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Infection, Immunity and Inflammation PhD programme



Welcome to the Welcome Trust 4-year PhD Programme in Infection, Immunity and Inflammation. The philosophy guiding our PhD Programme is that solutions to the complex problems of infectious diseases and the immune system will come from a rigorous training across a broad range of scientific disciplines. In the first year you will undertake three 10-week laboratory rotations and participate in a series of taught seminars and workshops within the areas of infection and immunobiology. You will be encouraged to try rotations in subject areas you may have little experience in - these may be influenced by the many different seminars and workshops on current research in infection and immunobiology that take place in Cambridge throughout the year. The research interest of our faculty range from basic microbial molecular biology and fundamental immunology including cell, molecular and structural biology through to microbial pathogenesis and computational biology. This diverse community encompasses laboratories within the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, (CIMR), the Departments of Pathology, Virology and Medicine as well as the Vet School in Cambridge. We aim to generate the intellectual excitement and passion that forms the essence of a stimulating training environment.

Please do take the time to explore our web pages and the opportunities offered by the broad range of faculty. We hope that you will seriously consider applying to our Programme and contact our Programme Administrator Amanda Goldsmith if you have any further questions:

With best wishes,

Paul Lehner
Janet Deane

I,I and I PhD students 2016

Programme summary

Infectious diseases remain the major cause of mortality and morbidity throughout the world and their occurrence represents a failure of the immune system. However, our very existence indicates that the immune system has the potential capacity to cope successfully with these diseases.

We need to understand better the fundamental rules that govern microbial pathogenesis, how the immune system usually controls infections, the microbial strategies that occasionally lead to escape from immune control and what happens when the immune system fails and turns on itself.

Ultimately our ability to tackle these problems depends on attracting the next generation of scientists and providing them with the knowledge and technical skills that will allow them to study infection and immunity in innovative, exciting and productive ways. The aim of the 4-year PhD Programme in Cambridge is to train and motivate this new generation of scientists to tackle these problems.

The Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD Programme in Infection, Immunity, and Inflammation is one of the 1+3 Programmes offered by the Graduate School of Life Sciences. The first year of the programme forms the basis for an MRes in Medical Sciences. The assessment for the MRes is based on the reports and presentations produced at the end of each mini-project, and also an oral assessment towards the end of year 1, subject to the approval of an external examiner.

We offer 5 Wellcome Trust funded studentships per year, plus an additional studentship, which is funded by the University of Cambridge. The programme runs in close conjunction with the 4 year PhD Programme in Medical Science based in the CIMR.

Why 4 years?

The advantage of the 4 year course is that it allows you in your first year to undertake 3 rotation projects in different laboratories as well as participating in the taught component of the course. You will be encouraged to try new areas and diversify your interests, skills and techniques. This means that when it comes to choosing the laboratory for your 3 year project you are making an informed choice, aided by your exposure to potential PhD supervisors and scientific areas during your first year.

What's special about our programme?

The Programme draws together research scientists across faculties: the Faculty Board of Biology, the Faculty Board of Clinical Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine and multiple departments within them. You will be working with a PI of your choice from a range of projects offered. A major attraction of this programme is the broad range of disciplines covered from basic immunology, cell biology and infection, through to more applied projects.

The participants in the Programme are members of CIMR, the Departments of Pathology, Biochemistry, the Veterinary School, and the Clinical School.

One critically important factor is to ensure that students are fully integrated during their first year, to maximise the benefits of access to staff and facilities.

A benefit of the Programme for these students, as opposed to those who enroll in a single department, is that they will develop insight into academic research activities across the various sites. This provides the potential for them to come up with imaginative main projects that combine skills and expertise across disciplines, departments and faculties.



Paul Lehner

Programme Director

Professor Paul Lehner


Janet Deane

Programme Deputy Director

Dr Janet Deane


Programme Administrator

Amanda Goldsmith

Wellcome Trust/MRC building

Hills Road

Cambridge CB2 0XY