Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Life Sciences
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Microbiology and Immunology
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Science
 

Overview

The Microbiology and Immunology programme involves immune cells, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Students can investigate the ecology, evolution and environments of micro-organisms, the diseases they cause, the microbiome and its influence on the immune system and our health, immunity and disease. We are seeking solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance; designing new, combination drug therapies; using microbial engineering in industrial processing and environmental remediation; determining how our immune system can best protect us against infection and cancer; using this information to design new immunotherapies and treatments for inflammation and auto-immune diseases. Our projects span population and systems biology and ecology, organism behavior and function, cell interactions and molecular mechanisms, and our students graduate with extensive training in analytical thinking, creative innovation and effective communication. Degrees in our programme accelerate students in a great variety of careers in industry, academia, non-for-profit organisations and the business world.

What makes the program unique?

Microbiology has been an integral part of UBC since the university's inception in 1915. Our program is a strong and collaborative community of microbiologists, immunologists, biochemists and cell biologists, based at UBC and affiliated hospitals. We promote fundamental and translational research and we enjoy strong connections to clinical colleagues across Canada. Many of our students are located in the Life Sciences Institute, a world-class collection of scientists with facilities including advanced flow cytometry, microscopy and imaging, together with the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research, the Advanced Structural Biology for Re-emerging Infectious Diseases group, and the Genome Sciences Centre. We work closely with the Centres for Drug Research and Development and for High-Throughput Biology, emphasising commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

 

Requirements

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

100
25
25
25
25

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5

GRE required?

Required by some applicants (check program website)

Career Outcomes

75 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 7 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 66 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (10)
McGill University (4)
Dalhousie University (2)
McMaster University (2)
University of Newcastle
Universite de Montreal
University of Alberta
Kyushu University
University of South Florida
Langara College
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
Zymeworks Inc. (3)
STEMCELL Technologies (3)
BC Cancer Agency (2)
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Anadiomena's Designs
Ontario Institute for Cancer Research
ME Therapeutics Inc.
Bio-Rad Laboratories
Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping
BC Cancer Research Centre
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Scientist (4)
Research Scientist (4)
Staff Scientist (2)
Senior Scientist (2)
Vice President
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Program Manager, Informatics and Bio-computing
Business Development Specialist
Policy Analyst
Owner and President
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

A PhD in M&I prepares students for demanding high profile scientific positions in academia, biotechnology, government and charitable organisations, and entrepreneurial start-up companies. Our PhD graduates who plan an academic career proceed to postdoctoral positions across the globe and become professors at universities, research institutes and teaching hospitals. PhD graduates interested in scientific management and policy work within Government agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Revenue Agency and the National Research Council of Canada. Many graduates employ their specialization in professional careers such as Law and Medicine while a large percentage are senior scientists in Biotechnology companies around the world such as Novartis, Genentech, Pfizer, BioRad and Tekmira.  

Alumni on Success

Olga Pena

Job Title
Research Scientist and Manager
Employer
UBC

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,600.60$2,811.98
Tuition per year$4,801.80$8,435.94
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$923.38 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

  2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Applications 23 18 12 18 7
Offers 6 10 4 6 2
New registrations 6 7 3 5 2
Total enrolment 67 64 63 69 65

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 11 graduations between 2012 - 2015 the minimum time to completion is 4.49 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.59 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.

