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Masters Degrees (Gene Cloning)

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This course offers advanced training for biological, chemical and physical scientists (pure and applied) for careers in the pharmaceutical, food/nutrition, health-care, biomedical, oil and other important industries or as a basis for entry to MRes or PhD. Read more
This course offers advanced training for biological, chemical and physical scientists (pure and applied) for careers in the pharmaceutical, food/nutrition, health-care, biomedical, oil and other important industries or as a basis for entry to MRes or PhD.

Biomolecular Technology underpins the production of drug delivery systems, the making of healthier food products, the design of health-care products, the making of antisera and vaccines - and even the efficient extraction of oil from the harsh environment of a deep well: these are among the biotechnology processes which depend in fundamental terms on our ability to handle giant molecular complexes of living origin. Furthermore, molecular biologists and chemists are now increasingly able to ‘engineer’ new types of proteins and complexes over and beyond those which 3 billion years of evolution have provided.

Industry needs skilled personnel capable of understanding how these molecules may be used in an industrial context and the processes of gene cloning and protein engineering.

It is taught by the School of Biosciences in conjunction with the University's Schools of Pharmacy, Biomedical Sciences and Clinical Sciences and The School of Biosciences at the University of Leicester. Experts from local and national industry also contribute, ensuring access to the latest developments in the field.

A 3 month industrial placement module offers an exciting opportunity to discover first hand the needs of modern industry and provides advanced training for employment and further academic studies.
By suitable arrangement non-UK students can do this in their normal country of residence.

Applicants should hold first degrees at honours level in any Biological, Chemical or Physical Science subject (e.g. Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Genetics, Food Sciences, Plant Sciences, Physics). Suitably motivated candidates with Engineering or Mathematics degrees will also be considered.

A number of scholarships and European bursaries may be available.

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In recent years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology – knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century. Read more

In recent years the study of plant sciences has been revolutionised by the development of new tools and technologies which have allowed unprecedented progress in the study of plant biology – knowledge which is being applied to develop sustainable solutions to some of the major challenges of the 21st century.

This course will give you specialist training in the modern molecular aspects of plant science. A large part of your teaching will be delivered by academics from the University’s Centre for Plant Sciences (CPS) linked to the latest research in their areas of expertise.

You’ll explore the wide ranges of approaches used in biomolecular sciences as applied to plant science. This will cover theory and practice of recombinant DNA and protein production, bioimaging using our confocal microscope suite, practical bioinformatics and theories behind ‘omic technologies.

You’ll also learn how to design a programme of research and write a research proposal, read and critically analyse scientific papers in plant science and biotechnology and present the findings. A highlight of the course is your individual 80 credit practical research project.

The course is 100% coursework assessed (although some modules have small in course tests). Our teaching and assessment methods are designed to develop your independent thinking, problem solving, communication skills and practical ability, making you attractive to employers or providing an excellent foundation for further study (eg PhD).

You’ll study in a faculty ranked 6th in the UK for its research impact in the recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

Our Facilities

You’ll study in a stimulating environment which houses extensive facilities developed to support and enhance our faculty’s pioneering research. As well as Faculty operated facilities, the CPS laboratories are well equipped for general plant research. There is also a plant growth unit, including tissue culture suites with culture rooms, growth rooms and flow cabinets alongside transgenic glass-houses to meet a range of growth requirements.

Course content

On this course you’ll gain an overview of a range of modern techniques and methodologies that underpin contemporary biomolecular plant sciences.

You’ll also apply your knowledge to an extended practical investigation in the form of a laboratory-based mini 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.

A module on plant biotechnology will address current topics such as the engineering of plants, development of stress-tolerant crop varieties and techniques for gene expression and gene silencing through reading discussion and critical analysis of recent research papers.

You’ll learn from the research of international experts in DNA recombination and repair mechanisms and their importance for transgene integration and biotechnological applications; plant nutrition and intracellular communication; and the biosynthesis, structure and function of plant cell walls.

