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Masters Degrees (Enzyme)

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Biochemical Engineering concerns the use of biological organisms or processes by manufacturing industries. Read more
Biochemical Engineering concerns the use of biological organisms or processes by manufacturing industries. It is a multidisciplinary subject, requiring the integration of engineering and bioscience knowledge to design and implement processes used to manufacture a wide range of products; from novel therapeutics such as monoclonal antibodies for treating cancer, vaccines and hormones, to new environmentally-friendly biofuels. It is also essential in many other fields, such as the safe manufacture of food and drink and the removal of toxic compounds from the environment..

This course will provide you with the skills you need to start an exciting career in the bioprocess industries, or continue research in the area of bioprocessing or industrial biotechnology.

Industry involvement

As this is a highly industrially-led subject area, we have secured guest lectures from Cobra Biologics (contract manufacturing), Biocats Ltd (Enzyme manufacture) and the Centre for Process Innovation Ltd (biological process development) and are currently seeking additional industrial lectures.

Academics working at Birmingham have strong links with industry, through collaborative projects, so allow students to make contact with companies. Graduates from the MSc programme have gone on to careers in biochemical engineering world-wide, in large and small companies working in diverse areas.

There are also guest lectures from academics working at other institutions.

Practical experience

You will gain practical experience of working with industrially applicable systems, from fermentation at laboratory scale to 100 litre pilot scale, in the Biochemical Engineering laboratories. Theory learned in lectures will be applied in practical terms. In addition, theoretical aspects will be applied in design case studies in a number of modules, including the Design Project.

All MSc students complete a summer research project, working on a piece of individual, novel research within one of the research groups in the school. These projects provide an ideal experience of life as a researcher, from design of experimental work, practical generation of data, analysis and communication of findings. Many students find this experience very useful in choosing the next steps in their career.

Special Features

The lecture courses are supplemented with tutorials, seminars and experimental work. Industrial visits and talks by speakers from industrial and service organisations are also included in the course programme.

Pilot Plant

The Biochemical Engineering building houses a pilot plant with large-scale fermentation and downstream processing equipment. The newly-refurbished facility includes state-of-the-art computer-controlled bioreactors, downstream processing equipment and analytical instruments.

Course structure

The MSc is a 12-month full-time advanced course, comprising lectures, laboratory work, short experimental projects and a research project. You will take an introductory module, four core modules, and then choose 50 credits of optional themed modules. The course can also be taken on a part-time basis. The Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) lasts for 8 months from the end of September until June.

For the first eight months you have lectures, tutorials and laboratory work. Core module topics include:

Fermentation and cell culture
Bioseparations
Process monitoring and control
Systems and synthetic biology approaches
Optional module include:

Biopharmaceutical development and manufacture
Food processing
Business skills for the process industries
The programme is strongly design-orientatedand you complete a full process plant design exercise. You also have practical experience of working in the newly-refurbished pilot plant of the Biochemical Engineering building.

From June to September you gain research training on your own project attached to one of the teams working in the bioprocessing research section.

About the School of Chemical Engineering

Birmingham has one of the largest concentrations of Chemical Engineering expertise in the UK, with an excellent reputation in learning, teaching and research.
Investment totalling over £3.5 million in our buildings has resulted in some of the best teaching, computing and laboratory facilities anywhere in the UK.
We have achieved an excellent performance in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) – the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. 87% of the research in the School was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent. It was ranked joint fourth overall in the UK for its research prowess and first nationally for research impact.
The enthusiasm that the academic staff have for their research comes through in their teaching and ensures that they and you are at the cutting edge of chemical engineering.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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Do you want to focus your scientific career on one of the fastest moving sectors of science? The UK has hundreds of biotech companies and is a leader in innovating specialist products from living organisms. Read more
Do you want to focus your scientific career on one of the fastest moving sectors of science? The UK has hundreds of biotech companies and is a leader in innovating specialist products from living organisms. Biotech applications are enhancing food production, treating medical conditions, and having a significant impact on the global future.

Given the common expectation for job candidates to have some form of postgraduate qualification, this Masters course offers a route to careers in biotechnology as well as the broader life sciences industry. If your first degree included the study of genetics and molecular biology, and a research module, you’re well-placed to join us.

This course can also be started in January (full time 21 months) - for more information please view this web-page: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/study-at-northumbria/courses/biotechnology-dtfbty6/

Learn From The Best

The quality of teaching in life sciences at Northumbria has been recognised by strong performance in student-led awards, Further evidence of academic excellence is the number of invitations to members of our team to join the editorial boards of scientific journals.