Disclaimer

Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 12 July 2017]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 8 April 2016].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Abraham, Ninan (Mammals, pathogens, genetic analysis, proper cell funtion, development, maintenance and proper functioning of T- and B-cells )
  • Beatty, John (How different strains and growth conditions can affect color (pigmentation) of bacteria)
  • Crowe, Sean (Geobiology, biogeochemistry, microbial evolution)
  • Eltis, Lindsay (Bacterial catabolism, pollutant degradation, steroid degradation, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, biocatalysts, Microbial enzymes and pathways involved in the degradation of natural and man-made compounds)
  • Fernandez, Rachel (Bordetella pertusis, whooping cough, lipopolysaccharide)
  • Finlay, B Brett (Infectious agents, bacteria, microbial infections and how humans react to it)
  • Gaynor, Erin (Molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, foodborne human pathogen, Campylobacter jejuni)
  • Gold, Michael (understanding cell signaling, morphology, trafficking, and effector function of immune cells and tumour cells)
  • Hallam, Steven (methanogenesis, methane oxidation, methyl coenzyme M reductase, metagenomics, environmental microbiology, genomics, proteomics, microbial ecology, systems biology, archaea, energy, bioinformatics, Microbial communities, construction and interpretation of environmental genomic libraries, generation of computational tools and workflows for taxonomic and functional binning, population genome assembly, and comparative community analysis, development and functional screens to interrogate environmental genomic libraries for bioactive small molecules and biocatalysis)
  • Hancock, Robert E (Cationic Antimicrobial Peptides, Host Defence Peptides and Innate Immunity, Functional Genomics of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Regulation of Antibiotic Resistance, Array Data, Self-promoted uptake hypothesis)
  • Haney, Cara (genetic and metabolic factors that regulate assembly of host-associated microbial communities ()
  • Harder, Kenneth (Host-pathogen, tumours, infection, immunity, atherosclerosis, role of macrophages in inflammation)
  • Hirst, Martin (role of epigenetic dysfunction in cancer initiation and progression and to translate this knowledge into improved health outcomes for Canadians.)
  • Horwitz, Marc (Mechanisms of viral-induced immune disease in a variety of complex chronic disorders)
  • Jean, Francois (Molecular virology, host-virus interactions, emerging and re-emerging human viruses, antiviral agents, viral molecular diagnostics, viral and cellular biomarkers, influenza A virus, hepatitis C virus, dengue virus, Viral diseases, broad-based antiviral therapeutics, protein-based inhibitors, host-cell proteases, marine natural products, microRNAs)
  • Jefferies, Wilfred Arthur (Iron transport molecules)
  • Johnson, Pauline (Immunology, Inflammation, Immune-cancer interactions, Innate immunity, Macrophages and myeloid cells)
  • Kronstad, James (Fungi, pathogens, genomics, molecular genetics, Fungal biology)
  • Mohn, William (pollutant biodegradation, pollutant bioremediation, biological treatment of forest industry effluents and wastes, microbial ecology, environmental biotechnology, forest soil microbial ecology, tuberculosis, microbial genomics, Microbial ecology)
  • Murphy, Michael (crystallography, iron metabolism, protein structure, Systems used by bacterial pathogens to overcome iron restriction and cause disease)
  • Osborne, Lisa (influence that the bacteria that live on and in our intestines, lungs and skin have on human health; understanding how the host recognizes the diverse species that reside in the gut - from microscopic viruses to large, multicellular helminthic worms - and tailors an immune response of the appropriate scope and magnitude necessary to achieve homeostasis)
  • Smit, John Kenneth (Aquatic bacteria, Caulobacters, biofilms, biotechnology)
  • Suttle, Curtis (marine microbiology, Arctic microbiology, , Biological Oceanography, Marine Microbiology, Environmental Virology, bacteriophage, bacteria, viruses, artic microbiology, environmental microbiology)
  • Thompson, Charles (Regulation of bacterial gene expression)

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Iryna Saranchova
    "Dr. Saranchova studied the gene expression changes in tumours during the transition of primary tumour to its deadly metastatic form. She proposed a novel immunotherapeutic approach for cancer treatment and discovered the first independent immune biomarker for human prostate cancer that can become an important tool for predicting cancer outcomes." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Anastasia Hyrina
    "Dr. Hyrina investigated the role of key regulators of host lipid metabolism, including microRNAs and proprotein convertases during hepatitis C and dengue virus infections. These studies provide new insights into the complex host-virus interactions, which may be utilized as targets for antiviral development as well as biomarkers of infection." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Eric Michael Brown
    "Dr. Brown discovered how malnutrition can affect gut microbes, metabolites and the immune system in the intestine. He used this information to develop the first animal model of an inflammatory disease called environmental enteropathy, which will be used to screen new therapies for reversing malnutrition." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Aria Stefanee Hahn
    "Dr. Hahn's dissertation builds on our current understanding of the complex microbial communities driving nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, and presents new methods with which to analyze microbial sequence data. Ultimately, this work can help facilitate the design of microbial communities with properties beneficial to humans and the planet." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Leah Stiemsma
    "Dr. Stiemsma studied the intestinal microbiome and identified specific bacteria associated with the development of asthma in children. Her work suggests the microbiome as both an early life marker of asthma and a potential preventive treatment against this disease." (May 2017)

Sample Thesis Submissions

 

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January 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
30 January 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 August 2017
International Applicant Deadline
30 August 2017

May 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
30 May 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2017
International Applicant Deadline
30 October 2017

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