Infection Immunology and Translational Medicine

Infection Immunology and Translational Medicine


This four year D.Phil. (PhD) programme delivers novel, integrated graduate training in infection and immunology within a translational medicine context. It provides the opportunity for research in the basic biomedical sciences of infectious diseases, the innate and acquired immune system and the development and use of therapeutic drugs and vaccines. As a structured programme, it consists of a one-year modular course followed by a three-year doctoral research project, which can take place in any of the participating departments at the University.

Programme details

Programme Directors

Professor Keith Gull
Professor Fiona Powrie


Structure of the Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine programme

The course is integrated around three themes: Immunology; Infection; and Translational Medicine. In the first year, students undertake three short research projects and a series of seminars within each theme, tailored to their interests and background. Students can then make an informed choice about their main thesis research project, which starts at the beginning of the second year.


The first year of the IITM Programme would typically include:

  • Three 10 week 'rotation' projects
  • A short dissertation
  • Taught courses, in the form of lectures and seminars
  • Problem based learning sessions
  • Further training and other events organised through the Medical Sciences Doctoral Training Centre

Students have the opportunity to work in a laboratory abroad, with supervisors from the Tropical Medicine unit of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine who are associated with this programme.


    Background to the research field

    Infectious and non-communicable diseases including chronic inflammatory disease and cancer represent significant global health problems. Basic research in infection and immunity has brought important advances in the understanding of the molecular and cellular control of the immune response and the pathogenesis of disease. The key challenge is to translate this information into the clinic in the form of improved diagnosis and treatments for immune mediated diseases.

    This programme provides opportunities for research in the basic biomedical science of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites plus the innate and acquired immune system, together with the development and use of therapeutic drugs and vaccines. Students' personal basic science research will be deeply influenced by the clinical context. The programme is run from the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology but involves Departments and Institutes across the Medical Sciences Division and overseas, providing interdisciplinary training and fostering communication between researchers engaged in basic and more applied research.



    The following supervisors are affiliated to this programme. Supervisors are linked to one of the three programme themes: Infection, Immunology or Translational Medicine. Students will undertake a short 'rotation' project in each of the three themes in their first year.

    Oreste Acuto

    The biochemical basis of signal initiation and propogation, its fine tuning and stabilization that imparts during phenotypic changes.

    Jon Austyn

    Immunobiology of dendritic cells

    Peter Bull

    Immunity to and pathogenesis of Malaria

    Vincenzo Cerundolo

    Vaccination, cancer immunology and NKT cell function

    Richard, J Cornall

    Autoimmunity and Immune Regulation Group

    Derrick Crook

    Infectious Disease

    Simon J Davis

    T-cell Biology Group

    Nick PJ Day

    Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit

    Mike Dustin

    The immunological synapse and integrating this into the 3D tissue context

    Ervin Fodor

    Influenza virus replication at the molecular level.

    Lars Fugger

    Multiple sclerosis

    Sarah C Gilbert

    Vaccine Development

    Eva Gluenz

    Cell biology of Leishmania; role of the flagellum in host-parasite interactions

    Philip Goulder

    Paediatric HIV T cell immunology

    David Greaves

    Inflammation Biology

    Kay Grunewald

    Structural cell biology of virus infection

    Keith Gull

    Aspects of the pathogenicity of African trypanosomes and inherited ciliary diseases of humans.

    Adrian VS Hill

    Jenner Institute / Infectious Diseases / Malaria Vaccine Trials

    Jonathan Hodgkin

    Genetics of nematode immunity and development

    William James

    HIV-Macrophage interactions and stem cell technology

    E. Yvonne Jones

    Receptor Structure Research Group

    Paul Klenerman

    Antiviral immunity

    Julian C Knight

    Functional genomics of inflammation and immunity

    Dominic Kwiatkowski

    Genomics and Global Health

    Susan Lea

    Host-pathogen interactions including the Complement system, bacterial adhesion, type III and tat secretion systems.

    Petros Ligoxygakis

    Drosophila as a model to study innate immunity

    Martin Maiden

    The interaction of molecular epidemiology, population biology and public health for bacterial pathogens

    Kevin Maloy

    Host-pathogen interactions in the intestine and their impact on intestinal inflammation

    Kevin Marsh

    KEMRI Wellcome Collaborative Research programme

    Helen McShane

    Cellular Immunology and Vaccine Development

    Chris A O'Callaghan

    Innate Immunity

    Graham S Ogg

    Cutaneous Immunology, Allergy, Dermatology, Viral infections and the skin, Innate and adaptive immune responses, Role of epithelium in immunity.