You’ll also explore the wide range of approaches used in bio-imaging and their relative advantages and disadvantages for analysing protein and cellular function. Bioinformatics and high throughput omic technologies are crucial to plant science research and you will take modules introducing you to these disciplines.

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

Compulsory modules

  • Bioimaging 10 credits
  • Topics in Plant Science 10 credits
  • Practical Bioinformatics 10 credits
  • Plant Biotechnology 10 credits
  • High-throughput Technologies 10 credits
  • MSc Bioscience Research Project Proposal 5 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 Plant Science and Biotechnology 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 plant science 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 Plant Science and Biotechmology 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 courses.

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.



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The course provides detailed insight into the technologies that allow development and production of biopharmaceuticals from start to finish (from pre-clinical studies, to clinic, through to marketing) that could lead to cures to most major diseases. Read more
The course provides detailed insight into the technologies that allow development and production of biopharmaceuticals from start to finish (from pre-clinical studies, to clinic, through to marketing) that could lead to cures to most major diseases. A high practical content prepares graduates to quickly enter an industrial setting.

The course is inter-disciplinary and is based on the teaching/research expertise of staff in the disciplines of pharmacy, biotechnology, pharmacology, toxicology, bioinformatics and business. In the global sphere, pharmaceutical biotechnology courses are rare and no other course offers such a broad scope.

•This course provides a response to the rapidly expanding field of biopharmaceuticals (DNA and protein-based medicines) by running an intensive taught programme covering the first two semesters with the opportunity of conducting independent research in this area in the third semester
•Suitable for students progressing on from undergraduate study, professionals in the sector, and international students looking to further their knowledge in this subject area in the UK
•The course has received positive feedback from international experts in higher education, large pharmaceutical companies, and agents involved in recruiting foreign students for the UK/US
•We have received major Government and private funds to develop our state-of-the-art laboratories and purchase specialist equipment to match that in the best industrial labs

Learning outcomes are not only targeted in terms of knowledge but also skills matched for employment, such as being confident, self-motivated, self-starting and a team player.

The learning environment for the first two semesters will be varied with lectures, tutorials, laboratories and computer laboratories. You can expect to spend about half of your directed study time working at the bench in our research laboratories. In the third semester the learning venue will depend on your dissertation topic and will be aimed at guided self-study.

Modules include:
• Biopharmaceuticals and Molecular Toxicology
• Microbial Fermentation/Downstream Processing, Drug Development
• Gene Cloning, Expression and Analysis
• Bioinformatics I and II
• Entrepreneurship and Innovation
• Research Methods
• Research Dissertation

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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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The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. Read more

The Bordeaux Biology Agrosciences (B2AS) program offers an integrated multidisciplinary approach that is adapted to the realities of research (background research) as well as to the socio-economic sector (professional courses). The program objectives are to train and equip researchers and professionals to face the issues posed by agriculture in the 21st century. This is achived by integrating plant biotechnology and agrofood technology within course content in order to deal with the challenges of innovation in agriculture.

With such an integrated approach, the Master B2AS represents a meeting point between academia and professionals. During the program, students may specialize either in the field of plant biology, biotechnology, plant breeding, genetics, plant and human health benefits, food production and innovation. The wide partner network provides students with a range of complementary expertise. This means that specific competencies are developed within the chosen field of biotechnology and plant breeding for agriculture improvements.

Program structure

Semester 1:

Scientific English (3 ECTS)

  • Students will reinforce and develop the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills relevant to a biological science research context.
  • Students will acquire knowledge of the linguistic and discursive features of both written and spoken scientific English.
  • Structure and rhetoric of the research article, writing up an abstract. Oral scientific presentation – students prepare a mini-symposium on the topic related to their future work placement (and thus complete relevant bibliographical and reading research in preparation).
  • Students are evaluated on their communication skills in English and also on their ability to manage complex scientific concepts in English.

