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Course details and timetables

Our aim is to provide exposure to a spectrum of laboratories and experimental approaches in the first year to allow the student to gain postgraduate level knowledge and technical experience across all of these areas, prior to selection of a major project to be undertaken in the next 3 years.

To achieve this we have brought together research scientists approaching the problems of infection, immunity and inflammation by multiple intellectual disciplines to act as mentors and supervisors to the students who are selected for our 4-year PhD Programme.

The complex problems associated with host defense against microbial challenge will be solved only by approaches that incorporate all elements of fundamental cell and molecular biology.

The first year of the programme will involve three x 10 week mini projects, each with a different supervisor, and weekly Core Topic Sessions.

Mini Projects

Faculty members offer a wide range of mini-projects during the first year from which each student chooses three, one for each term.

We encourage diversity in the choices for mini-projects so that students become familiar with a variety of scientific concepts and techniques, and can make an informed decision at the end of the year 1 regarding the thesis project for years 2-4.

Core Topics

During the first year students attend a number of Core Topic sessions which take the form of 2 x 2 hour sessions per week with a supervisor acting as mentor. Core Topics for discussion fall within specific areas of the mentor's research.

It is envisaged that the mentor will give a historical 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 aim is to demonstrate from (the mentor's) first-hand experience how scientific research progresses in addition to discussing in-depth an area or research.

Further Skills

Woven into the 1st year course and assessment procedures is training in:

  • Specialist scientific skills (information technology/bioinformatics/computation; confocal and electron microscopy; flow cytometry; DNA sequencing and genotyping; use of robotics)
  • Transferable skills (project planning, costing and management; report, thesis and paper writing; communication skills; interviewing skills and team management; refereeing of papers and grant applications)