Infection Biology - Research

Infection Biology Thematic PhD

Infection Biology Thematic PhD Programme

The Infection Biology theme investigates virulence mechanisms of pathogenic micro organisms and viruses, host response to infection, immunopathologies such as inflammation and immune system dysfunction as well as the development of novel therapeutics and drug delivery.

The Infection Biology thematic PhD programme is delivered by three UCD schools:

School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science (SBBS),
School of Medicine & Medical Science (SMMS), and
School of Veterinary Medicine (SVM).

Using expertise from each of these schools, the thematic programme provides innovative research opportunities and teaching to its students.

Funding for PhD studentships is available through a number of avenues, including:

Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions - PRTLI (Irish HEA funded programme)

China Scholarship Scheme

UCD Graduate Studies' website details a number of PhD studentships applicable to this programme

Students interested in pursuing a PhD in Infectin Biology are encouraged to contact Infection Biology Investigators directly.

What is Infection Biology?

Infection biology is the study of pathogens and their interaction with the host. As such it encompasses the broad disciplines of microbiology, immunology, and genetics.

The emergence of infection biology has been driven by the need to develop new approaches to the study of infectious disease. Reduction of the global burden of disease in developing and developed countries demands novel prophylactic and therapeutic approaches. Policy and funding agencies have recognised the need for multidisciplinary research programmes to deliver on this requirement, and infection biology is one key discipline in this area.


Infection Biology (X810) PhD Research 3 Years FT/ 6 Years PT
Infection Biology (X812) PhD Research 3 Years FT/ 6 Years PT
Infection Biology (X814) PhD Research 3 Years FT/ 6 Years PT
Infection Biology (X816) PhD Research 3 Years FT/ 6 Years PT
Infection Biology (X252) PhD Research 6 Years PT

Enrolment dates

Start date: To be agreed with School


The Thematic Doctoral Programme in Infection Biology runs across the Schools of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine (SAFSVM), Medicine and Medical Science (SMMS), and Biomolecular and Biomedical Science (SBBS), and brings together basic and clinical research teams in veterinary and human medicine.

The programme consists of 270 ECTS, comprising:
an independent research project;
IB>Prog>Thematicmods; and
research-related modules.

The benefit of a thematic PhD to the student is demonstrated in the breadth of combined experience, facilities and research avenues available, in addition to tailored modules and 'research days'.

Programme Aims

Under the Infection Biology Doctoral Programme, graduate students will perform research projects encompassing such areas as host-pathogen interaction, emerging infections, systems biology, and infection models.

Through intensive research, thematic modules and research & professional development opportunities, the programme aims to equip the student with the skills necessary to swiftly progress in industry or academia in the area of Infection Biology.

Doctoral Research Project

Major independent research project = 240 ECTS

Central to the programme will be the implementation of an independent research project investigating aspects of infection biology of relevance to human and animal health. All PhD students in the programme will have a Doctoral Studies Panel (DSP) comprised of the Principal Investigator (PI), a mentor and an advisor. The mentor or advisor (or both) will be drawn from one of the other participating schools to ensure that the student's research work is contextualised in a broad, multidisciplinary framework.

Day-to-day teaching and learning will involve one-to-one interaction between the student and supervisor(s) and / or members of their research teams on all aspects relevant to the student's research work and development. Formal monitoring of progress and identification of required supports by the student's DSP will take place on a 6-monthly basis.

Thematic Modules

To support the translational focus of the programme thematic courses will comprise a 5 ECTS core graduate module and a 5 ECTS module for the student to choose from a number of relevant undergraduate modules (please click here for further information of modules curently available).

The core graduate module is entitled "Advances in Infection Biology", in which PIs participating in the programme will delineate current concepts, state-of-the-art techniques and potential future developments in the area. (5 ECTS).

Research Modules

Multi-Disciplinary Research Development and Interaction (10 ECTS):

To underpin the multi-disciplinary aspect of the programme and to ensure exposure to a broad range of knowledge relevant to Infection Biology research, participating students will be obliged to organise and participate in a weekly journal club and seminar programme. This operates as follows:

Current Concepts in Infection Biology A

This module is designed to provide research students in the first year of their PhD with an overview of the latest advances in infection biology, both through research seminars and critical evaluation of the scientific literature. Students will learn how research is presented in the scientific literature, and also how to critically assess scientific methodologies and hence develop their critical thinking skills. Students will also have to present their own research work and defend their work before their peers. The module will therefore develop critical thinking and communication skills. The basic structure is that each student must present at least 2 journal clubs and 1 research seminar of their own work per year to an audience of fellow students and PIs. Assessment is based on students' written critical assessment of the research articles presented, and their oral presentations.

Current Concepts in Infection Biology B

This module is for second year Infection Biology PhD students and builds on skills learnt in "Current Concepts in Infection Biology A". Students will further develop their critical analysis skills and be challenged to critique research papers they are presenting. They will become proficient at communicating research concepts, and become adept at defending their own research work to their peers and PIs. Students will also develop skills in organising and chairing research seminars. The basic structure is that each student must present at least 2 journal clubs, 1 seminar, and chair 2 sessions per year. Assessment is based on students' written critical assessment of the research articles presented, their oral presentations, and how they organize and chair sessions.

Research & Complementary Skills Training (10 ECTS):

All students participating in the programme will also complete Core Research Skills (5 ECTS), Advanced Research Skills (2.5 ECTS) and Communication (2.5 ECTS) modules currently available via the Conway Institute.

More details
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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Doctoral (Level 10 NFQ)

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