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We have 13 Microbiology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in Oxford

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Biological Sciences

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Oxford  United Kingdom

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Microbiology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in Oxford

We have 13 Microbiology PhD Projects, Programmes & Scholarships in Oxford

A PhD in Microbiology would give you the opportunity to conduct an extended piece of research into microscopic organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Most Microbiology projects are laboratory-based and cover a wide range of areas from developing novel therapeutics or innovating point of care tests for diagnosis to understanding the life cycle of a certain fungal species.

What’s it like to do a PhD in Microbiology?

Studying a PhD in Microbiology, you’ll develop a range of specialist laboratory skills particularly in microscopy, aseptic technique, and cell staining. You’ll also become proficient in techniques such as pouring agar plates and have a strong understanding of health and safety that is essential when working with Bunsen burners, which are commonly used in Microbiology. When out of the laboratory, you’ll read the literature surrounding your research topic to identify gaps in the knowledge and discover new methods.

Some typical research topics in Microbiology include:

  • Development of novel antibiotics
  • Studying bacteriophages and their potential use as therapeutics
  • Characterising the microbiome
  • Development of point of care tests for infection diagnosis
  • Investigating fungi life cycle and metabolite production
  • Studying a particular virus

The vast majority of Microbiology projects are advertised with the main aims and general span of the project determined by the supervisor in advance. Many of these have full funding attached, though some may request you find your own funding. Self-funding can be challenging due to the cost of bench fees as well as traditional PhD fees.

Proposing your own research project is rare in Microbiology, partly due to the challenge of self-funding, partly because you must find a supervisor with interests that overlap with your project and who has adequate equipment for practical work.

On a general workday, you’ll be performing experiments in the laboratory, planning out your upcoming work, writing up results and chatting to your supervisor and colleagues about your work. At the end of your PhD, you’ll submit a thesis of around 60,000 words and defend it during your viva exam.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for most Microbiology PhD programmes involve a Masters in a subject directly related to Biology, with some experience in microbiology, at Merit or Distinction level. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need to show that you have the right level of language proficiency.

PhD in Microbiology funding options

The research council responsible for funding Microbiology PhDs in the UK is the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). They provide fully-funded studentships including a stipend for living costs, a consumables budget for bench fees and a tuition fee waiver. Students don’t apply directly to the BBSRC, you apply for advertised projects with this funding attached.

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Assessing risks of resistance to novel antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance will be one of the greatest challenges that humanity will face in the 21st century. Resistant infections currently cause >1 million deaths per year, and may become the leading cause of mortality by the mid 21st century. Read more

Bacterial Population Biology and Public Health

The group studies the population biology and evolution of bacterial pathogens, with the objective of translating the insights obtained into benefits for human health. Read more

The evolutionary landscape of antibiotic resistance

Antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria has emerged as a fundamental threat to human health, prosperity, and food security. The overarching goal of research in the MacLean lab is to understand the evolutionary processes that drive the rise and fall of resistance in pathogen populations. Read more

Paleovirology, and the evolutionary biology of virus/host interactions

Animal genomes are littered with the remnants of ancient viral infections. Approximately 5% of the human genome is made up of endogenous retroviruses, a substantially larger proportion than is occupied by protein coding genes. Read more

Understanding the evolution of multidrug resistance in pathogenic bacteria

Bacterial pathogens including Campylobacter, E. coli and Staphylococcus pose a major threat to human and animal welfare. However, it is extremely difficult to eradicate them because they are highly diverse components of the commensal microbiota, with only certain stains causing disease. Read more

Impact of environmental change on the dynamics of freshwater zooplankton and their parasites

Zooplankton are arguably the most important trophic group in lake ecosystems. Their grazing controls algal populations, including harmful or nuisance blooms and they themselves provide food for higher trophic levels such as larger invertebrates and fish. Read more

Predicting chemical impacts on environmental microbiomes using species sensitivity distributions

The environmental microbiome, a complex consortium of microorganisms including bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, underpins the stability and functionality of diverse ecosystems, facilitating critical processes such as nutrient cycling, organic matter decomposition, and plant growth promotion. Read more

Carbon cycling in freshwater lakes; identifying the who, what, where and when.

Algal blooms in freshwaters are happening with increasing frequency due to climate change and input of nutrients. Lake ecosystems may be severely impacted by blooms, particularly the microbial food web. Read more

Sustainable Approaches to Biomedical Science: Responsible and Reproducible Research (EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training)

We welcome applications from graduates who wish to make an impact in the field of computational biomedical research. Our students gain the broad skillset needed to confront current and future biomedical research challenges. Read more

INEOS Oxbridge Doctoral Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance

The INEOS Oxbridge Doctoral Initiative is a programme from the Ineos Oxford Institute for Antimicrobial Research (IOI), University of Oxford and University of Cambridge to train the next generation of outstanding scientific champions to tackle the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Read more
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