Our teaching team maintains close links with biotech companies and research labs, including via on-going roles as consultants, which helps ensure an up-to-date understanding of the latest technical and commercial developments. Several academics are involved in biotech ventures that make use of the University’s facilities: Nzomics Biocatalysis develops enzyme alternatives to chemical processes, and Nu-omics offers DNA sequencing services.

Teaching And Assessment

We aim for interactive teaching sessions and you will engage in discussions, problem-solving exercises and other activities. Teaching can start in the lab or classroom and then you make the material your own by exploring and applying it. Technology Enhanced Learning makes this easier; each module has an electronic blackboard site with relevant information including electronic reading lists and access to websites, videos and other study materials that are available anytime, anywhere.

You will undertake assignments within small groups and we provide training in communication skills relevant for scientific communication. The course aims to foster your ability to work at a professional standard both individually and as part of a team.

Module Overview
AP0700 - Graduate Science Research Methods (Core, 20 Credits)
AP0701 - Molecular Biology (Core, 20 Credits)
AP0702 - Bioinformatics (Core, 20 Credits)
AP0703 - Subject Exploration (Core, 20 Credits)
AP0704 - Industrial Biotechnology (Core, 20 Credits)
AP0705 - Current Topics in Biotechnology (Core, 20 Credits)
AP0708 - Applied Sciences Research Project (Core, 60 Credits)

Learning Environment

The technical facilities at Northumbria University are excellent. We are fully equipped for molecular biology manipulations and imaging – techniques include RT-PCR to show whether or not a specific gene is being expressed in a given sample. We also have pilot scale bioreactors so that we can scale up experiments and processes.

For cell biology and immunology, we have two multi-user laboratories. Technologies include assays for measuring immune responses at the single-cell level, and for monitoring the functioning of cells in real time. Further capabilities include biomarker analysis, flow cytometry, chemical imaging and fluorescence microscopy. For genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, our capabilities include genomic sequencing, mass spectrometry, 2D protein electrophoresis and nanoflow liquid chromatography.

All our equipment is supported up by highly skilled technical staff who will help you make the best use of all the facilities that are available.

Research-Rich Learning

In fast-moving fields like biotechnology, it’s particularly important for teaching to take account of the latest research. Many of our staff are conducting research in areas such as molecular biology, bio-informatics, gene expression and micro-biology of extreme environments. They bring all this experience and expertise into their teaching.

As a student, you will be heavily engaged in analysing recent insights from the scientific literature. You will undertake a major individual project in molecular and cellular science that will encompass all aspects of a scientific study. These include evaluation of relevant literature, design and set-up of experiments, collection and processing of data, analysis of results, preparation of a report and presentation of findings in a seminar.

Give Your Career An Edge

Many recruiters in the biotech industry expect candidates to have studied at postgraduate level so our Masters qualification will help you get through the door of the interview room. Once there, your major project and other assignments will help ensure there is plenty to catch their attention. Employers are looking for the ability to solve problems, think critically, work with others and function independently – which are exactly the attributes that our course develops to a higher level.

During your time at Northumbria, we encourage you to participate in the activities organised by the Career Development Service. We also encourage you to apply for associate membership of the Royal Society of Biology, with full membership becoming possible once you have at least three years’ postgraduate experience in study or work.

Your Future

The biotech industry has made huge progress in the last few decades and the years ahead promise to be even more transformational. With an MSc Biotechnology, you will be ready to contribute to the changes ahead through a rigorous scientific approach and your grasp of the fundamental knowledge, insights and skills that underlie modern biotechnology.

Scientific research is at the heart of the course and you will strengthen pivotal skills that will enhance your employability in any research-rich environment. By developing the practices, standards and principles relevant to becoming a bioscience professional, you will also prepare yourself for success in other sectors of the life sciences industry and beyond.

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The need to develop new strategies to combat diseases remains a major global challenge. This degree aims to enhance your employability and prepare you to tackle this challenge. Read more

The need to develop new strategies to combat diseases remains a major global challenge. This degree aims to enhance your employability and prepare you to tackle this challenge.

We’ll give you advanced training in the mechanisms underpinning a spectrum of infectious and non-infectious diseases, including viral, bacterial and parasitic infections, cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease and chromosomal abnormalities. You’ll also explore current and emerging diagnostic and treatment strategies.