Plant development and reproduction (3 ECTS)

  • Genetic regulation of root and stem apical meristem functioning, epigenetic regulations of plant development and reproduction, parental imprinting, plant hormones, fruit and seed development, sex determination in plants, cellular mechanisms involved in plant organ growth and development.

Metabolism and cellular compartmentation (3 ECTS)

  • Metabolism and cell compartmentation: morphodynamic organization of the plant secretory pathway, lipid and protein machineries; membrane transporters in plants and the related methods of study; lipid signaling in plant cells; formation and dynamics of membrane domains; regulation of metabolism and gene expression by sugars in plants. Nature and importance of futile cycles in plants.

Biotechonology (3 ECTS)

  • In vitro culture and applications, plant transformation and applications to crop plants, GMO legislation and traceability, metabolic engineering, GMO and production of antibodies and of molecules of high health value, GMO in the food industry, fungi biotechnology.

Plant pathogen interactions (3 ECTS)

  • Plant-Mollicutes interactions, plant-virus interactions: analysis of plant and virus factors necessary for virus cycle, viroids; RNA interference, plant defence mechanisms against pathogens (fungi, bacteria and virus), breeding of plants resistant to pathogens, biodiversity of plant pathogens, epidemiology of plant pathogen interactions and impact on crop production.

Plant breeding (3 ECTS)

  • Principles of selection and genetic gain, response to selection, germplasm resources, collecting, analysing, classifying, international rules on germplasm resources. Population improvement and cultivar development (breeding for lines, hybrids, clones, populations), high throughput phenotyping, breeding strategies and methods including molecular breeding (MAS, genomic selection) and biotechnologies, multiple traits selection, genotype by environment interaction, protecting varieties and intellectual property, plant breeding international network and organization.

Quantitative and population genetics and evolution (3 ECTS)

  • Population genetics and genetic diversity, haplotype structure, domestication and genetic consequences, linkage disequilibrium, genetic variance, estimating variance components, heritability, genetic correlations, association genetics, genomic selection, induced diversity TILLinG, natural diversity ecoTILLinG, linking genetics, genomics and bioinformatics : from fine- mapping to gene cloning; genotyping by sequencing.

Semester 2:

Laboratory Practice (6 months/30 ECTS) 

  • In a public laboratory and/or a private company laboratory.

Strengths of this Master program

During their studies, students will:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge in various fields of plant biology, green biotechnology, food supplements, food production, etc.
  • Receive a modern research-based training.
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of modern agricultural practices in a context of environmental constraints and increasing demand.
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits and limits of modern biotechnology.
  • Acquire the skills to develop action planning processes for bioscience.
  • Acquire skills and practice within an English-speaking environment as well as other languages practised within the consortium.
  • Develop the necessary skills to collaborate with international teams and networks.
  • Acquire competencies for knowledge transfer to students and collaborators.
  • Develop competencies to create, finance and manage a new start-up.
  • Acquire an understanding of today’s industrial and economic environment within the Biotech sector.

After this Master program?

The objectives of the B2AS program are to prepare students for further study via PhD programs and/or careers in the food and agronomy industry throughout the world. This is achieved by providing high-level training in plant sciences but also by preparing students with relevant knowledge and skills in management and business. 

Graduates may apply for positions in the following industrial sectors in a R&D laboratory as well as in production activities:

  • Plant research laboratories
  • Plant breeding companies
  • Agro-chemical companies
  • Green and white biotechnology companies
  • Food, diet and nutrition companies
  • Plant medicinal production companies
  • Food supplement or nutraceutical companies
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Business trade companies


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The programme aims to provide students with training and learning opportunities in the skills and specialised knowledge needed to equip them for a career in biotechnology, molecular biotechnology or molecular biology, in particular in industry. Read more
The programme aims to provide students with training and learning opportunities in the skills and specialised knowledge needed to equip them for a career in biotechnology, molecular biotechnology or molecular biology, in particular in industry.

