Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology (PhD)

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.

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

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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)

Funding Sources

All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2018 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $18,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $18,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.

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$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
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

 20172016201520142013
Applications2923181218
Offers361046
New registrations36735
Total enrolment6467646369

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 14 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 4.49 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.58 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: 9 March 2018]. 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: 29 September 2017].

Upcoming Doctoral Exams

Thursday, 26 April 2018 - 12:30pm - Room 203

Sarah Christine Mansour
A Novel Peptide-based Treatment for Bacterial Abscess Infections

Friday, 11 May 2018 - 9:00am - Room 200

Natalie Claire Marshall
A Mitochondrial Terminomics Technique to Study Human Cell Death During Bacterial Infection

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 )
  • Av-Gay, Yossef (Infectious Diseases, Microbiology, Drug discovery, Macrophage biology)
  • Beatty, John (Bacteria, Molecular Genetics, Regulation, Molecular Structure and Sizing, Gene transfer mediated by virus-like particles, Light-driven reactions in photosynthesis proteins, Applications of photosynthesis proteins to solar energy)
  • Brown, Kelly (Diseases of the Immune System, Immune Mediators: Cytokines and Chemokines, Cell Signaling and Infectious and Immune Diseases, childhood rheumatic diseases, phagocytes)
  • Crowe, Sean (Geobiology, biogeochemistry, microbial evolution)
  • Eltis, Lindsay (Microbiology, Enzymes and Proteins, Metabolism (Living Organisms), Bacterial catabolism of steroids and lignin, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, biocatalyst development)
  • 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 (Carcinogenesis, Leukemia, Cellular Differentiation, Bioinformatics, Genomics, Molecular Genetics, Epigenomics)
  • Horwitz, Marc (Mechanisms of viral-induced immune disease in a variety of complex chronic disorders)
  • Jean, Francois (Viral Infections, Virus, Virus (Living Organisms), Antivirals, Cell Therapy of Infectious and Immune Diseases, Bioactive Molecules, Infectious Diseases, Molecular virology, Host-virus interactions, Cellular proprotein convertases, Emerging human viruses, Mosquito-borne viruses, Dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, Influenza A virus, Antiviral agents, Natural products as antiviral agents, Broad-based antiviral therapeutics, Lipid-modulating drugs, Human microRNAs, Therapeutic microRNA, Viral and cellular biomarkers, Molecular diagnostics for detecting viral infection, Circulating exosomes, Exosomal microRNAs)
  • Jefferies, Wilfred Arthur (Iron transport molecules)
  • Johnson, Pauline (Diseases of the Immune System, Immunology, Inflammation, Immune-cancer interactions, Innate immunity, Macrophages and myeloid cells)
  • Kronstad, James (Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Genomics and Proteomics, Pathogenesis of infectious diseases, Medical Mycology, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Fungal diseases of plants)
  • 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 Environment, Microbial Diversity, Marine Microbiology, Environmental Virology, Biological Oceanography, Viral Discovery, Viruses, Phage)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Kelli Christine Wuerth
    "Dr. Wuerth examined the use of small proteins, called peptides, as alternatives to antibiotics for the treatment of bacterial infections. Her research showed encouraging results for using a peptide to prevent or treat lung infections caused by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Sally Shang Ming Lee-Sayer
    "Dr. Lee-Sayer studied how interaction with the environment influences the function of blood cells. Specifically, she investigated the ability to interact with hyaluronan. This work has highlighted the importance of hyaluronan in regulating the development and function of blood cells." (November 2017)
  • 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)

Sample Thesis Submissions

 

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May 2018 Intake

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

September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
30 September 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 March 2018
International Applicant Deadline
15 February 2018

January 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
30 January 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 August 2018
International Applicant Deadline
15 August 2018

May 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
30 May 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2018
International Applicant Deadline
15 November 2018

Program Information

Application Enquiries

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