The only Master’s specialisation in the Netherlands covering the function of our epigenome, a key factor in regulating gene expression and in a wide range of diseases.
Our skin cells, liver cells and blood cells all contain the same genetic information. Yet these are different types of cells, each performing their own specific tasks. How is this possible? The explanation lies in the epigenome: a heritable, cell-type specific set of chromosomal modifications, which regulates gene expression. Radboud University is specialised in studying the epigenome and is the only university in the Netherlands to offer a Master’s programme in this field of research.
The epigenome consists of small and reversible chemical modifications of the DNA or histone proteins, such as methylation, acetylation and phosphorylation. It changes the spatial structure of DNA, resulting in gene activation or repression. These processes are crucial for our health and also play a role in many diseases, like autoimmune diseases, cancer and neurological disorders. As opposed to modifications of the genome sequence itself, epigenetic modifications are reversible. You can therefore imagine the great potential of drugs that target epigenetic enzymes, so-called epi-drugs.
In this specialisation, you’ll look at a cell as one big and complex system. You’ll study epigenetic mechanisms during development and disease from different angles. This includes studying DNA and RNA by next-generation sequencing (epigenomics) and analysing proteins by mass spectrometry (proteomics). In addition, you‘ll be trained to design computational strategies that allow the integration of these multifaceted, high-throughput data sets into one system.
- Radboud University combines various state-of-the-art technologies – such as quantitative mass spectrometry and next-generation DNA sequencing – with downstream bioinformatics analyses in one department. This is unique in Europe.
- This programme allows you to work with researchers from the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life sciences (RIMLS), one of the leading multidisciplinary research institutes within this field of study worldwide.
- We have close contacts with high-profile medically oriented groups on the Radboud campus and with international institutes (EMBL, Max-Planck, Marie Curie, Cambridge, US-based labs, etc). As a Master’s student, you can choose to perform an internship in one of these related departments.
- Radboud University coordinates BLUEPRINT, a 30 million Euro European project focusing on the epigenomics of leukaemia. Master’s students have the opportunity to participate in this project.
As a Master’s student of Medical Epigenomics you’re trained in using state-of-the art technology in combination with biological software tools to study complete networks in cells in an unbiased manner. For example, you’ll know how to study the effects of drugs in the human body.
When you enter the job market, you’ll have:
- A thorough background of epigenetic mechanisms in health and disease, which is highly relevant in strongly rising field of epi-drug development
- Extensive and partly hands-on experience in state-of-the-art ‘omics’ technologies: next-generation sequencing, quantitative mass spectrometry and single cell technologies;
- Extensive expertise in designing, executing and interpreting scientific experiments in data-driven research;
- The computational skills needed to analyse large ‘omics’ datasets.
With this background, you can become a researcher at a:
- University or research institute;
- Pharmaceutical company, such as Synthon or Johnson & Johnson;
- Food company, like Danone or Unilever;
- Start-up company making use of -omics technology.
Apart from research into genomics and epigenomics, you could also work on topics such as miniaturising workflows, improving experimental devices, the interface between biology and informatics, medicine from a systems approach.
Or you can become a:
- Biological or medical consultant;
- Biology teacher;
- Policy coordinator, regarding genetic or medical issues;
- Patent attorney;
- Clinical research associate;
Each year, the Molecular Biology department (Prof. Henk Stunnenberg, Prof. Michiel Vermeulen) and the Molecular Developmental Biology department (Prof. Gert-Jan Veenstra) at the RIMLS offer between five and ten PhD positions. Of course, many graduates also apply for a PhD position at related departments in the Netherlands, or abroad.
- Systems biology
In the Medical Epigenomics specialisation you won’t zoom in on only one particular gene, protein or signalling pathway. Instead, you’ll regard the cell as one complete system. This comprehensive view allows you to, for example, model the impact of one particular epigenetic mutation on various parts and functions of the cell, or study the effects of a drug in an unbiased manner. One of the challenges of this systems biology approach is the processing and integration of large amounts of data. That’s why you’ll also be trained in computational biology. Once graduated, this will be a great advantage: you’ll be able to bridge the gap between biology, technology and informatics , and thus have a profile that is desperately needed in modern, data-driven biology.
