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parasitic worm

Our portfolio covers many aspects of parasitology research from molecules to cells and whole organisms to populations. Research activities are based around skills in molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, epidemiology, population genetics and mathematical modeling and involve both laboratory based projects and fieldwork.

Overview

Parasites are fascinating organisms, because of their capacity to live and replicate within the host environment. How parasites adapt and survive is the focus of much study with the potential to generate new and important discoveries that can impact upon control. Most organisms harbor parasites and much of our research is aimed at understanding how parasites cause disease and how best to control disease in both humans and animals. Improving upon existing treatments and understanding mechanisms of drug resistance are important aspects of this work. In addition, the epidemiology, ecology and population genetics of parasitic pathogens are important areas of research that significantly impact upon transmission and control.

Our research portfolio covers a range of tropical parasites that cause important diseases, including Plasmodium ssp (malaria), Trypanosoma ssp (sleeping sickness), Leishmania ssp (leishmaniasis) and Theileria (East coast fever/theileriosis), along with filarial worms, the cause of elephantiasis. We also study parasites that are endemic in the UK such as Toxoplasma gondii and important gastro-intestinal parasites of livestock that cause significant economic loss to the agricultural industry and are important for global food security. Many important parasites are transmitted by vectors, and we have growing strengths in vector biology, most notably mosquitoes and ticks. We aim to apply our findings to informing control programmes and to translate our findings into better diagnostics, drugs and vaccines.

Study options

PhD programmes are usually 3 to 4 years long (submission of the thesis is expected within 4 years of commencing study). Students undertake individual research projects in the area of expertise of their supervisor(s), although many projects on offer are inter-disciplinary.

Your choice of projects is diverse, reflecting the range of expertise of potential supervisors. The University of Glasgow provides an excellent environment for Parasitology research, housing the largest group of parasitologists in the UK, studying all aspects of parasitic disease from gene to population. Parasitology is housed within two Institutes, Infection, Immunity and Inflammation and Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine. In addition, many of the group are members of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology. The resources available provide the opportunity for excellent and cutting edge training in many different areas. These include molecular biology, biochemistry, ecology, epidemiology, mathematical modelling, bioinformatics, genetics, cell biology (including advanced in vitro and in vivo imaging), immunology and polyomics (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics etc). Many projects are laboratory-based in up to date facilities with excellent research resources. Inter-disciplinary research is a key aspect of our approach and we have many collaborators both within the University and externally.  Some projects involve considerable amounts of fieldwork in the UK or overseas.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • Molecular basis of sexual development in Plasmodium (Waters)
  • Metabolism of P. falciparum (Müller)
  • Genetics and biology of the interactions between P. falciparum and the mosquito vector (Ranford-Cartwright)
  • Ecology and behaviour of malaria vectors (Ferguson)
  • Cellular remodelling of trypanosomes and Leishmania during their life cycles (Mottram)
  • Cell division in trypanosomes (Hammarton)
  • Homologous recombination, DNA repair pathways and antigenic variation in T. brucei (McCulloch)
  • African trypanosomes and their interactions with their hosts (MacLeod)
  • Neuropathology of African trypanosomiasis (Rodgers, Kennedy)
  • Invasion of the host cell by T. gondii (Meissner)
  • Biogenesis of the mitochondrion and apicoplast in T. gondii (Sheiner)
  • Control of host cell division and parasite differentiation in Theileria (Shiels)
  • Immune regulation in vivo in relation to parasitic infection (Brewer, Garside)
  • Fitness costs of the immune response and wild immunology (Babayan)
  • Imaging the immune response to parasites in vivo (Brewer)
  • Mathematical modelling of host-parasite systems (Matthews, Stear)
  • Epidemiology of zoonotic pathogens in Africa (MacLeod)
  • Mechanisms of drug resistance (protozoan, nematode, ectoparasites) (Barrett, de Koning, Devaney, Jonsson)
  • The role of membrane transporters in parasite virulence and drug susceptibility (de Koning)
  • Development of new lead compounds and vaccines for parasitic diseases (protozoan and nematode) (Shiels, Barrett, Page, Devaney, Britton)
  • Use of C. elegans as a model for understanding gene function in parasitic nematodes (Britton, Devaney, Page)
  • microRNAs and their functions in parasitic nematodes (Britton, Devaney)

Supervisors

All our postgraduate research students are allocated a supervisor who acts as the main source of academic support and research mentoring.

You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply.

Entry requirements

Awarded or expected 1st class or high upper 2nd class BSc degree (or equivalent).

English Language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English.

Fees and funding

Fees

2016/17

  • £4,121 UK/EU
  • £18,900 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Submission by a research student £440
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £890
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £140
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period) £250
  • General Council fee £50
  • Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

2017/18

  • £4,195 UK/EU*
  • £19,500 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

* We expect that tuition fees for EU students entering in 2017 will continue to be set at the same level as that for UK students.  However, future funding arrangements for EU students will be determined as part of the UK’s discussions on its future relationship.  If you are thinking of applying for 2017 entry, we would encourage you to do so in the usual way. For further information, please see the Research Councils UK statement on international collaboration and Universities UK Brexit FAQs for universities and students.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Fee for re-submission by a research student: £460
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work: £1,050
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed: £250
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship: £730
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period): £300
  • Registration/exam only fee: £150
  • General Council fee: £50

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

 

Funding

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student. Through their research interests in drug development, vaccines and diagnostics, many of our project supervisors have strong links with industry.
 
Our over-arching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

Research environment

If you study with us, you will join a large community of  postgraduate taught and research students. Our institute brings together world-leading basic, applied, clinical and translational researchers to study infection with a focus on the viral, parasitic and bacterial pathogens of both humans and animals, and immunology and inflammation with a focus on chronic inflammatory diseases.

Despite the continual development of new therapies, antibiotics and vaccines, chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases still pose persistent health threats. We aim to:

  • understand the basic science of the immune systems and how the immune system can inturn affect disease outcome understand the biology of parasites, viruse and bacteria and the interactions with their hosts, that in turn leads to high levels of infectious diseases worldwide
  • develop therapies (drugs and vaccines) targeted on these processes
  • explore new treatments and strategies in clinical and translational medicine.

Research centres

Resources

Our excellent facilities underpin a bench to bedside approach that will equip you with training complementary to a range of career options, and you can tailor your study pathway to the precise aspects of infection and immunology that suit your objectives. Facilities include:

  • core facilities in fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis
  • histology and state-of-the-art imaging.
  • IVIS imaging system
  • high content screening microscopy
  • mass spectrometry
  • an X-ray capable FX Pro bioluminescence imaging system
  • a protein purification service
  • a wide range of molecular, immunological and biochemical analysis tools 
How to apply
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