Postgraduate research 

Infection, Immunity & Inflammation PhD/iPhD/MD/MSc (Research)

Travel advice for postgraduate research students

The latest Scottish Government guidance confirms that most students should not plan to travel to term-time accommodation at this point. Where there is a time-sensitive element to your course, a small number of students will be able to travel.

There are some exceptions to this advice, with the following groups of students allowed to be on campus:

  • those who have remained over the winter break
  • those whose attendance is critical and whose education cannot be delivered remotely or postponed, essential placements, or for reasons of student wellbeing

Please note that all arrangements are subject to  future reviews of COVID-19 conditions. We will keep all students updated via email and on this website, as new guidance emerges.

The advice on testing applies to all postgraduate students. If you are travelling to a term-time address you should book a test for the date of your arrival.

Please continue to observe the latest Scottish Government guidance and local restrictions.

  • The advice on testing applies to all PGR students. If you are travelling to a term-time address you should  for the date of your arrival.
  • Please continue to observe the latest Scottish Government guidance and local restrictions.

Travel advice for international students


immunology

Immunology research includes cytokine and chemokine biology, immune cell signalling, advanced imaging technologies, and cellular & gut immunology. Our translational efforts are focused on rheumatoid arthritis, dermatology, respiratory & central nervous system immune & inflammatory diseases.

  • PhD: 3-4 years full-time; 5 years part-time;
  • MSc (Research): 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time;
  • MD (Doctor of Medicine): 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time;

Research projects

Self-funded PhD opportunities

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Investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the cellular decision to initiate inflammation

Supervisor: Ruaidhrí Carmody

  • Project outline: The ability of the innate immune system to discriminate between stimuli that pose little danger and those that threaten the host is a key determinant of human health. The concentration of microbial-associated molecules that activates an innate inflammatory response is determined by the activation threshold of key signalling pathways. This is an important mechanism used by innate immune cells to distinguish between threats that should be tolerated and those that require a strong inflammatory response. This project is based on our recent findings that the stability of TPL-2 (MAP3K8), a key activator of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, controls the cellular decision to respond to inflammatory stimuli. Our studies so far have identified the nucleus as the key site regulating the stability of TPL-2. This project will investigate the regulation MAPKs in the nucleus during innate immune cell responses; explore novel functions of MAPKs in the nucleus; and investigate the impact of altering MAPK activation on cellular responses to inflammatory stimuli. The findings will provide fundamental insights into the regulation of the cellular response to inflammatory stimuli and contribute to the development of novel strategies for the therapeutic control of inflammation.
  • Summary aim: This project will investigate regulation and function of MAPKs in the nucleus during innate immune cell activation.

  • Techniques to be used:CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, molecular biology (including site directed mutagenesis), chromatin immunoprecipitation, immunoblotting, cell culture, real-time PCR.

  • Contactruaidhri.carmody@glasgow.ac.uk, Sir Graeme Davies Building, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Room B/316, 120 University Place, Glasgow, G12 8TA Tel: 0141 330 5945
  • Also see www.carmodylab.org

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The NF-ĸB transcription factor

Supervisor: Ruaidhrí Carmody

  • Project outline: The NF-ĸB transcription factor is a master regulator of the immune response and plays a critical role in inflammatory disease by mediating the expression of pro-inflammatory factors. The NF-ĸB-directed transcription of genes that promote cell survival and proliferation also implicates it as an important factor in cancers and neurodegenerative disorders. The key roles for NF-ĸB in the pathogenesis of these and other diseases have established it as an important therapeutic target, which to date remains unharnessed. Previous strategies focussed on inhibiting the IKK kinases, critical activators of NF-ĸB, have failed to make clinical impact due to severe side-effects, and so new approaches to targeting NF-ĸB for therapeutic benefit are required. This project aims to exploit the regulation of NF-ĸB by the ubiquitin proteasome system in order to inhibit NF-ĸB mediated inflammatory responses. The ubiquitin-triggered proteasomal degradation of NF-ĸB is a major limiting factor in the expression of pro-inflammatory genes. We have previously identified the deubiquitinase USP7 as a key regulator of NF-ĸB transcriptional activity by reversing NF-ĸB ubiquitination and preventing its proteasomal degradation. We have extended these initial findings to identify a distinct NF-ĸB binding site in USP7 that selectively mediates the interaction of USP7 with NF-ĸB. We hypothesise that this binding site could be targeted to selectively inhibit NF-ĸB-directed inflammatory responses by promoting its ubiquitination and degradation. This project is a structure-function based study of the USP7 and NF-ĸB interface that will define the NF-ĸB binding site and the functional impact of its disruption. The results will facilitate the rational structure-led design of substrate-selective inhibitors of USP7 to inhibit NF-kB mediated inflammatory responses.
  • Summary aim: This project will investigate the potential to inhibit inflammation by inhibiting the deubiquitination of NF-κB by USP7.

