Research Opportunities

Background Header
Prospective Students

The goal of the NIH Oxford-Cambridge (OxCam) Scholars Program is to create, foster, and advance unique and collaborative research opportunities between NIH laboratories and laboratories at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. Each OxCam Scholar develops a collaborative research project that will constitute his/her doctoral training. Each Scholar also select two mentors – one at the NIH and one in the UK – who work together to guide the Scholar throughout the research endeavor.

Students may select from two categories of projects: Self-designed or Prearranged. OxCam Scholars may create a self-designed project, which enables students to develop a collaborative project tailored to his/her specific scientific interests by selecting one NIH mentor and one UK mentor with expertise in the desired research area(s). Alternatively, students may select a prearranged project provided by NIH and/or UK Investigator(s) willing to mentor an OxCam Scholar in their lab.

Self-designed Projects: Students may create a novel (or de novo) project based on their unique research interests. Students have the freedom to contact any PI at NIH or at Oxford or Cambridge to build a collaboration from scratch. The NIH Intramural Research Program (IRP) represents a community of approximately 1,200 tenured and tenure-track investigators providing a wealth of opportunity to explore a wide variety of research interests. Students may visit https://irp.nih.gov to identify NIH PIs performing research in the area of interest. For additional tips on choosing a mentor, please visit our Training Plan.

Prearranged Projects: Investigators at NIH or at Oxford or Cambridge have voluntarily offered collaborative project ideas for NIH OxCam Scholars. These projects are provided below and categorized by research area, NIH Institute/Center, and University. In some cases, a full collaboration with two mentors is already in place. In other instances, only one PI is identified, which allows the student to select a second mentor to complete the collaboration. Please note that prearranged project offerings are continuously updated throughout the year and are subject to change.

1 Search Results


Understanding HIV transmission using epidemiological data and mathematical modeling

Project Listed Date:
Institute or Center:
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
NIH Mentor:

Dr. Thomas Quinn

Project Details:

In this project you will use state-of-the-art viral sequencing data, combined with epidemiological data and mathematical modeling, to create an integrated understanding of HIV transmission. HIV places an enormous burden on global health. Implementing treatment and interventions can save millions of lives, but to do this effectively requires us to be able to predict the outcome of interventions, and to be able to accurately assess how well they are working once implemented. For HIV, these efforts are hampered by long durations of infections, and rapid within-host viral evolution during infection, meaning the virus an individual is infected with is unlikely to be the same as any viruses they go on to transmit.
For this project, you will identify individuals enrolled in the Rakai Community Cohort Project, based in Uganda, who are part of possible transmission chains, and for whom multiple blood samples are available throughout infection and at the time of transmission. These samples will be sequenced using state-of-the-art technology developed at the University of Oxford enabling the sequencing of thousands of whole virus genomes per sample, without the need to break the viral genomes into short fragments (whole-haplotype deep sequencing). Using this data, you will comprehensively characterize viral diversity during infection and at the point of transmission.

Key questions you will tackle are:
- Do ‘founder-like’ viruses (similar to those that initiated infection) persist during chronic infection?
- Is there a consistent pattern of evolution towards population consensus virus?
- Are ‘founder-like’ viruses, or ‘consensus-like’ viruses more likely to be transmitted?
- Does the transmission of drug-resistant virus depend on the history of the transmitting partner?

*This project is available for the 2021 Oxford-NIH Pilot Programme*

Back to Top