A PhD degree involves specialist study, postgraduate training and original and independent research on a specific topic under the supervision of academic members of staff in the school. Additional supervisors consisting of at least one other experienced member of staff (up to a maximum of three staff members) will also be carried out in the school or in collaboration with industrial partners, other university departments in Nottingham or other universities and private or publicly funded research institutes. In some cases students will spend time at international academic establishments or research institutes. Students undertaking the three year PhD complete a structured training programme in the first year of study. Progression through the period of study is closely monitored through regular meetings with the students' supervisory committee and by reviews with an international progress committee in years one and two.
Research in infection and immunity is wide ranging and involves bacterial pathogens, including Salmonella (Barrow, Jones, Foster, Tötemeyer), Campylobacter (Jones, Barrow) and Lawsonia (McOrist), viruses including Equine Herpes Virus (Kydd, Hannant) and Equine Arteritis Virus (Hannant), and Sarcocystis and Besnoitia parasites (El-Sheikha). Hosts studied range from pigs and poultry, through mice, to horses and dogs.
Particular emphasis is placed on interactions between pathogen and host and how this can be exploited via stimulation of either the adaptive or innate immune response. The new technologies of genome sequencing and post-genomic gene expression analysis, including microarrays, are exploited as are novel approaches to infection control.
The school plays an important part in the collaborative BBSRC / SEERAD-funded programme "The Immunological Toolbox", which is developing reagents and assays that are making significant contributions to research progress in many areas of veterinary immunology, both nationally and internationally.