This course combines theoretical knowledge and practical training in the immunology of infectious diseases through comprehensive teaching and research methods. Students will gain specialised skills in applying scientific concepts, evaluating scientific data and carrying out modern immunological techniques. Students will benefit from the unique mix of immunology, vaccinology, molecular biology, virology, bacteriology, parasitology, mycology and clinical medicine at the School.
Infectious diseases represent an increasingly important cause of human morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Vaccine development is thus of great importance in terms of global health. In parallel with this growth, there has been a dramatic increase in studies to identify the innate, humoral or cellular immunological mechanisms which confer immunity to pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. As a result, increasing numbers of scientists, clinicians and veterinarians wish to develop their knowledge and skills in these areas.
The flexible nature of the course allows students to focus on attaining a broader understanding of infectious disease through attending taught units. Students can also undertake an extended research project within groups led by experienced team leaders. Such projects can involve basic investigations of immune mechanisms or applied field based studies.
Graduates from this course go into research positions in academia and industry, and further training such as PhD study.
By the end of this course students should be able to:
- demonstrate specialist knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of host immunity to infection against the diverse range of pathogens which confront human populations
- apply this specialist knowledge to a range of practical skills and techniques, in particular modern molecular and cellular techniques for assessing immune responses to pathogens
- critically assess, select and apply appropriate research methods to investigate basic immunological mechanisms and applied issues in the immunology of infection
- critically evaluate primary scientific data and the published scientific literature
- integrate and present key immunological concepts at an advanced level, both verbally and in written form
Term 1: There is a one-week orientation period that includes an introduction to studying at the School, sessions on key computing and study skills and an introduction to major groups of pathogens, followed by two compulsory modules:
- Immunology of Infectious Diseases - Analysis & Design of Research Studies
Sessions on basic computing, molecular biology and statistics are run throughout the term for all students.
Terms 2 and 3: Students take a total of five study modules, one from each timetable slot (Slot 1, Slot 2 etc.). The list below shows recommended modules. There are other modules which may be taken only after consultation with the Course Directors.
- Slot 1: Advanced Immunology 1 (compulsory)
- Slot 2: Advanced Immunology 2 (compulsory)
- Slot 3: Advanced Training in Molecular Biology* Clinical Immunology* Extended Project* Basic Parasitology Clinical Infectious Diseases 3: Bacterial & Viral Diseases & Community Health in Developing Countries
- Slot 4: Extended Project* Immunology of Parasitic Infection: Principles* Molecular Biology Research Progress & Applications* Clinical Infectious Diseases 4: Parasitic Diseases & Clinical Medicine Epidemiology & Control of Communicable Diseases Ethics, Public Health & Human Rights Genetic Epidemiology
Towards the end of Term 1, students get the opportunity to hear about the latest, most exciting aspects of immunological research at the British Society of Immunology Congress. The cost is included in the £500 field trip fee.
During the summer months (July - August), students complete a research project on an immunological subject, for submission by early September. Some of these projects may take place with collaborating scientists overseas or in other colleges or institutes in the UK. Students undertaking projects overseas will require additional funding of up to £1,500 to cover costs involved.
The majority of students who undertake projects abroad receive financial support for flights from the School's trust funds set up for this purpose.