You’ll learn about the latest molecular, genetic and cellular approaches being used to understand, diagnose and treat human disease, including traditional methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and novel methods involving genome and proteome analysis.

You’ll also have the opportunity to investigate the role of the immune system in the response to infection and disease, covering topics such as innate and adaptive immunity, allergy and immune evasion.

If you choose to study at Leeds, you’ll join a faculty ranked 6th in the UK for its research impact in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), and you’ll graduate with the solid base of scientific knowledge and specialist skills highly valued by employers.

Course content

On this course you’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular sciences. You’ll investigate five topic areas: molecular biology, structural biology, cell imaging and flow cytometry, high throughput techniques and transgenic organisms.

You’ll also apply your knowledge to an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based project, involving practical training in a range of modern molecular biology and protein engineering techniques such as gene cloning, PCR, mutagenesis, protein expression, protein purification and analysis.

To help you to develop and specialise, you’ll get substantial subject-specific training through an independent research project in an area of infection, immunity or human disease.

You’ll also take specialist taught modules covering topics such as infectious and non-infectious disease, advanced immunology, medical diagnostics and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.

If you have previous experience of immunology, you could opt to investigate the structure, regulation and development of the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, or explore aspects of human toxicology. These could include the actions of toxicants on the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems, kidneys, liver and lungs, genetic toxicology and chemical carcinogenesis, and the effects of chemicals on fetal development.

In the final part of the course you'll work on an independent laboratory-based research project related to your course options. You’ll receive extensive training in experimental design, the practical use of advanced techniques and technologies, data analysis and interpretation, and will be assigned a research project supervisor who will support and guide you through your project.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Compulsory modules

  • Advanced Immunology 10 credits
  • Infectious & Non-infectious Diseases 10 credits
  • Practical Bioinformatics 10 credits
  • Medical Diagnostics 10 credits
  • MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal 5 credits
  • Treatment of Infectious Disease and Cancer 10 credits
  • Research Planning and Scientific Communication 10 credits
  • Advanced Biomolecular Technologies 20 credits
  • Protein Engineering Laboratory Project 15 credits
  • Bioscience MSc Research Project 80 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Infection, Immunity and Human Disease MSc in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

You’ll have access to the very best learning resources and academic support during your studies. We’ve been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2017), demonstrating our commitment to delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students.

Your learning will be heavily influenced by the University’s world-class research as well as our strong links with highly qualified professionals from industry, non-governmental organisations and charities.

You’ll experience a wide range of teaching methods including formal lectures, interactive workshops, problem-solving, practical classes and demonstrations.

Through your research project and specialist modules, you’ll receive substantial subject-specific training. Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop you into a scientist who is able to think independently, solve problems, communicate effectively and demonstrate a high level of practical ability.

Assessment

We use a variety of assessment methods: multiple-choice testing, practical work, data handling and problem solving exercises, group work, discussion groups (face-to-face and online), computer-based simulation, essays, posters and oral presentations.

Career opportunities

The strong research element of the Infection, Immunity and Human Disease MSc, along with the specialist and generic skills you develop, mean you’ll graduate equipped for a wide range of careers.

Our graduates work in a diverse range of areas, ranging from bioscience-related research through to scientific publication, teacher training, health and safety and pharmaceutical market research.

Links with industry

We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advise us on what they look for in graduates and on employability-related skills within our programmes.

We collaborate with a wide range of organisations in the public and commercial sectors. Many of these are represented on our Industrial Advisory Board. They include:

  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Ernst and Young
  • The Food and Environment Research Agency
  • The Health Protection Agency
  • MedImmune
  • Thermofisher Scientific
  • Hays Life Sciences
  • European Bioinformatics Institute
  • Smaller University spin-out companies, such as Lumora

Industrial research placements

Some of our partners offer MSc research projects in their organisations, allowing students to develop their commercial awareness and build their network of contacts.

Professional and career development

We take personal and career development very seriously. We have a proactive Industrial Advisory Board who advises us on what they look for in graduates and on employability related skills within our courses.

Our dedicated Employability and Professional Development Officer ensures that you are aware of events and opportunities to increase your employability. In addition, our Masters Career Development Programme will support you to:

  • explore career options and career planning
  • understand the PhD application process and optimise PhD application
  • learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media for effective networking and career opportunities
  • practice interviews for both job and PhD applications.


