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Studentships 2017

The Pirbright Institute has recently formed partnerships with a number of different universities and companies in the UK to offer a selection of exciting studentships studying viral infections of animals.

These new partnerships offer students an exceptional opportunity to obtain a broad view of infectious disease research in a rich, stimulating and unique research environment. Students will have the opportunity to work with the different partners involved in their project, thereby giving them access to novel ways of tackling the problems of livestock diseases through interdisciplinary, cross-institutional approaches. This will be coupled to core skills training at the student’s host institutions, providing flexible training options and experiences that will support a wide range of career choices.

Applications are therefore invited for these studentships as detailed in the tables below.


Ref number Project title Supervisors Abstract
2017 01 LA/Self-Funded Self-Funded PhD Studentship Prof Luke Alphey

Professor Alphey’s research group aims to develop novel genetic tools for the introgression of genetic (transgenic) traits into wild populations of pest insects [see Alphey (2014) Ann Rev Entomol 59:205-224 for overview of such genetic control in the context of mosquitoes]. This has potential applications in public health (e.g. mosquitoes), agriculture and conservation biology, for example. Projects are potentially available in each of these areas. Read more

2017 02 MI/Self-Funded Self-Funded PhD Studentship Dr Munir Iqbal Improving Avian Influenza Vaccines:  Avian influenza viruses continue to be responsible for severe economic losses in poultry production in the many parts of the world and remain a credible threat to food security and public health. The options to reduce their impact on poultry are complex and require highly effective vaccines that produce strong immunity and full protection against disease, together with a reduction in shedding of infectious virus from infected birds resulting in a break in the endemic prevalence of these viruses in affected regions. Read more
2017 03 ET/OxfordiCASE PhD Studentship Dr Elma Tchilian

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are a major health problem with significant economic impact on farming. Vaccines are cost-effective but improved immunisation strategies are needed. Local mucosal immunity is critical for protection against RTIs, leading to the successful deployment of an aerosol measles vaccines and live attenuated influenza virus (IV) vaccine, Flumist, delivered by nasal spray. However, Flumist, delivered to the upper respiratory tract (URT) of humans by large droplets, still has to be updated annually to match the evolving surface glycoproteins of IV, whereas when delivered to the lower respiratory tract (LRT) of ferrets and mice it is protective against diverse IVs. Nevertheless, it is not known what part of the RT should be targeted in large animal species for optimal protection, neither are practical devices for aerosol delivery available for field use in livestock.  Read more

2017 08 SC/MC LSHTM PhD Studentship Dr Simon Carpenter Mosquitoes in the “Endless City”: understanding how urbanisation will influence vector populations:  We live in an increasingly urban society, with over half the world’s human population now living in cities. The studies in this PhD will assist in predicting the influence of further urbanisation on mosquito populations and in understanding their interactions with humans and animals. This is of interest in predicting the future probability and impact of vector-borne viruses entering and persisting in the UK. You will work with our experienced team of field and laboratory-based scientists to define a specific area of interest. Your studies could, for example, encompass subjects as diverse as investigating the genetics of mosquito populations and how this influences responses to changes in the environment through to wide-scale surveys to understand factors that might influence future policy decisions in response to virus incursions. To fully exploit the potential of this project will require multidisciplinary approaches so we are happy to receive applications from candidates both within and outside the biological sciences.   Read more
Ref number Project title Supervisors Abstract

The Pirbright Institute also has the following studentships which should be applied for through our partner organisations.

Further information

The studentship provides for tuition fees and stipend depending on eligibility (see full project details accessible through the tables above).

How to apply

See the 'how to apply' section for further information.

General enquiries can be emailed to

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