Postgraduate research 

Virology PhD/iPhD/MD/MSc (Research)

Virology

Virology research is carried out in the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research. Our expertise ranges from molecular virology to in vivo pathogenesis, virus–cell interaction, viral immunology, viral ecology, clinical virology, virus epidemiology, mathematical modelling and bioinformatics.

  • 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

Project Title: Intrinsic immunity to HIV-1 and related retroviruses

Supervisor: Dr Sam J Wilson

  • Project outline: The ‘antiviral state’ induced by interferons attenuates the replication of most, if not all, mammalian viruses. Upon sensing of pathogens, interferon signalling results in the upregulation of hundreds of different genes. These interferon stimulated genes (ISGs) are able to mediate further signalling, modulate the cellular environment, or interfere with viruses directly, in order to impede viral replication. Despite intensive investigation, the exact contribution of individual ISGs to the antiviral state is often unknown. However, in some remarkable cases individual ISGs have been described that effectively render cells resistant to certain viruses. The extraordinary ability of these factors to restrict virus replication can protect individuals, populations and entire species from specific pathogens. This project involves searching for new antiviral factors in addition to the further characterization of antiviral molecules currently under investigation in the lab. Through expressing species variants and targeted mutants of these molecules we hope to better understand the determinants of antiviral specificity/sensitivity. Cell lines expressing putative antiviral factors will be generated and their permissivity to infection and ability to support viral replication will be investigated. Our long-term goal is to harness the information gleaned from characterising host-viral interactions to identify novel therapeutic targets and develop biotechnologies, based upon intrinsic immune factors, that could reduce the disease burden in human or livestock populations.
  • Summary Aim: This project will characterise the antiviral activity of known factors and use ISG expression screening (2) to identify novel antiviral effectors.
  • Techniques to be used: Tissue culture, virus propagation, infection and replication assays. Molecular biology, flow cytometry, confocal microscopy and biochemistry
  • References: 1. Wilson SJ, Schoggins JW, Zang T, Kutluay SB, Jouvenet N, Alim MA, Bitzegeio J, Rice CM, Bieniasz PD: Inhibition of HIV-1 particle assembly by 2',3'-cyclic-ucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase. Cell host & microbe 2012, 12(4):585-597.
    2. Schoggins JW, Wilson SJ, Panis M, Murphy MY, Jones CT, Bieniasz P, Rice CM: A diverse range of gene products are effectors of the type I interferon antiviral response. Nature 2011, 472(7344):481-485.
    3. Wilson SJ, Webb BL, Ylinen LM, Verschoor E, Heeney JL, Towers GJ: Independent evolution of an antiviral TRIMCyp in rhesus macaques. PNAS 2008, 105(9):3557-3562.
  • Contact: Sam Wilson (sam.wilson@glasgow.ac.uk), Research Fellow, MRC - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow

Project Title: Innate immune responses against arboviruses

Supervisor: Dr Alain Kohl

  • Project outline: Arbovirus interactions with vectors such as mosquitoes are still poorly understood. We analyse host responses against arboviruses in vectors with an emphasis on RNA interference (RNAi) pathways. These pathways are known to have a major role in controlling arboviruses (and may influence the ability of a vector to transmit virus) yet many questions remain unanswered, in particular regarding the induction and regulation of RNAi. This project will analyse those problems by combining molecular virology and cell biology techniques.
  • Summary Aim: We aim to understand the host response in arthropod vectors of arboviruses in order to better understand the virus-host interplay and how this relates to infection efficiency. Give that vector control is key to controlling arbovirus transmission it is imperative that we understand this aspect of vector biology better.
  • Techniques to be used: Molecular virology techniques (reverse genetics etc.), cell culture techniques (including transfection), immunofluorescence, protein expression, Western and Northern blotting, deep sequencing, manipulation of mosquitoes.
  • References: Links to recent publications in Journal of Virology and PLoS Pathogens:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23269795
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23144608
  • Contact: Centre for Virus Research, 8 Church Street, Glasgow G11 5 JR
    alain.kohl@glasgow.ac.uk

Overview

The MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CVR) sits within the Institute of Infection, Immunology and Inflammation. The CVR is the largest virology-focussed research centre in the UK and brings together a critical mass of researchers studying human and animal viruses and viral diseases.

The CVR provides excellent facilities and opportunities for cross-disciplinary projects and the delivery of a comprehensive programme of training in contemporary, multi-disciplinary, virology research. The Centre includes research programmes in arboviruses, Epstein Barr virus, feline calicivirus, herpes viruses, hepatitis C virus, influenza, retroviruses and papillomaviruses. Further details of our CVR research programmes.

 Cross cutting research themes and expertise include:

  • antiviral immunity
  • virus discovery
  • viral bioinformatics, mathematical modelling and genomics to guide new approaches to the understanding and management of viral infections
  • structural biology/cryo-electron microscopy and viral evolutionary dynamics
  • molecular virology to in vivo pathogenesis
  • virus-cell interactions
  • viral immunology
  • viral ecology
  • viral oncology
  • clinical and veterinary virology
  • viral diagnostics 
  • virus epidemiology

Our 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.

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

Subject to confirmation for 2022 entry

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.

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

2022/23

  • UK: fee not  yet available (2021/22 fee was £4,500)
  • International & EU: £23,950

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 20% 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.

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. 

From 2021/22, new entrant EU students will pay the same fees as all other international students.

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2021/22 fees

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

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

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Funding

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

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary and 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 large community of  postgraduate taught and research students. Our institute brings together 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. In addition, we offer the IVIS imaging system, high content screening microscopy, mass spectrometry, an X-ray capable FX Pro bioluminescence imaging system and a protein purification service. Also available are a wide range of molecular, immunological and biochemical analysis tools.

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

I've applied. What next?

If you have any other trouble accessing Applicant Self-Service, please see Application Troubleshooting/FAQs. 


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