About the Programme

WT IIB PhD Programme

The Wellcome Trust - Integrative Infection Biology programme combines scientific excellence with a commitment to improving the working environment and transition support for trainees.
We commit to being part of an evolving community of practitioners who will develop and share practice to bring science and culture together, placing both firmly at the heart of what we do.

Infectious diseases shaped human evolution and pose formidable, complex challenges to global health. These can only be addressed by the imaginative and multidisciplinary approaches encapsulated through Integrated Infection Biology.

Our PhD programme sets out to equip the next generation of innovative world-class researchers with cutting-edge concepts and technologies, inspiring them to apply their skills to tackle the challenges of infectious diseases.

We offer excellent PhD projects that build synergistic collaborations across the University of Glasgow and our international partners.

Our aim is to give all students an exceptional experience, driving them to build their careers with the ability, confidence and integrity to make transformative contributions to global health. Our principles are promoting inquisitive and rigorous science, imparting technological and analytical skills, and reinforcing personal wellbeing. 

The programme will develop ‘Scientists without Boundaries’, instilling into each student the full range of scientific and generic skills required for success, to gain ambition and confidence as researchers, and to promote self-development as the modus vivendi for lifelong careers. Our development programme is based on the Vitae Framework

The programme is structured with a 6-month introductory period, a 3.5-year PhD project, followed by a novel 'PhD Plus' phase, which offers support beyond the PhD degree award.

This structure aligns to the key phases of student growth: Foundation; Development; and Maturation before Graduation and career Launch.

The introductory phase exposes students to a range of courses (Timetable) and rotation laboratory projects, prior to PhD project selection.


Students will join the programme with an initial one-week ‘Project Incubation’ during which they will participate in interactive tutorials to learn about themes underpinning IIB, seminars highlighting international co-supervisors’ research, and ‘speed-dating’ sessions with potential rotation project supervisors to identify placements of interest.

Following this, students will do two lab rotations of their choice at the University of Glasgow enabling development of new skills and idea testing.

These 10-week projects will be followed by a second one-week 'Project Incubation' for students to incorporate their knowledge from rotation projects and core courses, helping them shape their PhD projects.

A short off-campus retreat with potential supervisors will be organised for the cohort to take stock and discuss each other’s findings.  

During the Foundation period, students will commence training in broad skills and concepts that will continue throughout their programme, as detailed below.


Following discussions with potential supervisors and the management team, students will choose their PhD projects from a wide-ranging list.

Students will write and defend a project proposal and literature review within 3 months of starting their PhD project.


To confer a mature, far-ranging perspective on infectious diseases, we have adopted the concept of T-shape Training (pdf) providing students with a broad outlook (horizontal ‘T’ bar) while supporting depth and specialisation (vertical ‘T’ bar). This is organised through four interconnected training pillars:

(i) Transferable Skills and Career Development

(ii) Research Culture and Community Building

(iii) Thematic Courses in Infectious Diseases

(iv) Research Project Design and Execution

The capacity to think critically and broadly will be honed through student-led courses, journal clubs and seminars, followed through with report writing, research paper drafting and thesis writing.

In addition, the programme's annual symposium will involve oral and poster presentations by students each year.

All students will also be invited to participate as teaching assistants on an annual African-based ‘Biology of Parasitism’ short courses that the University of Glasgow organise in Kenya or Malawi.


Completion of the PhD in Integrated Infection Biology will involve a thesis, and students will be expected to draft publications and organise electronic deposition of all data acquired throughout the PhD.

Each student's thesis committee will be involved in reviewing and advising on thesis progress to ensure a successful outcome and graduation.



PhD Plus Year: This new feature is designed to empower graduating students to develop their next career step in science, for example in a new laboratory in any global setting, or by underpinning new experiences in social science, public engagement or industry.

Students will discuss their ideas with their supervisors and mentors, who have extensive networks of:

  • Potential host laboratories
  • Leaders in industry
  • Science communication
  • Teaching
  • Public engagement
  • Research management
  • Science policy

They will also be encouraged to take the initiative in approaching key figures in their field of interest on the strength of the financed 'PhD Plus Year'.

Example Project Titles

Dr. Gillian Douce: Identifying new therapeutic targets for the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease

Dr. Megan Macleod: Role of multifunctional T cells in protective immunity to influenza virus

Prof Matthias Marti: Defining the genetic signature of malaria transmission

Prof Jose Penades: Establishing a new paradigm in bacterial evolution: chromosomal hypermobility via lateral transduction

Prof Daniel Walker: Engineering protein antibiotics for the targeted eradication of multidrug-resistant pathogens

Prof. Andy Waters: ABC transporters and commitment to sexual development in malaria parasites

Prof. Annette MacLeod: Understanding host-parasite interactions using single cell transcriptomic analysis of trypanosome parasites and their mammalian host.

Prof. Annette MacLeod: Exploiting trypanosome parasites to cure kidney disease.