Research course

Infection Medicine

University of Edinburgh · Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

Entry requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

Months of entry

January, April, September, October

Course content

Infection Medicine (IM) is a multidisciplinary centre at the University of Edinburgh that consists of academic and clinical research groups within the Edinburgh Medical School working on infectious diseases. The centre focuses on basic, translational and clinical aspects of infectious diseases caused by a broad range of different pathogens, and is part of the Edinburgh Infectious Diseases (EID) umbrella organization.

Involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching for Biomedical Sciences (BMS), Biological Sciences (BS) and Medical (M.B.Ch.B.) students, the centre has developed an extended teaching and training portfolio ranging from various undergraduate courses on infectious diseases to online and residential Masters programmes, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses and a PhD programme in Infection Medicine.

Staff and students come from across the world and maintain a very international and interdisciplinary culture. IM principal investigators (PIs) lead or participate in a wide range of research and policy programmes with partners in the UK, Europe and globally. They have been instrumental in the foundation and operation of the Zhejiang University-University of Edinburgh Institute (ZJE) in China.

Infection Medicine focuses on the following five research themes:

Antimicrobial resistance

Antimicrobial Resistance is one of the greatest healthcare challenges of our time. This research theme explores various aspects of drug-pathogen and host-pathogen interactions to accelerate the development of novel diagnostics and therapeutics. Studies, both at the population and single cell level, include determining the mechanistic basis of antimicrobial, transmission dynamics and evolutionary aspects of resistance in key human pathogens such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Listeria .They are undertaken in collaboration with NHS colleagues and international collaborators located in Africa, India and China.

Development of diagnostic tools

This multidisciplinary research theme combines biological and physical sciences to identify novel biomarkers and to develop new molecular detection systems and assay integration strategies. The development of point-of-care tests (POCT) and rapid diagnostics aims to improve therapeutic intervention, clinical management and surveillance of infectious diseases. Examples include tests for antimicrobial resistance, host susceptibility and circulating miRNAs as markers for inflammation and liver disease.

Global health

In the past few decades there has been almost one new infectious disease emerging each year and more than 75% of these diseases derive from zoonotic origins. The objective of this research theme is to develop strategies to manage these emerging diseases better whilst facing the challenge of endemic and often neglected infections in particular in low and middle income countries. By bringing together a diverse community of multidisciplinary researchers opportunities are created to identify, explore and address both local, region and global health challenges in order to bring about a positive change.

Pathogen biology and host-pathogen interactions

Understanding the multiplicity of mechanisms used by pathogens to cause infection and how the host senses and targets microbes is vital for the development of novel and more effective chemotherapeutic agents and vaccines. The goal of this research theme is to combine basic, translational and clinical research to increase this understanding. Specific areas of interest include microbial virulence factors, mechanisms of intracellular parasitism, virulence regulation and pathogen short-term adaptive responses, and pathogen ecology, genomics and evolution.

Systems biology and Big data analyses

Technical advances such as high throughput transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, genome-wide screens and next generation sequencing generate huge amounts of data. The aim of this research theme is to develop strategies to link diverse big datasets derived from patient healthcare data, whole genome sequencing and RNAseq data, in vitro genomic screens and data-rich experimental infection models. Projects in this theme include microbiome analyses using next generation sequencing, genome-wide RNA interference and CRISPR screens to detect host factors, and transcriptomic analyses for biomarker detection.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    72 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Dr Douglas Roy
+44 (0) 131 242 6279