Practical skills will include sessions on fermentation, molecular biology, immunology, cell biology and protein chemistry, and you will go on to complete a major, supervised laboratory or computer-based research project.

Transferable skills gained via this programme will include written and oral presentation skills, statistics, and the ability to plan and write a grant application or a business plan. Subject-specific skills will include key techniques used in molecular biotechnology, specialist knowledge in theoretical and practical aspects of the subject, including: process engineering, molecular biology, functional genomics, 'omics' technologies, protein expression systems and antibody engineering. Practical skills will include fermentation, molecular biology, immunology, cell biology and protein chemistry.

Careers

While many graduates will go on to employment in biotechnology companies, you will also be employable in other life sciences industries or able to go on to further study and research.

About the School of Biosciences

As one of the top biosciences departments in the UK, our research covers the entire spectrum of cutting-edge biosciences. We are home to the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and part of the University’s Systems Science for Health initiative.
Our research focuses on a number of important themes that run through modern biological and biochemical research: Biosystems and Environmental Change; Microbiology and Infection; Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health; and Plant Science.
Our postgraduate students join a diverse international community of staff and students. For students on research degrees, the annual Biosciences Graduate Research Symposium, organised by PhD students, is an example of an event where the whole School comes together to talk about science.
We have extensive high-technology facilities in areas such as functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, including a world-class Advanced Mass Spectrometry Facility. Our cutting-edge facilities extend to protein structure determination and analysis, confocal microscopy, drug discovery, horticulture, structural biology and optical imaging. The £8 million Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners.

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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This Biomedical Sciences degree offers research training for students in order to gain all the required Biomedical Sience entry requirements to proceed to a PhD. Read more
This Biomedical Sciences degree offers research training for students in order to gain all the required Biomedical Sience entry requirements to proceed to a PhD. It is largely based on individual research projects rather than coursework, and allows you to specialise in a particular area of study.

Why this programme

◾Ranked world top 100 for Biological Sciences
◾The Masters in Biomedical Science provides training in a wide range of modern molecular biology techniques required to pursue a research career.
◾You will gain valuable practical research experience by using the skills and techniques acquired during the programme to complete two extensive research projects.
◾The Biomedical Science programme is distinctive in that students complete two different extensive research projects of their choice, allowing them to acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills directly relevant to the study of human disease.
◾If you are aiming to study for a higherBiomedical Science degree , this programme is designed for you.
◾If you want to enter the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, this programme provides excellent training; and is an ideal introduction for overseas students who may wish to proceed to PhD biomedical science studies in the UK.
◾You can choose to specialise within a particular discipline or area, which can be important for career development, see programme structure below for more information.

Programme structure

The overall aims of the programme are:
◾to provide students with the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to pursue a career in laboratory research.
◾to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of advanced techniques used in modern biomedical sciences research.
◾to provide students with the opportunity to practice research skills in the laboratory by completing two extensive research projects.

MRes students have the opportunity to specialise in a particular discipline or area, which can be important for their career development. The specialisations are:
◾Biotechnology
◾Cancer Studies
◾Cardiovascular Studies
◾Cell Engineering
◾Integrative Mammalian Biology SFC funded places available

◾Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
◾Molecular Genetics
◾Neuroscience
◾Proteomics

To qualify for a specialisation, students must select two research projects in a cognate research area.

Research projects

The central and most important part of the MRes is the two research projects that students undertake. Students choose both projects themselves in the subject areas that interest them and that will allow them to follow the career path they wish to follow. The MRes programme has a huge number of projects which students can choose from, across a wide spectrum of biomedical science.

The following are examples of the types of projects offered, to illustrate the range of subject areas.

