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Masters Degrees (Assay Development)

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This programme is offered by the UCL Division of Medicine and the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research and is designed for the more research-oriented student, complementing Drug Design MSc. Read more
This programme is offered by the UCL Division of Medicine and the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research and is designed for the more research-oriented student, complementing Drug Design MSc. Conducting cutting-edge research within the drug industries and UCL's academic group, it offers opportunities for networking and future career development.

Degree information

This programme teaches students the latest methodologies and approaches and covers all aspects of drug design: drug discovery, computational and structural biology, screening, assay development, medicinal chemistry, and most importantly the industrial practices involved in modern drug design technology.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation/report (105 credits).

Optional modules - students will select three from the following Drug Design MSc modules:
-Bioinformatics and Structural Biology as applied to Drug Design
-Biological Molecules as Therapeutics
-Biophysical Screening Methods, X-ray Crystallography, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
-Cheminformatics and Modelling for Drug Design
-Fragment-based Drug Design
-Target Selection – Commercial and Intellectual Property Aspects
-Target Selection – Scientific Grounds

Core modules - plus two taught transferable skills modules delivered by CALT (UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching):
-Investigating Research
-Researcher Professional Development

Dissertation/report
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 to 20,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem classes, critical journal clubs and a research project. Assessment is through coursework, practicals, laboratory work, examination, dissertation and oral presentation.

Careers

We expect students graduating from this programme to take leading roles in drug discovery and development worldwide or to undertake further PhD level research. The first cohort of students on the Drug Design MRes graduating in 2015 have found jobs in the pharmaceutical industry as well as PhD studentships in leading universities.

Employability
The advanced knowledge and skill set acquired by taking this programme will enable students to find employment in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in a global market.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The division hosts research groups in the areas of medicine, pharmaceutical research, cell cycle, neurobiology, mitochondrial function, stem cells and cancer. Underpinning the translational aspects of the biomedical research, we have a medicinal chemistry group which conducts research where chemistry and biology intersect, using the latest techniques and developing new ones for the study of biological systems.

The division collaborates extensively within industry and academia to develop biological tools and therapeutic agents. There are plenty of opportunities to conduct translational research that has an impact on drug discovery.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies, well established in the West, have been transferring their research and development to the East. Given these substantial developments, particularly in China and India, the programme will have a broad international appeal.

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Overview. The MRes courses are designed to provide students with intensive laboratory-based training in research methods, supported by in-depth understanding. Read more
Overview
The MRes courses are designed to provide students with intensive laboratory-based training in research methods, supported by in-depth understanding. The aim is to prepare graduates to make contributions, as individuals and members of a team, to research-oriented activities in the biomedical industries and related service sectors, or academia. The courses are also well-suited to students wishing to upgrade a first degree, change field, or gain valuable laboratory experience before employment or a PhD. The Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences represents the largest Pharmacy research group in the UK, with 55% of its staff rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour (data: Research Assessment Exercise 2008). The University of Strathclyde has invested £30M in a world-class, pioneering centre for biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences teaching and research, opened Aug 2010. Students will find themselves in stimulating, unique environment on account of the strongly multidisciplinary nature of the Institute. Combining fundamental and applied research across the areas of bioscience and pharmacy, SIPBS builds on its record of success in drug and vaccine discovery and development. The Institute engages with industry and the health services, ensuring that its excellent fundamental research is translated into products that are of benefit to health and society. For more information on SIPBS go to http://www.strath.ac.uk/sipbs

Course outline

An MRes degree is focussed on research and students will spend 8 months undertaking a laboratory-based project.
To support their chosen research project, students choose advanced-level taught courses in a named specialisation, from the following areas:

Taught classes delivered through lectures, workshops and practical classes in four areas:
1. Transferable skills training in data mining, interpretation and presentation; experimental planning, personal effectiveness, ethics in research
2. Commercialisation and entrepreneurship
3. MRes-specific classes relevant to subject area

Biomedical Sciences

Example research projects:
1. Antileishmanial activity of extracts and compounds from Monodora myristica
2. Imaging and modelling of cancer development
3. Endothelial progenitor cell expression and differentiation
4. Targeted radiotherapy for cancer
5. The involvement of pulmonary veins in atrial fibrillation: electrical properties
6. Reducing bacterial resistance to antibiotics
7. Development of neural stem cells with increased levels of the autophagy cell survival pathway
8. Investigating the role of Sigma 54 in Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence
9. Transcriptional network analysis of the Escherichia coli core stress response.
10. Identification of novel anti-microbial compounds targeted at biofilm formation

