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Ph.D. Program in Biology

The Department of Biological Sciences at Ashoka University invites students to carry out cutting-edge research through its Ph.D. program in Biological Sciences. Six broad thematic areas characterize our research

  1. Biophysics and Biochemistry
  2. Cell and Developmental Biology
  3. Chronobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience
  4. Immunology and Synthetic Biology
  5. Mathematical and Computational Biology
  6. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

These thematic areas encompass the diversity in biological systems – in both length and complexity. State-of-the-art research facilities and a unique liberal arts environment allow Ph.D. students to work on inter-disciplinary research projects drawing on the expertise of faculty members within and beyond the Biology Department.

Labs of Principal Investigators listed below will be recruiting PhD students this August 2022

Kasturi Mitra

Krishna Melnattur

Basudeb Maji (Prof. Shantanu Chowdhury, IGIB as Co-PI)

Sougata Roy*

Shubhasis Haldar*

Anup Padmanabhan

Balaji Chattopadhyay

Shivani Krishna

Divya Karnad

Sudipta Tung (Rama Akondy as Co-PI)

**These faculty members will be recruiting externally-funded students such as CSIR/UGC/DBT/ICAR/ICMR this cycle

For further details on the research of individual faculty members, please see here


A fixed number of attractive Ph.D. fellowships will be offered by Ashoka University to support the Ph.D. students (as per the rules and regulations). The fellowship includes a monthly stipend of INR 35,000 per month, a contingency grant of INR 20,000, and offers extensive teaching opportunities.

The monthly stipend and annual contingency grant given to Ph.D. students who receive other scholarships (from UGC, CSIR or a partner organization) will be decided based on terms covering the scholarship itself and as per the norms of the University.

Students will be provided off-campus housing and Rs. 7000 per month rent allowance towards this.


Applications to the Ph.D. program are invited from candidates with

  • A masters degree in any basic science discipline, including biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, and mathematics; or BTech/MBBS MTech/MPharm in applied sciences such as medicine and engineering; and
  • Qualification in a national entrance examination such as JGEEBILS/ BINC/ INSPIRE/CSIR-UGC/ ICMR/ GATE/JEST/ DST**. The scores obtained must be valid at the time of application.


** Candidates without a national eligibility test score who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology are eligible to appear for a written examination at Ashoka.

Application Process

To apply to the biology Ph.D. program the applicants should complete an online application form. There is NO application fee.

Online applications should also include

1. A statement of research interests (maximum 2 pages)

The research statement should summarize your academic background and research training, indicating how the Ph.D program in biological sciences at Ashoka will enable you to realize your career goal/s. Interested candidates are encouraged to visit the department website  to understand the lines of research being pursued at Ashoka before writing the research statement.

2. Two letters of recommendation

It is most helpful if letter writers know you well and are able to evaluate and attest your prior research experience/ training and your ability to perform at the graduate level. We prefer that the letter writers email us the letters from their official email addresses and include a phone number where we can reach out to for any clarification.

Referees may email the recommendation letters directly to phd.biology@ashoka.edu.in.
The subject of the email should be  ‘Recommendation_<candidate’s name>’.

Application Closing Dates

The applications for the 2022 August intake are now closed.

List of candidates selected for PhD program in Biology (August 2022)

Application number Name
54-2023-10190 K Mohan Reddy
54-2023-10158 Rahul Kumar
54-2023-10193 Tulaib Azam
54-2023-10121 Kaisar Nisar
54-2023-10258 Manan Pankaj Mehta
54-2023-10088 Abhishek
54-2023-10020 Pooja Chand
54-2023-10229 Harshita Rana
54-2023-10206 Kirnalee N. Patel
54-2023-10237 Bharti Golchha
54-2023-10129 Megha Rai

Selection Procedure

The selection to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Biology is primarily based on our evaluation of

  1. Your completed online application form and supporting documents including recommendations; and
  2. Qualification in a national level examination.

Candidates without a national eligibility test score who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology are eligible to appear for a written examination at Ashoka. Please note that candidates taking the written examination for the ecology and evolution program will not be considered for Ph.D. studies in other research areas in the Biology (General) Ph.D. program.

The selection process has two stages

Stage -1: Completed applications are reviewed by the faculty panel and shortlisted for an online interview.

Stage- 2: Preliminary interview at Ashoka will be scheduled in the month of June (3rd week). Exact dates will be communicated to the selected candidates

Candidates selected to the PhD program will be intimated in person and their names will be advertised on the departmental website.

Important Note

  1. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  2. Satisfying the eligibility criteria does not automatically guarantee selection to the interview.
  3. Candidates with a 3-Yr bachelors degree are NOT eligible for the PhD program.
  4. Individuals who hold a 4-yr bachelors degree such as BS or BSc(Hons.) in sciences, and wish to be considered for the PhD program, are requested to write to the program coordinator at biophd.coordinator@ashoka.edu.in to determine their eligibility.




1.     Can I apply to the Biology Ph.D. program if I have not taken any national entrance examination?

YES. Candidates without a national eligibility test score who wish to pursue a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology are eligible to appear for a written examination at Ashoka.

Selection to any of the other thematic areas as part of the Ph.D. program in Biology requires qualification in a national entrance examination mentioned before such as JGEEBILS/ INSPIRE/ BINC/ CSIR-UGC/ ICMR/ GATE/JEST. These scores have to be valid at the time of application. If you are not sure if your national examination is valid, please write to phd.biology@ashoka.edu.in or biophd.coordinator@ashoka.edu.in

2.     I have a NET fellowship and would like to apply for Ph.D. in Biology. Is there a need for me to submit an application?

Yes, you still will be required to submit an application and the interviews thereafter. Having a NET fellowship gives you the freedom to drive your own research ideas in collaboration with the participating faculty members. Ashoka provides supplementary allowances to fellowship holders by means of contingency funds  (in addition to that provided by the funding agency) and subsidized on-campus living facilities.

3.      I am keen to pursue a Ph.D., however, I am unable to decide which lab I wish to join at the time of application?

This is perfectly fine. You need not have identified a lab/mentor to join at the time of application. Once you are admitted into the Ph.D. program, you will have the option to carry out brief rotation projects in 2 or 3 labs of your choice. You may take this opportunity to experience the research in those areas and then make a decision on the lab to carry out your thesis research.

4.     Is it compulsory to submit letters of Recommendation?

Yes. It is an important component of your application dossier.

5.     How can I submit letters of recommendation?

You will have to fill in the contact email of your referees in the application portal. Make sure that your referee is aware of your application and the deadlines.

6.     How many Ph.D. positions are available?

There is no fixed number of positions available. The number of labs that can accommodate Ph.D. scholars every year varies. 

7.     Are there any teaching opportunities during the Ph.D. training?
Yes. All candidates admitted to the graduate program have the opportunity to hone their teaching skills by participating in various undergraduate lectures and laboratory courses. 

8.     Who are the participating faculty members in the biology department?

Biophysics and Biochemistry:

  • Dr. Sougata Roy
  • Dr. Anup Padmanabhan


Cell & Developmental Biology:

  • Dr. Anup Padmanabhan
  • Dr. Kasturi Mitra


Chronobiology and Cognitive Neuroscience:

  • Dr. Krishna Melnattur
  • Dr. Sougata Roy


Immunology and Synthetic Biology:

  • Dr. Basudeb Maji


Mathematical & Computational Biology:

  • Dr. Balaji Chattopadhyay


Ecology & Evolutionary Biology:

  • Dr. Shivani Krishna
  • Dr. Balaji Chattopadhyay
  • Dr. Divya Karnad
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