PhD Studentship in Veterinary Microbiology : United Kingdom

A fully funded PhD opportunity has become available in the Veterinary School at the University of Surrey.

Classical swine fever (CSF) is a contagious viral disease, outbreaks of which have severe socioeconomic and animal welfare impacts for the global pig industry. There is a very effective vaccine available, which contributes greatly to disease control worldwide, although there are drawbacks to its use in disease free regions. To develop better vaccines against CSF, and also other porcine diseases, this project aims to understand how this very effective vaccine works. This will involve the characterisation of the porcine host’s immune response to the vaccine and comparison to immune responses induced upon infection with pathogenic CSFV strains.

The project will combine the use of an established animal model together with ex vivo and in vitro techniques to study virus and vaccine interactions with tonsillar cell populations. To achieve the aims, the student will employ methods of cell culture, microscopy (including confocal), multi-parameter flow cytometry (including cell sorting), RT-PCR/qRT-PCR and transcriptomic analysis. The project builds on work published (Franzoni et al., Clin Vaccine Immunol. 20: 1604, 2013; Edwards et al., Sci Rep 7, 40942, 2017) and under review (Soldevilla et al., 2018).

The project will be carried out in collaboration with the APHA  and the successful candidate will be mainly working at their Weybridge labs.


Essential requirements:

• A BSc (Hons) degree in a relevant biological subject
• Strong interest or connection to Virology
• Team working
• Good oral and written communication skills
• Dedication and passion in advancing science in the area of host-pathogen interaction and evolution
• Ability to work in containment

Desirable requirements:

• A Master degree (or equivalent training) in Virology/Microbiology or Immunology



The project will be under the supervision of Prof. Falko Steinbach (University of Surrey) and Dr. Helen Crooke (Animal and Plant Health Agency-Weybridge)


For any application queries please contact: Dr Helen Crooke,, 01932 357 331.

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