Skip to content

Four weeks, full time

Application Deadline

21 June 2021


St George's, University of London

UK, EU and non-EU

(International) citizens may apply

Start dates

12 July 2021

The Frontiers in Human Health Summer School will provide you with an understanding of some of the world's major health challenges and the research approaches used to address them in fields including global health, infection and immunity, genomic medicine, translational medicine and population health.

With a strong emphasis on research-informed teaching, this summer school will provide you with an opportunity to gain insight into multiple aspects of the research experience by learning face-to-face and first-hand from researchers and undertaking their own short, structured laboratory research project.

Programme highlights

Open all Close all

Face-to-face learning in a unique teaching hospital campus

With a strong emphasis on research-informed teaching, this programme is intended to provide you with opportunities to gain insight into multiple aspects of the research experience. By learning face-to-face and first-hand from our researchers you will hear from specialists in the field and have the opportunity to complete your own short structured research project.


Being the UK's only university to share its campus with a major teaching hospital means you will be learning in a unique environment.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to experience face-to-face education at one of the oldest medical schools in the country alongside one of the UK's busiest hospitals, whilst staying in one of the most socially and culturally diverse cities in the world.

Living in London

As part of the programme you will have the opportunity to take part in social activities, such as afternoon tea and trips to attractions across London.

See the full social schedule.

Fees and funding

  • Tuition fee: £2500.

Current St George’s students will receive 10% off the tuition fee cost whenever they apply.

Accommodation fees are not included in the tuition price. Please view our accommodation information page for more information about Horton Halls, St George’s halls of residence.

Scholarship opportunities

This year St George’s is offering scholarships to two outstanding summer school applicants. Each scholarship covers the full value of the course tuition fee. The scholarships will be awarded to one UK-domiciled applicant and one non-UK domiciled applicant who best fulfill the eligibility requirements.

Scholarship candidates will be shortlisted based on their supplied CV, academic reference and scholarship statement. Interviews will be conducted after the scholarship deadline.

  • Scholarship application deadline: 30 April 2021

  • Early bird discount deadline: 30 April 2021

  • Final application deadline: 21 June 2021

See the full social schedule and accommodation information.

If you have any questions about the summer school, get in touch with the course team at

“One of the best experiences I have had academically. It was challenging and enjoyable at the same time. I felt supported all the way through.”

- 2018 Summer School student

“The teaching and lectures were of a very high quality. The lecturers were very passionate about their subject areas. It was a unique and amazing experience to learn and study at St George’s.”

- 2019 Summer School student

“I enjoyed the lab work and the process of doing the experiment, presenting and writing a report. I also enjoyed the variety of lectures presented. The summer school broadened my perspective on how varied the field of human health and disease is.”

- 2018 Summer School student

Our four-week summer school programme offers you the opportunity to explore in-depth global health topics and conduct your own research while based here in London.

The school will run from 12 July until 6 August 2021.

The summer school is a University Level 6 module worth 15 credits (3–4 US credits or 7.5 ECTS credits). It will help you understand some of the world’s major health challenges and how we can use research to improve diagnosis and treatment.

It is also possible to study as a non-credit bearing course (please indicate this on the application form).

Download the full summer school programme handbook (PDF)

View all Close all

Course content

  • Introduction to anatomy and dissection.

  • Global health challenges.

  • Immunology and infections (eg Covid-19, tuberculosis, malaria, HIV).

  • Non-communicable diseases (eg cardiovascular, cancer).

  • Antimicrobial resistance.

  • Public Health.

  • The application of ‘big data’ in research.

  • ‘Omic’ technologies and their application.

  • The relevance of public engagement with research.

  • Visits to St George’s facilities including research labs, dissection room, Pathology Museum, archive and image resource facilities.

  • Careers development advice sessions.

Mini-research projects

You will have the opportunity to carry out a mini-research project with a St George’s researcher during the last two weeks of the Summer School. This experience will give you a flavour of some current research at St George’s while gaining experience in some molecular and cell biology techniques.

Dr Ferran Valderrama (Reader in Cancer Cell Biology) and Dr José Ignacio Saldaña (Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences) will offer projects on prostate cancer cell biology and regulation of lung immunity and inflammation respectively. You will have the chance to choose on which one you want to work.

Mini-research projects will be assessed via the written poster and oral presentation.