    Rodney E Phillips

    Antiviral Immunity, HIV

    Andrew Pollard

    Adult and Paediatric Vaccinology and Paediatric Infection and Immunity

    Fiona Powrie

    Mucosal immunology

    Jan Rehwinkel

    Nucleic acid sensing by innate immune receptors

    Sarah L Rowland-Jones

    Immunity to HIV infection

    Quentin Sattentau

    Retroviral Immunology

    Alison Simmons

    Innate immunity in infectious and inflammatory disease

    Christoph Tang

    Pathogenesis and Prevention of Bacterial Meningitis

    Anton van der Merwe

    Molecular analysis of leucocyte recognition

    Nicholas J White

    Tropical Medicine, Infectious Disease and Drug Discovery

    Kathryn Wood

    Transplant rejection and tolerance

    Nicole Zitzmann

    Hepatitis - Development of Antiviral Strategies

    Admissions process

    • It is possible to apply from 1 September 2014 for entry to the Infection Immunology and Translational Medicine DPhil programme in October 2015.
    • The application deadline is 12 noon (UK time) on 9 January 2015.
    • Applications will be considered by a short-listing panel and applicants will be notified of the outcome by email, as soon as possible after the deadline.
    • Short-listed candidates will be invited to interview, which are expected to be held on 29 and 30 January 2015.


    How to apply

    • Applications for the programme and the associated studentships must be received by 12 noon (UK time) on 9 January 2015. Please refer to the University application guide. Applications should be made using the online application form.
    • If candidates are unable to submit an online application they should contact us well before the deadline.

    When completing the application form, please note the following:

    1. Programme of Study

    Programme/Course Codes:

    • 003920 – D.Phil. in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine

    2. Proposed field, title of research project and supervisor details.

    There is no need to enter a proposed field or research project title, or to identify supervisors. Please enter the name of the doctoral programme to which you are applying. You will not be required to submit a research project proposal.

    3. College choice

    Candidates are encouraged to identify a college when applying, rather than using the Open College option.

    It is suggested that applicants to the Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine programme select St Edmund Hall as their college choice.

    Information on which colleges accept applicants to this programme can be found here.

    4. Language Skills

    Please review the English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English. This programme requires applicants to meet the higher level scores.

    5. Proposed Funding Arrangements:

    Please enter 'Wellcome Trust' as the Funding Source, ‘£40,000' (as an approximate figure) for the Amount of Funding per year, '4 years' as Period Covered and 'Applied to' for Funding Status. Please leave the Departmental Studentship Applications section blank.

    The Wellcome Trust studentships include:

    • College fees and University fees at the Home/EU rate
    • a stipend for the four years of study
    • travel and training allowances

    Overseas applicants who apply by the deadline of 12 noon (UK time) on 9 January 2015 and who are successful in their application will be nominated for additional funding from within the University, to cover the overseas fee rate.

    6. Supporting Materials

    Please submit

    • a personal statement
    • CV
    • transcripts for your University level education

    There is no need to write a research proposal - please submit a personal statement instead. Your personal statement should be a maximum of one page and should focus on your interest in, and experience of this research field rather than personal achievements, interests or aspirations.

    You are advised to keep the size of uploaded documents (e.g. CV, transcripts) to a minimum, for administrative purposes.

    7. Interviews

    If shortlisted, candidates will be interviewed in Oxford. Candidates from outside Europe are normally interviewed by phone unless they are in Europe at the time of interview.

    All applicants will be contacted in response to their application, but, due to the high volume of applications received, we cannot provide feedback to candidates.

    Key Information

    Programme code 003920


    4 Year Structured D.Phil.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum 2:i (or equivalent) at undergraduate degree

    Supported by

    Wellcome Trust


    5 Wellcome Trust-funded studentships are awarded per year, covering University and college fees at the Home/EU rate, providing a generous tax free stipend, modest travel and training grants and funding for research consumables.

    Further Information

    Selection Criteria

    Statement of Provision

    Ready to apply?

    Please review

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