  • Techniques to be used: CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, molecular biology (including site directed mutagenesis), protein purification and X- ray crystallography, proteomics and transcriptomics.

  • Contactruaidhri.carmody@glasgow.ac.uk, Sir Graeme Davies Building, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Room B/316, 120 University Place, Glasgow, G12 8TA Tel: 0141 330 5945
  • Also see www.carmodylab.org

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T cell/APC interactions and immunological decisions

Supervisor: Prof James Brewer & Prof Paul Garside

  • Project outline: It is becoming clear that the duration, frequency, and intensity of T cell/APC interactions, determines the induction of immunological tolerance versus priming. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms regulating cellular interactions in vivo remain unclear. We contend that spatiotemporal context has a critical influence on T/APC interactions and consequently the induction, maintenance and/or control of immune responses. For example, we have recently shown that the duration and magnitude antigen presentation and the subsequent T cell/APC interaction can influence differentiation of T cells to the Tfh phenotype responsible for driving B cell antibody production. Consequently, cellular and molecular interactions must be carefully choreographed in space and time to provide normal immune function giving protection against infection while avoiding autoimmunity. On the other hand, dysregulated spatiotemporal expression of molecules involved in T cell/APC interactions may result in pathology.
  • Summary aim: 1. What are the molecular mechanisms controlling T/APC interactions during priming and tolerance in vivo?
    2. How do these pathways impact on the duration, frequency and intensity of T cell/APC interactions in Lymph Nodes (LN)?
  • Techniques to be used: High content (INCELL) imaging, Live in vitro microscope, Intravital multiphoton microscopy
  • References: 1. Zinselmeyer, B. H. et al. In situ characterization of CD4+ T cell behavior in mucosal and systemic lymphoid tissues during the induction of oral priming and tolerance. J. Exp. Med. 201, 1815–23 (2005). 
    2. Millington, O. R. et al. Malaria impairs T cell clustering and immune priming despite normal signal 1 from dendritic cells. PLoS pathogens 3, 1380–7 (2007). 
    3. Celli, S., Lemaître, F. & Bousso, P. Real-time manipulation of T cell-dendritic cell interactions in vivo reveals the importance of prolonged contacts for CD4+ T cell activation. Immunity 27, 625–34 (2007).
  • Contact: james.brewer@glasgow.ac.ukpaul.garside@glasgow.ac.uk

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Investigating Immune Pathways in Cardiovascular Diseases

Supervisor: Dr Pasquale Maffia

  • Project outline: Immune responses play key roles in cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as atherosclerosis and hypertension. By using a broad range of vascular, immunological and omics techniques we aim to study the net contribution of specific immune pathways to CVD in humans and experimental models.
  • Techniques to be used: The project will provide training in both vascular biology and immunology, including flow cytometry, microscopy and single-cell omics.
  • References:

    1. MacRitchie N, Grassia G, Noonan J, Cole JE, Hughes CE, Schroeder J, Benson RA, Cochain C, Zernecke A, Guzik TJ, Garside P, Monaco C, Maffia P. The aorta can act as a site of naive CD4+ T cell priming. Cardiovasc Res. 2019 Apr 13. pii: cvz102. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvz102. [Epub ahead of print].

    2. Noonan J, Asiala SM, Grassia G, MacRitchie N, Gracie K, Carson J, Moores M, Girolami M, Bradshaw AC, Guzik TJ, Meehan GR, Scales HE, Brewer JM, McInnes IB, SaJar N, Faulds K, Garside P, Graham D, Maffia P. In vivo multiplex molecular imaging of vascular inflammation using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Theranostics. 2018;8:6195-6209.

    3. Welsh P, Grassia G, Botha S, SaJar N, Maffia P. Targeting inflammation to reduce cardiovascular disease risk: a realistic clinical prospect? Br J Pharmacol. 2017;174:3898-3913.

    4. Hu D, Mohanta SK, Yin C, Peng L, Ma Z, Srikakulapu P, Grassia G, MacRitchie N, Dever G, Gordon P, Burton FL, Ialenti A, Sabir SR, McInnes IB, Brewer JM, Garside P, Weber C, Lehmann T, Teupser D, Habenicht L, Beer M, Grabner R, Maffia P, Weih F, Habenicht AJ. Artery Tertiary Lymphoid Organs Control Aorta Immunity and Protect against Atherosclerosis via Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Lymphotoxin Beta Receptors. Immunity. 2015;42:1100-15.

  • Contact: Pasquale Maffia (Pasquale.Maffia@glasgow.ac.uk), Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Sir Graeme Davies Building, 120 University Place, Glasgow G12 8TA

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Overview

The immune system provides vital protection against infection, and can be manipulated by vaccination to provide life-long resistance to pathogens. However, immune and inflammatory responses also make a major contribution to a spectrum of human pathologies, from chronic inflammatory disease, allergy and autoimmunity, neuroinflammatory disorders and brain immune interactions, to heart disease and cancer. 

