Postgraduate study

Immunology & Infection Research

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Immunology & Infection Research

Immunology and Infection Research has a proud tradition here at the School of Biological Sciences. As a researcher, you’ll be following in the footsteps of Nobel Prize winners – from malaria pioneer Sir Ronald Ross to the 2001 laureate Sir Paul Nurse – and other great names who have made ground-breaking discoveries over the years.

Our leadership in infectious disease research has emerged alongside the School’s strength in population biology and quantitative genetics. Our close association with biologists in these areas can be a valuable asset to your work.

Our institute has more than 20 research group leaders, including seven professors. While genetics is a core discipline, our work extends over molecular and cell biology, immunology, evolutionary biology and epidemiology.

Themes

We cover a number of overlapping themes of study.

In fundamental immunology, we look at how B and T lymphocytes interact and develop in response to antigen challenge, and how responses are initiated by dendritic cells and dampened by regulatory cells.

Helminth, allergy and wound repair models are used to understand immune responses in both practical and evolutionary terms.

Immune regulation of disease projects aims to design immunological interventions to ameliorate pathology or to enhance host immunity, in conjunction with new vaccines against parasites and therapies for autoimmunity.

Work on molecular biology and genetics of parasites focuses on the identification of vaccine candidates and virulence factors in malaria parasites, the cell biology of trypanosomes and proteomics and transcriptomics of helminth worm parasites.

In molecular microbiology, we look at how microRNAs regulate immune signalling and how pathogens manipulate these processes. Host-pathogen population biology integrates conventional immunology, pathogen research and systems-level quantitative biology, using mathematical approaches in both experimental models and the epidemiology of human and animal infections.

Specialised training is available for those working with animals, pathogens, genetically manipulated organisms, and radioactive substances as well as in the use of flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development.

Within the Institute students attend seminars and the weekly Immunology Journal Club. Students also attend city-wide meetings of the Edinburgh Immunology Group which includes a student-only discussion with external invited speakers.

Supervisors are an important source of support for our PhD students. You can identify potential supervisors from the School of Biological Sciences website and discuss your PhD proposal with them.

The Institute of Immunology & Infection Research offers comprehensive facilities, including tissue-culture facilities, state-of-the-art 17-colour flow cytometry and five-dimensional confocal microscopy, as well as equipment such as fast protein liquid chromatography, phosphorimaging and real-time polymerase chain reaction.

There is also ready access to molecular technologies such as automated DNA sequencing, DNA arrays and mass spectrometry on the King’s Buildings campus.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent in a relevant subject. Typically, candidates have a good understanding of the field they propose to study, and at least some research experience.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

  • Postgraduate Programme Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5455
  • Email: gradbiol@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Biological Sciences
  • Mary Bruck Building
  • Colin Maclaurin Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3DW

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

To discuss your PhD proposal, you should identify potential supervisors from the School of Biological Sciences.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Programme Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 5455
  • Email: gradbiol@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Biological Sciences
  • Mary Bruck Building
  • Colin Maclaurin Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3DW