- Multiple OMICS approaches
Studying cells in a systems biology approach means connecting processes at the level of the genome (genomics), epigenome (epigenomics), transcriptome (transcriptomics), proteome (proteomics), etc. In the Medical Epigenomics specialisation, you’ll get acquainted with all these different fields of study.
- Patient and animal samples
Numerous genetic diseases are not caused by genetic mutations, but by epigenetic mutations that influence the structure and function of chromatin. Think of:
- Autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Cancer, in the forms of leukaemia, colon cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer
- Neurological disorders, like Rett Syndrome, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis, schizophrenia and autism
We investigate these diseases on a cellular level, focusing on the epigenetic mutations and the impact on various pathways in the cell. You’ll get the chance to participate in that research, and work with embryonic stem cell, patient, Xenopus or zebra fish samples.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/medicalbiology/epigenomics
The MSc in Cancer Medicine will provide students with new knowledge of how precision medicine can improve and shape future healthcare. Students will gain hands-on experience of molecular techniques and the equipment/devices used in a modern molecular laboratory; the course will provide training in laboratory and research skills that are applicable across multiple scientific disciplines in a supportive learning environment. Students will be able to evaluate how novel therapeutic approaches can be used to stratify patients into treatment groups for better clinical management (stratified / precision medicine). They will observe the delivery of precision medicine through tours of the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre.
There are optional modules in the second semester allowing students to explore.the fundamental principles of Carcinogenesis and the translational approaches (including cutting edge technologies) which allow cancer scientists and clinicians to advance our understanding and treatment of cancers. The Precision Cancer Medicine stream provides a comprehensive overview of the current understanding of the Hallmarks of Cancer from the role of genetic/epigenetic alterations, cell cycle control and metastases/angiogenesis to the development of applications to help diagnose cancers earlier, improve treatments, rationally design clinical trials and reduce chemotherapy drug resistance.
The Radiation Oncology stream will develop skills in understanding the biological principles of radiotherapy and its clinical applications in the treatment of cancer. This will include the physical and chemical basis of radiation interactions and the biological consequences of radiation exposures. Clinical aspects of Radiation Oncology will be covered including principle of advanced radiotherapy delivery, cancer imaging techniques and biomarker discovery.
Importantly, both streams show how our improved understanding of the molecular processes driving cancer growth and spread can be ‘translated’ through research-intensive MSc projects to improve the treatment and survival of cancer patients.
The strong links between us and the biotech and biopharmaceutical sectors provides a stimulating translational environment, while also expanding your career opportunities.
WORLD CLASS FACILITIES
INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED EXPERTS
Research Translational: from Concept to Commercialisation (Full Year)
Diagnosis and Treatment (Semester 1)
Cancer Biology (Semester 1)
Students will make a selection from the following modules:
Building on the biological basis of radiotherapy, this module will develop knowledge and skills in understanding clinical radiotherapy and medical imaging. Through the delivery of a multidisciplinary taught programme, students will cover clinical tumour and normal tissue biology, radiological imaging and the design of radiotherapy treatment plans. This will develop the clinical rationale for radiotherapy in the treatment of cancer and highlight emerging treatment combinations and techniques for biomarker discovery in radiation oncology.Biology and Imaging
You will undertake a project in the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology.
This module comprises the write-up contribution to the overall research element of the programme, with the Research Project (SCM 8067). The Dissertation will represent the student’s personal studies in the literature, a description of their experimental execution of their project, data presentation, analysis and interpretation, followed by critical discussion and conclusions.
The Oncology Drug Discovery MSc course is designed to provide an insight into how existing and future drug targets are identified from biological samples isolated from the cancer clinic. This will include an industrial viewpoint into what makes an interesting target and how, through an iterative process, this target is validated. In addition, lectures will be provided to discuss how ‘hit’ compounds are identified, in both the academic and industrial setting, using compound screen assays and fragment based screening technologies. We will also provide an insight in computational methods for generating chemical ‘hits’. The module will also cover how these ‘hit’ compounds are prosecuted into tool compounds or Lead Optimisation candidates (LO), both historic and modern, that are used to further validate a potential drug target.
