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Studentships 2017

Read moreThe 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 09 JH/SK Southampton The impact of natural genetic variation on ruminant immune responses

Dr John Hammond

Professor Salim Khakoo

This project aims to identify which MHC class I ligands bind ruminant NK cell receptors to initiate and control immune responses, and how the extensive variation between the genes encoding these molecules impacts binding and function. To accomplish this, this project adapts approaches that have recently been successfully adopted to both discover and investigate interacting receptor/ligand pairs in human populations. Read more
2017 18 MI/PG Edinburgh PhD Studentship - Enhancing resistance in birds against avian influenza

Dr Munir Iqbal

Professor Paul Digard

Avian influenza viruses (AIV) of the H5 and H9 subtypes cause severe loss to commercial and backyard poultry production. This has serious implications for food security and sustainability as well as the potential zoonotic risk to humans and other livestock populations. Effective control of these viruses in poultry is complex with detection, culling, movement restrictions, and vaccination all being used. Despite these controls AIV has become enzootic in many countries. Vaccines are at the forefront of attempts to reduce the devastating impacts of AIV in poultry. However, increasingly emergent of antigenically diversified AIV are able to escape vaccines induced immunity. Therefore, there is an urgent need for better understanding the virus antigenicity determinants enabling development of more effective vaccines and vaccination strategies. Read more

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 -  Improving Avian Influenza Vaccines 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.
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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