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Postgraduate studentships

The Pirbright Institute has 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 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.

Watch this short film to find out more about PhD studentships at The Pribright Institute:

Visit the Postgraduate Benefits page to watch our Student Spotlight interviews in full and gain insight from current PhD students.

Studentship Funding Eligibility:

For further information on funding eligibility please refer to UKRI Full Eligibility Criteria (Annex One)

Current opportunities

Ref Number Closing Date PhD Studentship Supervisors Project Details
N/A - applications for this PhD studenship must be made via the University of Oxford 1 week's notice will be given of closure Ultrastructural insights into avian herpesvirus-host cell interactions Dr Yongxiu YaoProf Venugopal Nair OBE (The Pirbright Institute), Dr James Gilchrist (Diamond Light Source), Prof Peijun Zhang (Department of Structural Biology, University of Oxford)

Marek’s disease virus (MDV) is a major avian alphaherpesvirus associated with Marek’s disease (MD) in poultry characterised by rapid-onset T-cell lymphomas, immunosuppression and paralysis causing annual economic losses of around $2 billion worldwide. Compared to other herpesviruses, MDV has several distinct characteristics, the most important one being its strict cell-associated replication and cell-to-cell spread.  

This collaborative project between eBIC, the Structural Biology Department at Oxford and the Pirbright Institute aims to gain structural insights into the strict cell-associated lifestyle of this major avian viral pathogen using state-of-the-art tools such as cryogenic electron microscopy (Cryo-EM), electron tomography (Cryo-ET) and focused ion beam (Cryo-FIB) milling at Diamond and Oxford. Project will also aim to explore virus-host interactions using the virology expertise at Pirbright, particularly focusing on the interactions of the major viral oncoprotein MEQ that is associated with the induction of lymphomas and increasing virulence. Thus, the project provides the opportunity to study biogenesis of a cell-associated highly oncogenic herpesvirus as well as explore ultrastructure of viral and cellular protein complexes using the most advanced structural biology tools. 

Applications for this project must be made via the University of Oxford, not The Pirbright Institute - full details can be found here.

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

Partner Organisation/s Project Title Applications

How to apply:

See 'how to apply' page for details.

General enquiries can be emailed to

Studentships provide for tuition fees and stipend depending on eligibility (see project advert for details).


UK Posgraduate Doctoral Loans:

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan (of up to £27,265) can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.  Students in receipt of Research Council funding are not eligible.  Details can be found here.


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