During this second module we will provide an insight into the challenges of moving a compound from an LO candidate to a pre-clinical candidate. How bio-marker companion tests are developed, validated and are used to underpin clinical trials. The lectures will also provide a keen insight into novel formulation strategies currently under development within Queen’s University Belfast. In addition, we will also provide an insight into the development of bio-therapeutics, such as antibodies, that are proving to be a powerful alternative to small molecule based therapeutics.
The strong links between us and the biotech and bio-pharmaceutical sectors provides a stimulating translational environment, while also expanding your career opportunities.
WORLD CLASS FACILITIES
INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED EXPERTS
Research Translational: from Concept to Commercialisation (Full Year)
Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer
Target Identification and Development in Drug Discovery
Drug optimization, drug delivery and clinical trials
The Georgina Gatenby Scholarship is recruiting a Masters by Research student to carry out research on lung cancer. The succesfull applicant will have a BSc in Biochemistry and an interest in cell biology, and will have the opportunity to develop skills in molecular cloning, protein expression, mammalian cell culture, sub-cellular fractionation and image analysis. S/he will be a capable communicator and willing to engage with funders to explain goals and progress.
The project will be co-supervised by Dr Dawn Coverley and Professor Jennifer Potts and will focus on the CIZ1B protein and its link with lung cancer. The underpinning research question concerns the effect of cancer-associated CIZ1 mis-splicing on CIZ1 function and will involve structural analysis of the nuclear matrix anchor domain. Results will be related to cellular function with focus on the emerging role of CIZ1 in maintenance of epigenetic state using the inactive X chromosome as a model.
The Cancer MSc reflects the depth and breadth of research interests, from basic science to translational medicine, within the UCL Cancer Institute. The programme, taught by research scientists and academic clinicians, provides students with an in-depth look at the biology behind the disease processes which lead to cancer.
This programme offers a foundation in understanding cancer as a disease process and its associated therapies. Students learn about the approaches taken to predict, detect, monitor and treat cancer, alongside the cutting-edge research methods and techniques used to advance our understanding of this disease and design better treatment strategies.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), four specialist modules (60 credits) and a research project (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits, full-time nine months) is offered.
A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits, full-time 12 weeks) is offered.
All MSc students undertake a laboratory project, clinical trials project or systems biology/informatics project, which culminates in a 10,000–12,000 word dissertation and an oral research presentation.
Teaching and learning
Students develop their knowledge and understanding of cancer through lectures, self-study, database mining, wet-lab based practicals, clinical trial evaluations, laboratory training, assigned reading and self-learning. Each taught module is assessed by an unseen written examination and/or coursework. The research project is assessed by the dissertation (75%) and oral presentation (25%).
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Cancer MSc
The knowledge and skills developed will be suitable for those in an industrial or healthcare setting, as well as those individuals contemplating a PhD or medical studies in cancer.
Skills include critical evaluation of scientific literature, experimental planning and design interpretation of data and results, presentation/public speaking skills, time management, working with a team, working independently and writing for various audiences.
UCL is one of Europe's largest and most productive centres of biomedical science, with an international reputation for leading basic, translational and clinical cancer research.
The UCL Cancer Institute brings together scientists from various disciplines to synergise multidisciplinary research into cancer, whose particular areas of expertise include: the biology of leukaemia, the infectious causes of cancer, the design of drugs that interact with DNA, antibody-directed therapies, the molecular pathology of cancer, signalling pathways in cancer, epigenetic changes in cancer, gene therapy, cancer stem cell biology, early phase clinical trials, and national and international clinical trials in solid tumours and blood cancers.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Cancer Institute
80% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
This vocational training programme is for recent biology, biomedical, biochemistry and medical graduates who want to develop a career in the field of clinical embryology and assisted reproductive technology (ART) and/or the associated reproductive sciences. It provides a detailed knowledge of the underpinning theory and practices and is a laboratory-based science degree not a clinically-based infertility treatment course.
The programme emphasises all aspects of practical training for clinical embryology and assisted reproduction technology. You’ll receive hands-on training from specialist practitioners in andrology, gamete handling, IVF, ICSI, embryo culture, gamete and embryo freezing, vitrification and biopsy and will interact with established, clinical embryologists and reproductive medicine specialists. You’ll also be trained in research methods.