Mini-Research Project 1: Regulation of lung immunity and inflammation; the role of alveolar macrophages

Respiratory diseases, both acute (e.g. infections), or chronic (e.g. asthma and COPD) produce a significant burden on public health systems. Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that alter the balance between health and the pathology underlying these conditions is key to identify targets for therapy. 

Within our lungs, we have alveolar macrophages; a group of highly specialised immune cells that stand as guardians of the delicate alveolar-blood interface. They are able to initiate protective immune responses against pathogens, whilst playing a very important role in resolving inflammation. 

Access to healthy human alveolar macrophages for experimental studies is challenging both technically and ethically, therefore, to overcome this problem, in this project you will characterise an in vitro model of alveolar macrophage function that is close to physiology. We will then use this model to answer important questions about the ability of these cells to perform essential functions such phagocytosis and cytokine production. 

This project will provide you with expertise in some of the pre-clinical laboratory techniques commonly employed in the field of immunology and inflammation such as cell culture, flow cytometry and immunoassays.  

Mini-Research Project 2: Prostate Cancer

Three-dimensional (3D) culture methods, such as spheroids and organoids, allow cells to organize into structures that resemble the in vivo architecture. They have emerged as tractable cell-based methods that represent a physiologically relevant model for studying cellular features in a biologically relevant context.

Spheroids are 3D cultures derived from immortalized cell lines and a reliable cellular model able to mimic with certain degree the prostate tumour microenvironment. In recent years, the Valderrama and Cieza-Borrella research team has established a robust and reliable 3D morphogenesis assay that provides insights into prostate acinar organization in normal and pathological scenarios.

Students will participate in the characterization of our 3D spheroids at the structural and molecular level by identifying specific cellular markers (cell-cell contact proteins - E-cadherin, ZO-1 – and cytoskeletal markers - actin) in order to elucidate the organisation and polarity of the organoids-forming cells at consecutive time-points/days. In a second stage, we will analyze luminal-specific (androgen receptor, cytokeratin 8, cytokeratin 18) and basal-specific markers (cytokeratin 5) in order to confirm the presence of both lineages in the established cultures.

This project involves the application of a wide range of laboratory techniques including 3D cell culture procedures, immunofluorescence assays and high-end microscopy imaging. Students will be working under the supervision of Dr Ferran Valderrama and Dr Clara Cieza-Borrella, both principal investigators of the Prostate Cancer Research Group (Centre for Biomedical Education, St. George’s, University of London).

Course delivery

  • Direct face-to-face contact via lectures and seminars (25 hours), and interactive workshops and tutorials (20 hours).

  • Short structured research project with supporting tutorials (20 hours).

  • Self-directed study and analysis (50 hours).

  • Preparation for examination, and preparation of structured research project presentation and write-up (150 hours).

At-a-glance indicative timetable

The schedule shown gives a flavour of the Summer School daily structure. 

Over the first 2 weeks taught sessions will generally be scheduled in the mornings from 10 am, with interactive group sessions, visits and activities in the afternoons, and “Keynote” talks and social activities in the evenings.

The laboratory mini-research project is the focus of the third week, continuing into the final week, which also includes the poster presentation sessions and written examination.

Details of academic sessions and social activities will be confirmed before the start of the Summer School and may be subject to change.

Download the indicative timetable (PDF).

Starting off

Sunday 11 July – St George’s orientation trail

If you have arrived ahead of the start of the programme, join us for an orientation journey around Tooting and learn about the history of St. George’s University and Hospital.

We will be meeting outside the Marks and Spencer shop outside the main entrance to St George’s Hospital – Grosvenor Wing (see Campus Maps at the end of the Handbook).

Monday 12 July – Induction Day

The induction day will start at 9.30 and will include:


Before you arrive, you will receive an email giving directions and information about what to expect on your first day. We will organise your registration on the programme and production of Identity/Access cards. In this guide we have included maps of the university and teaching rooms. Please use these maps to help direct you to your teaching rooms.

Welcome and Introduction to the Frontiers in Human Health Programme

In these sessions we will introduce you to St. George’s University and the programme, as well as demonstrating how you can use Canvas – our online virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to meet some of the members of the Frontiers in Human Health course team.


Food and drinks will be provided as you get to know your fellow students.