• Making blood from human embryonic stem cells

• A gene-microarray based approach to the detection of recombinant human erythropoietin doping in endurance athletes

• Neuropathology of trypanosomiasis

• Development of a new technique for stem cell transfection

• Cloning and analysis of an inflammatory factor in cancer and autoimmune disease

• Analysis of viral induced cancer

Each year students have about 100 different projects to choose from and all students find research topics that interest them.

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Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. Read more

Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. You can also choose this course if you wish to pursue research in biotechnology at PhD level.

Biotechnology is the application of biological processes and is underpinned by • cell biology • molecular biology • bioinformatics • structural biology. It encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products according to human needs.

Applications of biotechnology span medicine, technology and engineering.

Important biotechnological advances including

  • the production of therapeutic proteins using cloned DNA, for example insulin and clotting factors
  • the application of stem cells to treat human disease
  • the enhancement of crop yields and plants with increased nutritional value
  • herbicide and insect resistant plants
  • production of recombinant antibodies for the treatment of disease
  • edible vaccines, in the form of modified plants
  • development of biosensors for the detection of biological and inorganic analytes

You gain

  • up-to-date knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of biological processes
  • an advanced understanding of DNA technology and molecular biotechnology
  • knowledge of developing and applying biotechnology to diagnosis and treatment of human diseases
  • practical skills applicable in a range of bioscience laboratories
  • the transferable and research skills to enable you to continue developing your knowledge and improving your employment potential

The course is led by academics who are actively involved in biotechnology research and its application to the manipulation of proteins, DNA, mammalian cells and plants. Staff also have expertise in the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and the manipulation of microbes in industrial and environmental biotechnology.

You are supported throughout your studies by an academic advisor who will help you develop your study and personal skills.

What is biotechnology

Biotechnology is the basis for the production of current leading biopharmaceuticals and has already provided us with the 'clot-busting' drug, tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It also holds the promise of new treatments for neurodegeneration and cancer through recombinant antibodies.

Genetically modified plants have improved crop yields and are able to grow in a changing environment. Manipulation of cellular organisms through gene editing methods have also yielded a greater understanding of many disease states and have allowed us to understand how life itself functions.

Course structure

You begin your studies focusing on the fundamentals of advanced cell biology and molecular biology before specialising in both molecular and plant biotechnology. Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology techniques such as PCR and sub cloning alongside tissue culture.

Core to the program is the practical module where you gain experience in a range of techniques used in the determination of transcription and translational levels, for example.

All practicals are supported by experienced academic staff, skilled in the latest biotechnological techniques.

Research and statistical skills are developed throughout the program. Towards the end of the program you apply your skills on a two month research project into a current biotechnological application. Employability skills are developed throughout the course in two modules.

The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.

The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits. 

Core modules:

  • Cell biology (15 credits)
  • Biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Plant biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Molecular biology (15 credits)
  • Applied biomedical techniques (15 credits)
  • Professional development (15 credits)
  • Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
  • Research project (60 credits)

Optional modules :

  • Human genomics and proteomics (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of disease (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of cancer (15 credits)

Assessment

As students progress through the course they are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning activities. The assessment strategy of the postgraduate course considers diverse assessment methods. Some modules offer dedicated formative feedback to aid skills development with assessments going through several rounds of formative tutor and peer feedback. Summative assessment methods are diverse, with examinations present in theory-based modules to test independent knowledge and data analysis. Several modules are entirely coursework-based, with a portfolio of skills such laboratory practical's and research proposals generated throughout the course forming the summative tasks. In all cases, the assessment criteria for all assessed assignments are made available to student prior to submission. 

Employability

The course is suitable for people wishing to develop their knowledge of molecular and cell biotechnology and its application to solving health and industrial problems.

You can find career opportunities in areas such as

  • biotechnology research
  • medical research in universities and hospitals
  • government research agencies
  • biotechnology industry
  • pharmaceutical industry.

Students on this course have gone on to roles including experimental officers in contract research, research and development in scientists, diagnostics specialists and applications specialists. Many of our graduates also go on to study for PhDs and continue as academic lecturers.



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