You will be part of a world-renowned School, being taught by and working with internationally recognised scholars.
The programme has been developed by the Division of Reproduction and Early Development within the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics, in association with the clinicians and embryologists working at the Leeds Centre of Reproductive Medicine in the Leeds NHS Trust. The programme leaders have over 20 years of experience of training clinical embryologists, reproductive medicine practitioners and reproductive scientists.
You can also study this subject at Postgraduate Diploma level.
Through a series of compulsory modules you’ll learn about:
The programme also gives you valuable insights into the theory underpinning clinical treatments and the ethical and legal controversies surrounding assisted reproduction in humans.
The programme is delivered using a blended learning approach, which combines lectures, seminars, tutorials, interactive group discussions, presentations and problem-based-learning sessions or case studies, with self-directed learning.
Theoretical training is complemented by the original research conducted by the student and by an extensive series of laboratory-based ART practical and skills training sessions.
The course content is enhanced by extensive online resources and the provision of printed versions of all module workbooks, as appropriate.
Course assessments will include essays, presentations, projects, practical log books, a research dissertation and examinations.
The Clinical Embryology and Associated Reproductive Technology MSc equips graduates to pursue a career in human assisted reproduction (eg clinical embryology, infertility treatment) and/or research in the reproductive sciences.
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.
The UBC Department of Medical Genetics is an inspiring and productive community of scholars of genetics and genomics; an outstanding provider of knowledge, technical expertise, and compassionate care for our patients. The Department is composed of dozens of faculty members at the forefront of their fields who use cutting edge genetic, epigenetic, genomic, and bioinformatic methodologies to gain insight into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative and neurological disorders, and other genetic diseases. Research is highly interactive and often involves local, national, and international collaborations which further enrich the research experience.
Individual labs conduct clinical and/or translational research and basic experimental research engaging a wide variety of approaches including the use of model organisms such as mice, flies (D. melanogaster), worms (C. elegans), and yeast (S. cerevisiae).
The mission of the Department of Medical Genetics is to pursue basic and clinical research for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of genetic disease. Our goal is to be a world leader in the research, clinical practice and teaching of Genetic Medicine.
Research in the Department of Medical Genetics covers the study of human genetics with areas of focus in mammalian development, regulation of gene expression, genetic diseases due to single gene or complex inheritance, birth defects, reproduction, cancer, immunology, genomics, bioinformatics, ethics and population health.
Medical Genetics Rotation Program: MSc and PhD applicants who have applied for the September-start, and who are highest ranked by the Medical Genetics Admissions Committee, will be offered the opportunity to join the Medical Genetics Rotation Program. The four top-ranked applicants offered these positions will also receive one-year Rotation Program Awards. Rotation Program students rotate through three different laboratories before choosing a final, thesis lab. Rotations are for nine-weeks each, from September to April. The Rotation Program is open to Canadians, Permanent Residents of Canada, and international applicants.
The MSc program in Medical Genetics is a research-based, thesis-based program which generally takes two - three years to complete. Graduates find employment in the public and private sector, and also pursue further studies in the field of Medical Genetics. Following is a brief sample of occupations that our graduates are pursuing:
Industry / Clinical Careers:
The University of Edinburgh Centre for Genomics and Experimental Medicine (CGEM) is part of the MRC / University of Edinburgh Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM). CGEM’s mission is to use genetics and genomics to understand the mechanisms of disease and design novel intervention strategies. Our research has consistently obtained the highest possible ranking in national assessments of research excellence.
We undertake detailed studies of populations, families and individuals to study a wide range of health related conditions. We use state-of-the-art genetic, epigenetic, genomic, statistical, bioinformatic, biological and molecular approaches in model systems and clinical studies for systematic investigation of disease aetiology. With this knowledge, we aim to improve disease prediction, prevention and prognosis. Our translational agenda encompasses the development of new medicines and genetically-informed use of existing medicines in clinical trials.
A principal aim of both CGEM and the IGMM is develop fully integrated, multi-disciplinary research programmes across the whole spectrum of basic, clinical and translational research. We have state of the art imaging, DNA sequencing and drug discovery units, a bioinformatics service and excellent lab facilities.