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Course details and timetables

Programme design

The CIMR 4 year PhD programme adds to the highly successful Wellcome Trust 4 yr PhD programme already established in Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, which takes 5 students per year and involves several of the groups in the CIMR.

The CIMR has ~30 group leaders, and our research strategy is to take a multidisciplinary approach towards understanding the cellular basis of disease. We have a particularly strong focus on fundamental cell biological processes including protein homeostasis and folding, membrane trafficking, cytoskeleton and autophagy.

This programme has been established in recognition of the scientific excellence of the CIMR and the desire to train more students in science using our excellent facilities and wide range of academic disciplines. All members of the CIMR contribute to the training programme and students will have the opportunity to select an area for in depth study in years 2-4 having already attained an excellent grounding in core scientific areas in the first year of the programme.

All projects are led by PIs in the CIMR but may involve close collaboration with other departments across the clinical school and the School of Biological Science. Depending on the departmental affiliation of the supervisor students will also belong to departments such as Medicine, Clinical Biochemistry, Medical Genetics, Pathology, Surgery or Haematology. These host departments are involved in assessment and co-supervision of students in the research period. In addition, taught courses are organised in the first year and placements of students are coordinated by the faculty.

Programme format

Year 1

The first year will involve attending lectures, seminars or discussion groups in the CIMR given by group leaders who will provide training in genetic statistics, bioinformatics, genetics, infection, immunity, crystallography, biochemistry and scientific methodologies. There will also be hot-topic sessions where students can rapidly get up to date with an area of interest and develop new ideas about a subject. The core scientific training in year 1 will often be together with students on the Wellcome Trust 4 yr Infection, Immunity and Inflammation programme, as many of the lecturers for both courses are from the CIMR. However, CIMR 4 yr PhD programme students will also have additional lectures and tutorials from other CIMR members whose primary interest is in the broader categories listed in the programme design. This will lead to a general scientific training in areas such a crystallography, protein biochemistry, cell biology or genetics prior to specialisation in the PhD topic that the candidate chooses. All students will also undertake 3 x 10-week mini-projects with PIs in the CIMR.

Woven into the 1st year course and assessment procedures is training in specialist scientific and transferable skills.

The Core Topic sessions will take the form of 2 x 2 hour sessions per week with a faculty member acting as mentor. Core Topics for discussion fall within specific areas of the mentor’s research. It is envisaged that the mentor will give an historical (sometimes even personal) account of the major developments in the field, and that the sessions will focus on an appraisal of key scientific papers that have advanced the field. The major concept here is to expose students to the scientific process, and to demonstrate from (the mentor’s) first hand experience how scientific research progresses. This is in addition to gaining in-depth knowledge of this area or research.

Years 2-4

Students on the CIMR 4 yr PhD programme will be able to undertake a 3 year PhD with a selected supervisor after completing the basic training in year 1.