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Exploring relationships between Wild house mouse ecology and immunology

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Understanding the causes of variability in the immune systems response underpins our knowledge of disease susceptibility, control of infectious diseases and ultimately, healthy aging. Remarkably the main contributors to this variability are poorly defined, however the drivers behind the variation in the expression of immune traits are likely to be a combination of both heritable and non-heritable factors. In a lab setting, understanding how these factors interact can be challenging, therefore studies on immune variation in a wild environment are essential in addressing fundamental questions relating to healthy aging.

An exciting opportunity has arisen for post graduate research project(s) to work alongside an ongoing, longitudinal study on a wild house mouse population on the Isle of May, Scotland. First recorded in 1885, the Isle of May mice have been the focus of several population ecologists and geneticists (Berry et. al 1990, Triggs 1991, Taylor et. al 2019). The lack of terrestrial predators and isolated nature of the island provide optimal conditions for capture mark recapture (CMR) experiments. The current project includes both field and lab based research on uniquely identifiable mice, that allows the long term mapping of immune variation within and between individual animals.

The study system allows unique research opportunities for self-funded PhD or MRes students to explore a wide range of topics such as diet, parasitology, immunology, movement ecology and genetics. There are learning opportunities for small mammal trapping, Laboratory work, parasite identification and data analysis.

If you are interested in discussing project options or would like further information, please contact Professor Jan Bradley or Dr.Andrew Wolfenden

The University of Nottingham is one of the world’s most respected research-intensive universities, ranked 8th in the UK for research power (REF 2014). Students studying in the School of Life Sciences will have the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant, multidisciplinary environment, with expert supervision from leaders in their field, state-of-the-art facilities and strong links with industry. Students are closely monitored in terms of their personal and professional progression throughout their study period and are assigned academic mentors in addition to their supervisory team. The School provides structured training as a fundamental part of postgraduate personal development and our training programme enables students to develop skills across the four domains of the Vitae Researcher Development Framework (RDF). During their studies, students will also have the opportunity to attend and present at conferences around the world. The School puts strong emphasis on the promotion of postgraduate research with a 2-day annual PhD research symposium attended by all students, plus academic staff and invited speakers.

Funding Notes

Self-funded. Home applicants should contact the supervisor to determine the current funding status for this project. EU applicants should visit the Graduate School webpages View Website for information on specific EU scholarships. International applicants should visit our International Research Scholarships page View Website for information regarding fees and funding at the University.


Berry, R.J., Triggs, G.S., Bauchau, V., Jones, C.S. and Scriven, P., 1990. Gene flow and hybridization following introduction of Mus domesticus into an established population. Biological journal of the Linnean Society, 41(1-3), pp.279-283

Triggs, G.S., 1991. The population ecology of house mice (Mus domesticus) on the Isle of May, Scotland. Journal of Zoology, 225(3), pp.449-468.

Taylor, C.H., Young, S., Fenn, J., Lamb, A.L., Lowe, A.E., Poulin, B., MacColl, A.D. and Bradley, J.E., 2019. Immune state is associated with natural dietary variation in wild mice Mus musculus domesticus. Functional Ecology.

How good is research at University of Nottingham in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 90.86

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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