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Tralee is currently seeking to recruit a high calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master of Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Read more

Tralee is currently seeking to recruit a high calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master of Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Graduates holding a relevant Level 8 Honours Degree (second class honours or higher) are invited to submit an application. The successful applicants will be awarded a stipend of €700 per month for a maximum period of 18 months and the Institute will waive full fees for this funding period. Postgraduate students are expected to complete their studies full-time at the Institute.

Biography of Principle Supervisor

Dr Oscar Goñi received his Degree in Chemistry from the University of Navarra (Spain), an MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) and completed his PhD in Plant Protein Biochemistry at ICTAN-CSIC (Spain) and Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). Dr Goñi has previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research (Cologne). He is a protein biochemist with experience in the purification and characterization of functional proteins, enzymology and development of protein biomarkers. Dr. Goñi currently holds the position of Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC / Brandon Bioscience and specialises in the development of enzyme activities for the production of macro-algae derived oligosaccharides and chitin/chitosan derived oligosaccharides for crop protection and yield enhancement. 

Research Project Abstract

The United Nations’ and Agriculture Organization predicts that by 2050 the world will need to produce 70 percent more food than it does currently. Along with improving food storage and transport, increasing crop yields is seen as a primary solution. Salinity is one the major environmental stresses affecting crop production, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas. Most of the vegetable crops are salt sensitive, growing poorly in salinized soils due to the accumulation of toxic ions from prolonged irrigation regimes. A meaningful approach to increase crop yield and counteract salt stress would be the use of protein hydrolysate-based biostimulants, which are gaining interest worldwide. Nowadays, more than 90% of the protein hydrolysates market in agriculture is based on products obtained through chemical hydrolysis of proteins from animal origin. The production and use of new vegetable derived-protein hydrolysates with high plant biostimulant activity has become the focus of much research interest due to their lack of plant phytotoxicity, absence of degraded or biologically inactive amino acids or compatibility in the production of food for vegetarians. The commercial partner, Deltagen UK, aims to commercialise protein hydrolysate biostimulants with superior salinity inducing tolerance. The aim of this research is the development of an innovative system to produce protein hydrolysates from the defatted by product meals of flax, lentil and sesame seeds with the ability to biostimulate plant tolerance to salt stress. Novel protein hydrolysates will be produced using a cocktail of suitable proteases, they will be applied to tomato plants (cv. Micro-Tom) in a controlled growth room under salt stress conditions. Treatments will be assessed by comparing classic phenotypical parameters. Plant tissue will also be saved in order to assess other biochemical and molecular parameters such as stress related proteins and osmoprotectant metabolites.

Research Context (Technical Merit & Impact)

The beginning of 21st century is marked by global scarcity of water resources, environmental pollution and increased salinization of soil and water. An increasing human population and reduction in land available for cultivation are two threats for agricultural sustainability. It has been estimated that worldwide 20% of total cultivated and 33% of irrigated agricultural lands are afflicted by high salinity. It has been projected that more than 50% of the arable land would be salinized by the year 2050. Use of optimized farm management practices such as shifting crop rotation or better irrigation systems can ameliorate yield reduction under salinity stress. However, its implementation is often limited because of cost and availability of good water quality. Several salt-tolerant varieties have been released, the overall progress of traditional breeding has been slow and has not been successful, as only few major determinant genetic traits of salt tolerance have been identified. The utilisation of agro-food processing wastes to generate value added products is an extremely convincing argument as it makes commercial and environmental sense. In addition, it is an excellent, demonstrable example of the European circular economy in action, a key objective of the H2020 research programme, turning waste into value and ultimately food for a growing population.

Research Methodology

Three process variables will be studied in order to obtain the maximum degradation of seed proteins: incubation time, temperature and the initial concentration of meal protein. The Response Surface Methodology (RSM) will be used to reduce the cost and duration of experiments and allow for the observation of any interacting factors in the final process response. Amino acid and monosaccharide composition will be determined by sensitive high performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) according previous bibliography. Molecular weight distribution of protein hydrolysates will be characterized by protein electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and high performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC). The plant trials will involve 2 separate sets of experiments under unstressed and salt-stressed conditions respectively. Experiments will be carried out in a growth room with different concentration rates of different protein hydrolysates and the tomato variety Micro-Tom will be used. This extensive factorial experiment will be assessed by fruit yield, fruit quality, chlorophyll (SPAD measurement), MDH content (cell membrane integrity) and levels of protective compounds (proline and soluble carbohydrates). The presence of stress proteins such as HSPs will be determined using immunoblotting techniques (Western blot). RT-qPCR is another advanced laboratory technique that will be emp



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