Research in the Centre for Immunobiology within the Institute for Infection, Immunity & Inflammation is focused on generating a molecular and cellular understanding of the immune system in health and disease, and applying this knowledge to the development of novel therapeutics. This is built on close interactions between an excellent cohort of scientists and clinicians within the Centre, and on the networks of collaborators they have established with researchers in the rest of the institute, elsewhere in the university, and further afield.

Our staff and students benefit from access to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities in the Sir Graeme Davis building at the heart of the university and in clinical units in hospitals across Glasgow.  We have expertise in a broad range of techniques, including molecular biology, ‘Omics, cell biology, multiparameter flow cytometry, intravital imaging, and in vivo models of disease, and these approaches allow us to explore the immune system at the molecular, cellular and whole organism level.

The PhD programme in immunobiology is based on individual research projects covering an exciting range of topics, with specific areas of interest including (in alphabetical order):

  • atherosclerosis
  • bioinformatics
  • cancer and leukaemia
  • chemokines and cell migration
  • cytokine biology
  • dendritic cell biology
  • imaging the immune response
  • infectious disease
  • intestinal immunity
  • intracellular signalling and transcriptional regulation
  • lymphocyte biology
  • neuroimmunology, including repair strategies forbrain repair following immunologically mediated injury (Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain-Barré syndrome)  and spinal cord injury using glial/stem cell transplantation and antibody profiling
  • osteoimmunology
  • rheumatology
  • tissue injury and repair; focus on regenerative medicine

Study options

PhD

  • Duration: 3/4 years full-time; 5 years part-time

Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators.

MSc (Research)

  • Duration: 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

MD (Doctor of Medicine)

  • Duration: 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time (for medically-qualified graduates only)

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Duolingo

  • 120 with 120 in two or more sub-scores including literacy and no subscore below 110 for direct entry, in-sessional support requirement available for those with 120, 100 for 5 week PSE, 100 for 10 week PSE.
  • Tests must have been taken within 1 year of start date.


Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.


Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

Fees and funding

Fees

2021/22

  • UK: £4,500
  • International & EU: £23,000

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

We offer a 10% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

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2020/21 fees

  • £4,407 UK/EU
  • £21,920 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £525
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,315
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £340
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £765

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni commencing study in Academic session 2020/21, on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed a Study Abroad programme or the Erasmus Programme at the University of Glasgow. This discount can be awarded alongside other University scholarships. 

Funding for EU students

The Scottish Government has confirmed that fees for EU students commencing their studies 2020/21 will be at the same level as those for UK student.

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Funding

The iPhD  is not supported by University of Glasgow Scholarship/Funding

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our overarching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

Research environment

If you study with us, you will join a community of 26 postgraduate taught and 150 postgraduate research students. Our Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation brings together world-leading basic, applied, clinical and translational researchers to study infection with a focus on the viral, parasitic and bacterial pathogens of both humans and animals, and immunology and inflammation with a focus on chronic inflammatory diseases.

Despite the continual development of new therapies, antibiotics and vaccines, chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases still pose persistent health threats. We aim to:

  • understand the basic science of the immune systems and how the immune system can inturn affect disease outcome understand the biology of parasites, viruse and bacteria and the interactions with their hosts, that in turn leads to high levels of infectious diseases worldwide
  • develop therapies (drugs and vaccines) targeted on these processes
  • explore new treatments and strategies in clinical and translational medicine

Research centres

We offer a wide range of cutting-edge research facilities, including:

  • core facilities in fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis
  • histology and state-of-the-art imaging
  • IVIS imaging system
  • high content screening microscopy
  • mass spectrometry
  • an X-ray capable FX Pro bioluminescence imaging system
  • a protein purification service
  • a wide range of molecular, immunological and biochemical analysis tools 

These excellent facilities underpin a bench to bedside approach that will equip you with training complementary to a range of career options, and you can tailor your study pathway to the precise aspects of infection and immunology that suit your objectives. Through their research interests in drug development, vaccines and diagnostics, many of our project supervisors have strong links with industry. 

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor* who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search.

*iPhD applicants do not need to contact a supervisor, as you will start your programme by choosing a masters from our Taught degree programmes A-Z [do not apply directly to a masters].


Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document
  3. Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional [except iPhD applicants, where only one academic or professional reference is required]. References may be uploaded as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk, from the referee’s university or business email account.
  4. Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area. iPhD applicants do not need to submit any of these as you will start your programme by choosing a masters.

Notes for iPhD applicants

  • add 'I wish to study the MSc in (chosen subject) as the masters taught component of the iPhD' in the research proposal box
  • write 'n/a' for the supervisor name

Apply now

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Contact us

Before you apply

PhD/MSc/MD: email mvls-gradschool@glasgow.ac.uk

iPhD: email mvls-iphd@glasgow.ac.uk

After you have submitted your application

PhD/MSc/MD/iPhD: contact our Admissions team

Any references may be submitted by email to: rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk