Pathway information

Pathway Lead
Dr David Lewis

New for October 2017 entry

The main aim of the pathway is to introduce students to the challenges of research conducted during design and development of vaccines against human infectious diseases.

This pathway takes advantage of the established core modules of the MRes programme, however, the opportunity for students to streamline their focus within the area of Human Vaccinology is provided through specialist teaching during the pathway module and in particular within the research element (project). The project will provide an opportunity to gain basic laboratory experience in research methods, or epidemiology / statistical techniques as applied to vaccines.

Students who complete the pathway will have a greater understanding of:

  • Different types of vaccines, antigen design, use of adjuvants and different routes and schedules of delivery.
  • Advanced vaccine immunology and mechanisms of immune protection, including Cell Mediated Immunity and serology.
  • How the different components of vaccines are put together against a “Target Product Profile” for a specific disease or population.
  • Vaccine clinical development, with examples of “difficult” vaccines and novel technological approaches.
  • Vaccine efficacy and safety evaluation, including biomarkers and surrogates, advances in “omics” and genetic approaches.
  • A basic understanding of how epidemiology guides vaccine development
  • Special issues of research in certain populations, extremes of age, and tropical areas.
  • How vaccines are deployed in populations, endemic areas, and why vaccines fail in development or post-licensure.

Employment prospects

As with other pathways of the course, we envisage a number of students continuing to PhD (especially in immunology, infectious diseases or public health). Students may also go on to a research career in biosciences linked to immunology or vaccines, obtain positions within pharma related to vaccines & immunotherapy, or Contract Research Organisation running trials, or in academic units. In addition, graduates would be suitable for commercial employees: posts within a team developing or researching vaccines or immunotherapy products.

Entry requirements

A basic understanding of human immunology at undergraduate level will be required to fully comprehend the teaching and undertake a lab-based project in this pathway. A 2:1 or higher UG Biosciences background (with preference for a degree in an infection or immunity related field), or medicine is therefore preferred, or the equivalent overseas qualification. However please note that students with a 2:2 result in a suitable topic area are also considered subject to strong application, interview and references.