacia spp) on native flora and potential arable lands.

Alternative energy - Applications of native plant pigments in dye-sensitized solar cells.

AP Dr. David J. Marshall

Ecological and evolutionary physiology of marine Intertidal invertebrates.
Organismal responses to environmental and climate change.
Marine and estuarine benthic community ecology.
Estuarine pollution, biomonitoring and ecotoxicology.

AP Dr. Ferry Slik

Tropical Tree Biodiversity and distribution
Tropical forest Biomass and Carbon Balance
Flora Projects
Secondary Forest Dynamics
Ecology and Dynamics of Large Trees
Below- and aboveground interactions of plants DNA barcoding
Species distribution modeling
Using remote sensing for plant identification
Plant community phylogenetics
Plant functional trait

Dr. Rahayu Sukmaria Hj Sukri

Tropical forest ecology and conservation.
Tropical plant diversity and community ecology.
Peat swamp ecology and conservation.
The ecological effects and impact of invasive plants in Brunei Darussalam.

Dr Norhayati Hj Ahmad

Developmental biology.
Reproductive biology.
Diabetes – focus mainly on pancreas regeneration.

Dr. Yasuaki Tanaka
Programme Leader, Environmental and Life Sciences Programme

Ecophysiology of corals and aquatic primary producers
Water quality monitoring in aquatic environments
Biogeochemical cycles in aquatic ecosystems
Bioremediation of wastewater from aquaculture

Dr. Faizah Hj Metali
Programme Leader, Environmental and Life Sciences Programme

Metal accumulation in plants in tropical plants and crops.
Plant and soil nutrition.
Growth and physiology of tropical seedlings.
Germination and pollination studies.
Plant conservation and propagation techniques.

Dr. Hussein Taha

Population genetics
Molecular Phylogenetics