Health and Safety

This talk will cover the fundamental aspects of our health and safety regulations. This session will cover risk assessment, the need for supervision in labs, the importance of students reporting any concerns and fire awareness.

Campus Tour

Staff will show you around the St. George’s University and Hospital site including important features such as our library, coffee shops and restaurants as well as the location of teaching rooms.

Welcome from the Principal

St. George’s Principal, Professor Jenny Higham will extend a warm personal welcome and stay on to meet you at the social event that follows. 

Welcome Social Event

Join us in our Student’s Union bar for drinks, refreshments and an opportunity to chat to some of the programme team.

“"I would recommend this to a friend if they are not sure about what they want to do after an undergraduate or master's degree. This course is very good because it covers a wide range of topics and also includes a mini research project".”

- Emily Hill , Summer School student 2019

Follow in the footsteps of our alumni

Henry Gray

Learn anatomy at the home of Henry Gray who studied at here in 1827 and wrote the esteemed medical textbook Grays Anatomy, now in its 41st edition.

Edward Jenner

See the hide of Blossom the Cow, St George’s alumnus Edward Jenner’s test subject for his smallpox vaccine, on display in our Library.

Patrick Steptoe

Discover the work of Patrick Steptoe, a student here in 1930, who pioneered in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

Hannah Valentine

After graduating from St George’s in 1973, Professor Valentine joined the National Institute for Health in Washington DC as its first Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity.

For award of academic credit, achievement of module outcomes will be assessed by two summative assessments: 1) a two-hour written examination and 2) a visual poster with an accompanying short oral presentation. 

An aggregate mark of 40% across the two assessments will result in award of 15 academic credits. 

Written examination

You will undertake an invigilated two-hour online examination in which you will answer a single question that will have been presented to you during their first week of the Summer School. The question, which will be formulated around the theme of Frontiers in Human Health, will require you to write an article for informed non-specialists (e.g. Scientific American), drawing on insights gained during the course, complemented by your own critical analysis, reflections and speculations.

Poster and oral presentation

You will design and produce a scientific poster describing the background, rationale, methods and findings of your mini-research project, critically analysing the results and discussing their limitations, wider implications and next steps. You will give an oral presentation on your poster to peers and an expert panel of assessors. The oral presentation will be a maximum of 7 minutes followed by 3 minutes for questions and answers.

Assignments weighting

Assessment title

Percentage of final grade



Research project report

  • Written Poster
  • Poster oral presentation




A student reading a book in the library.

Our social programme allows students to get to know their peers and academics, in the heart of London. The variety of events is catered to all budgets and allows students to experience the best cultural experience. Social activities will be confirmed before the start of the summer school and may be subject to change.

Social schedule

View all Close all

Week 1

  • Sunday 11 July 2pm: St George's Path - Orientation Trail

  • Monday 12 July 4pm: Welcome Social

  • Thursday 15 July 7pm: Sample a curry in Tooting (cost: approx. £15 for starter and main course)  

  • Friday 16 July 5pm: Up the Shard (cost: free, drinks and food extra). Walk around Borough Market, sample a drink at the Shard and finish with a walk around London Bridge City with views of HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge

  • Saturday 17 July 10am: Day at Greenwich and boat trip in the Thames (cost: approx. £15, drinks and food extra). Visit the famous Cutty Sark, go to the Maritime Museum, do not miss Greenwich Market, picture yourself at the Prime Meridian and enjoy a boat trip in the Thames while learning a bit of London’s history.

Week 2

  • Sunday 18 July 10am: Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Bath with London Hop-on-Hop-off Tour (cost: approx. £112, drinks and food extra).

  • Thursday 22 July 7pm: Jack the Ripper Walk (cost: £10).

  • Saturday 24 July 11am: Reach for the sky! (cost: free, drinks and food extra). Visit a gothic old church and shop at One New Change including a Roof Terrace overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral.

  • Saturday 24 July 3pm: Quintessentially British Afternoon Tea (cost: approx. £39).

Week 3

  • Sunday 25 July 10am: Buckingham Palace and picnic at Hyde park. Watch the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony, enjoy London green areas and have a picnic at Hyde Park (weather dependent) (cost: free, drinks and food extra).