Drug Delivery systems

Example research projects
1. Nanoparticulate formulations of insulin and their analysis
2. Mesoporous silicas for oral delivery of cyclosporine
3. Bioprocessing of biopharmaceuticals
4. Modified and time-delayed oral solid-dose release formulations
5. Nasal formulations of poorly soluble compounds
6. Reducing bacterial resistance to antibiotics: establishing, optimising and implementing a high throughput assay to discover natural product derived inhibitors of metallo beta-lactamase.
7. Imaging of dermal formulations using Raman microscopy techniques
8. Antileishmanial activity of extracts and compounds from Monodora myristica
9. Anti-trypanosomal active triterpenoids from some African Propolis
10. Investigation into the potential therapeutic properties of marine organisms
11. Photo-triggered adhesion of mammalian cells

Drug Discovery

Projects in the areas of :
1. Drug Delivery
2. Molecular Biology
3. Pharmacology
4. Pharmaceutical Materials and Formulation
5. Toxicology

Neuroscience

Projects in the areas of:
1. Electrophysiology
2. Stem cell biology for regenerative purposes
3. Cell biology
4. Inflammation
5. In vitro culture systems
6. Functional genetics

How to Apply
Applicants should apply through the University of Strathclyde on-line application form: http://pgr.strath.ac.uk indicating "Masters by Research", and named specialisation as appropriate. Applicants are not required to submit a detailed research proposal at this stage.

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The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires close collaboration between research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to deliver a high quality service to patients. Read more
The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires close collaboration between research scientists, clinical laboratory scientists and clinicians to deliver a high quality service to patients. The Medical Genetics MSc covers the delivery of a modern clinical genetics service, including risk analysis and application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in medical genetics research and in diagnostics and population screening.

Why this programme

-This is a fully up-to-date Medical Genetics degree delivered by dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.
-The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
-The Medical Genetics MSc Teaching Staff have won the 2014 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering). These awards recognise and reward excellence and good practice in postgraduate education.
-The close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures that the Medical Genetics MSc provides a completely up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics and visit the diagnostic laboratories at the new Southern General Hospital laboratory medicine building.
-The Medical Genetics degree explores the effects of mutations and variants as well as the current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
-New developments in medical genetics are incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published, and you will gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
-You will develop your skills in problem solving, experimental design, evaluation and interpretation of experimental data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
-This MSc programme will lay the academic foundations on which some students may build in pursuing research at PhD level in genetics or related areas of biomedical science.
-The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
-For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.
-The Medical Council of Hong Kong recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics from University of Glasgow in it's list of Quotable Qualifications.

Programme structure

-Genetic Disease: from the Laboratory to the Clinic
-Case Investigations in Medical Genetics and Genomics
-Clinical Genomics - Students will take this course OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences OR Frontiers in Cancer Science.
-Omic technologies for the Biomedical Sciences: from Genomics to Metabolomics - Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Frontiers in Cancer Science.
-Frontiers in Cancer Science - Students will take this course OR Clinical Genomics OR Omic Technologies for Biomedical Sciences.
-Disease Screening in Populations
-SNP Assay Design and Validation
-Medical Genetics and Genomics Dissertation

Teaching and Learning Methods
A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures, tutorials and laboratories. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in research, diagnostics or clinical genetics. These skills include team-working, data interpretation and experimental design. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource, although textbooks such as our own Essential Medical Genetics will also be useful. You will have the options of: attending genetic counselling clinics and gaining hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.

There are weekly optional supplementary tutorials on topics that are selected by students

Electronic Resources
-Access to a continually updated Moodle (virtual learning environment) with extensive additional teaching and self-assessment materials.
-An online web-portal with regularly updated direct links to >70 worldwide genetic databases & online algorithms (plus the latest new genetics discoveries), all easily accessible and grouped into useful categories.

Career prospects

Research: About half of our graduates enter a research career and most of these graduates undertake and complete PhDs; the MSc in Medical Genetics and Genomics facilitates acquisition of skills relevant to a career in research in many different bio-molecular disciplines.

Diagnostics: Some of our graduates enter careers with clinical genetic diagnostic services, particularly in molecular genetics and cytogenetics.

Clinical genetics: Those of our graduates with a prior medical / nursing training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists or genetic counsellors.

Other: Although the focus of teaching is on using the available technologies for the purpose of genetic diagnostics, many of these technologies are used in diverse areas of biomedical science research and in forensic DNA analysis. Some of our numerous graduates, who are now employed in many countries around the world, have entered careers in industry, scientific publishing, education and medicine.

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