Following completion of the Human Genome Project, the pharmaceutical industry is preparing for a revolution in cancer and inherited disorder therapies. This course is training a new generation of bioscientists to meet challenges at the interface between biology and chemistry, and to apply pharmaceutical and analytical knowledge directly to improve quality of life.
The course develops a broad knowledge and conceptual base in the field of drug design and discovery, with an emphasis on new developments and advances in drug identification, understanding drug pharmacology and novel therapeutics, and appreciating how these topics interact with bioscience businesses and enterprise.
This programme is designed to enable you to gain systematic knowledge and critical awareness of current problems and new insights regarding the analysis of biomolecules. There is particular reference to drug design and discovery, along with a comprehensive and critical understanding of applied techniques and their current application in research in the field of biomolecule analysis and drug design.
This course is aimed at students who wish to acquire the specialised skills needed to design drugs for the 21st century. It is ideal for anyone with primarily either a chemistry or biochemistry based undergraduate degree wishing to broaden their knowledge base. The part-time route is well suited to those who already work in industry as it is possible to carry out research projects within the place of work. Prospective students must be committed to developing their skills and knowledge for a career in the pharmaceutical or biotechnology sectors.
Teaching is through:
There are eight taught 15 credit modules each of which have only one assessment (100%). Each exam is 2 hours.
Although particularly relevant to those looking for a career in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, this course will also equip you for a career in research, teaching and many other professions including cosmetic science, animal health, food science, medical laboratory research, patent law, scientific journalism and health and safety.
Research projects may be carried out at other institutions (recently Universities in Bremen or France and the Paterson Institute, UK). We also invite visiting lecturers to share their expertise on the subject areas.
After completion of this course you may wish to specialise in a chosen subject area in one of the School’s two main research centres: Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre (EER) or Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).
Chemical biology is the application of chemical tools and ideas to biological and medical problems. This programme is designed to build on an existing knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity to give you a thorough grounding in contemporary chemical biology and drug discovery as well as introducing you to topics from the research frontier.
You’ll be taught by experts from across the Astbury Centre in chemical biology, biophysics and medicinal chemistry using a "problem-based" approach. Visiting lecturers from the pharmaceutical industry will share their expertise in industrially-relevant applications of chemical biology and drug design with you.
Bridging the gap between your undergraduate degree in a core subject, and interdisciplinary research in chemical biology, you’ll develop the skills to solve real-life research problems, benefitting from a multi-million pound investment in fantastic research facilities. Rather than focusing on a single discipline, you’ll learn to use either chemical or biological approaches to tackle the problem in hand.
Royal Society of Chemistry Accreditation
The University of Leeds launched the first taught MSc degree in Chemical Biology in the UK. The course was one of the first two MSc courses in the UK to receive accreditation from the Royal Society of Chemistry; graduates from the programme with an appropriate first degree in chemistry satisfy the academic requirements for the award of Chartered Chemist (CChem) status.
In the first half of the year you’ll cover a core range of modules designed to build on an existing knowledge of chemical structure and reactivity to give you a thorough understanding of chemical biology and the techniques required for drug design. In the second half of the year you’ll spend the majority of your time working on an interdisciplinary research project which will allow you to work with and gain advice from two supervisors with complementary expertise.
This project will contribute 50% of the mark for your degree. The School will help you to select the project that is right for you, in an area that interests and motivates you. The project will provide you with key research experience to take your career forward. With the core modules behind you, you’ll be ideally positioned to choose an exciting problem to investigate.
The breadth of expertise available at Leeds means that you will be able to combine a wide range of techniques from computational ligand design to synthesis, protein engineering and laser spectroscopy. These techniques might span one of more of the following general areas;
You’ll receive training in the generic skills that are required for the module, including scientific writing and giving oral presentations. You’ll select your project at the start of the second semester,undertaking a programme of directed reading before writing an initial report. You’ll then spend over four months in your supervisors' research laboratories working alongside PhD students and experienced postdoctoral researchers. During the research project, you’ll have access to the outstanding research facilities in chemical biology that are available in Leeds.
You will be taught by experts across the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, meaning you’ll learn from both chemists and biologists to gain the skills and knowledge to work in a multidisciplinary environment. You’ll be taught through a series of lectures, small group workshops and practical lab sessions. You will also get involved in student led activities such as literature presentations.
The wide range of continual assessment formats will allow you to improve your generic skills, and to hone your ability to solve problems. As part of the continual assessment of modules, you will give a wide range of oral presentations; prepare short articles, essays and research reports; perform computational exercises; and undertake group-based problem solving activities. Your research project will be assessed through your practical work and a written research report.
On graduation, you’ll be ideally placed to undertake interdisciplinary research in academia and the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry. You’ll also be in a strong position to pursue a science-related career, such as patent work, scientific publishing or scientific administration.
In addition, this course will leave you well-placed to forge a career at companies working at the interface between chemistry and biology. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries are increasingly seeking researchers with a strong interdisciplinary background.
Many of our graduates have secured positions on Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry PhD programmes in the UK and internationally. The Astbury Centre hosts a wide range of PhD programmes incorporating Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, offering many opportunities for students graduating from the MSc course. The MSc provides tailored training at the interface between chemistry and the biological sciences, and will enhance your prospects of securing a place on one of these highly competitive postgraduate programmes.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.