Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Part-funded MD - Professor Sam McConkey - radiology and immunology study

An MD candidate is sought for a joint radiological and immunology study, to optimise the efficacy and safety of the administration of vaccines in adults

Project title

A radiological and immunology study to optimise the efficacy and safety of the administration of vaccines in adults

Project description

Vaccinations remain an integral part of public health programmes, providing essential protection among populations for diseases such as seasonal influenza. Provision of immunity of these vaccines may be influenced by recipient-specific factors such as pre-existing immunity, age, sex, body mass index and the route or site of administration. Insufficient needle length and injection depth may result in an inadvertent subcutaneous injection, increasing the incidence of local reactions and can reduce the rate of immunity. 

The aim is to optimise the administration of vaccines by establishing an evidence base for appropriate needle depths to maximise the cost-effectiveness of intramuscular injections. This will optimise immunogenicity, resulting in a reduction of illness, lost days at work and hospitalisation. An ultrasound study will be carried out in order to establish a comprehensive database combining ultrasound measurements and other parameters for males and females aged 18 to 65 years old with appropriate representation across all ranges of body mass index (BMI). Using this data appropriate needle depths will be derived for the administration of optimal intramuscular injections in the deltoid region. The research will then lead to a definitive intervention study to ensure optimisation of vaccination programmes.  

The individual must have clinical experience at least to the level of SHO. For further programme details, please see here and for general information please contact Dr Alice McGarvey email:

  • Department: International Health & Tropical Medicine
  • Researcher profile
  • Tenure: Two years
  • Benefits: Student fees plus consumables will be paid

Application process

Please apply with an up-to-date CV, a 500-word statement outlining your interest in and suitability for the position, and contact details of two referees to

  • Application deadline: Rolling deadline until 5pm on Friday 16 March 2018
  • Start date: July 2018

Mentors Prof. Sam McConkey