  • Tuesday 27 July 9:30am: English brunch with the Course Team

  • Date TBC: Wellcome Collection (cost: free, drinks and food extra).

  • Sunday 1 August 10am: Fancy a swim? Tooting Lido and pub lunch (weather dependent) (cost: £5.40 + approx. £20 for lunch)

  • Date TBC 6pm: Old operating Theatre museum

  • Friday 6 August 12pm: Farewell social

“I attended most of the social events and all of them were brilliant. I enjoyed visiting the Wellcome Collection and the afternoon tea.”

- 2018 Summer School student

Studying in London

If you want to take in a West End show, sample international cuisine, dance all night or just enjoy a quiet drink with friends, then London has all of this and more.

Our south west London location in Tooting offers you the best of both worlds – it is small enough to maintain a friendly, local atmosphere, but it is close enough to all the attractions of central London.

Tooting has excellent public transport links, with two underground (tube) stations and one train station, as well as multiple bus routes. This includes two buses that run throughout the night, offering direct access to and from central London.

St George’s is five minutes from Tooting Broadway tube station, and central London and all its attractions are just 25 minutes away.

Local London: all about Tooting

Tooting is a bustling area to live and study in. Famous for its budget-priced South Asian restaurants, independent pubs and bars and huge open-air swimming pool, it has excellent transport links into central London but is also next door to the leafy, lush commons of Wimbledon.

View all Close all

Tooting facts

  • Brad Pitt counts as one of its visitors and filmed sequences from the film “Snatch” in Tooting.

  • The current London Mayor – Sadiq Khan was born at St George’s Hospital and went on to become MP for Tooting.

  • There are more than 15 places of worship in Tooting, servicing four major religions.

  • Jimi Hendrix, The Police, The Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis have all performed at Tooting Granada (now Gala Bingo).

  • Merton Abbey Mills, a short bus ride away, is host to Abbeyfest, a summer festival of theatre, music and comedy.

  • Tooting has existed as a settlement since pre-Saxon times, and its unusual name means ‘the dwelling of the sons of ‘Totas’.

Students walking around Tooting.

For the duration of the summer school you can choose to live in Horton Halls, our halls of residence, which is a 15-minute walk from the University campus. Each bedroom has an en suite bathroom, and you will have shared use of a kitchen and common room.

  • Standard room (single): £172 per week.

  • Premium room (double): £182 per week.

We offer a 10% discount to St George’s alumni and groups of four or more students from the same institution.

Accommodation costs are in addition to the tuition fee, and you have the option of sourcing alternative accommodation elsewhere. You will also need to consider additional costs for living expenses and optional social activities.

Explore Horton Halls.

“Horton Halls was an amazing experience to share with schoolmates. Very safe and clean. ”

- 2018 Summer School student

Apply now

To apply to the 2021 Frontiers in Human Health Summer School:

  1. Download, save and complete the PDF application form

  2. Send your completed application form to no later than 21 June 2021.

View all Close all

Visa information

If you reside outside the UK, you may need a Standard visitor visa to enter the UK and take part in the summer school . Please refer to our Standard visitor visa page for more information, including how and when to apply.  If you have any questions about applying for a standard visitor visa, please contact the International Advising Team

Please note that it is the responsibility of each student to secure an appropriate visa, travel to the UK and meet any quarantine requirements prior to the start of the Summer School on 12 July 2021.

St George’s, University of London is unable to reimburse students for any expenses incurred if they are unable to arrive on time for the start of the Summer School.


The programme is open to undergraduate students and recent graduates of a biology-related degree. Students are expected to have passed at least one degree-level biology module, and international students are required to have an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in writing).

Students without an IELTS score of 6.5 are welcome to attend the Summers School and are able to take part in the examination, however they will not receive the module credits.

Information for international students

If you are travelling from abroad, please check both the advice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the advice of your own government before making any arrangements to travel.  You cannot currently enter the UK if you’ve been in or through a country on the banned travel list (sometimes known as the ‘red list’) in the last 10 days, unless you’re British, Irish or you have the right to live in the UK. 

More information about entering the UK  including what to do before you travel and quarantining when you arrive, can be found on the GOV.UK website.

If you have any visa or immigration related questions, please do not hesitate to contact the International Advising Team at

Apply now


Four weeks, full time

Application Deadline

21 June 2021

Find a profileSearch by A-Z