The programme provides you with strong knowledge on one or more of the following topics: design and synthesis of new drugs, radiolabelling and enhanced targeting of drugs, or screening, isolation and modification of new drug candidates from bioactive plants. In addition, you will learn to master the state-of-the-art methods needed for the full identification of drug molecules and for their quantitation from different types of tissues and metabolite mixtures.
Our programme offers you three options, all covering the chemistry of drug development from slightly different perspectives: bio-organic chemistry, radiopharmaceutical chemistry and natural compound chemistry. You can either choose to learn to synthesize drugs and drug components yourself, or let them be produced by plants first and then learn how to isolate and perhaps modify the plant-derived compounds to enhance their activity. Radiochemistry is then needed to developed techniques for labelling of drug candidates so that their distribution can be first monitored in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET) techniques and then the targeting optimized by further modifications. Our approach gives you strong hands-on knowledge on medicinal chemistry, since practical laboratory work forms the soul of our programme.
Our approach on medicinal and radiopharmaceutical chemistry is a unique combination of research areas that are closely related, but that require different type of expertise, if you really want to master one of the areas. All of the three options we offer you are represented by well-established, top of the line research groups: Bioorganic Group, Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry Group, and Natural Chemistry Research Group. You need to choose your orientation between these groups, but you may take courses from all of them. This way you are able to specialize, but at the same time acquire wide enough knowledge on the relevant topics related to the chemistry of drug development.
The main target in studies of Bio-organic Chemistry is to master the key concepts of organic reactions, stereochemistry and physical organic chemistry. This way the student can design and execute organic syntheses and understand chemical biology. The Bioorganic Group is specialized into the synthesis of biopolymers (oligonucleotides, oligosaccharides and peptides), their interaction mechanisms at the molecular level and to the application of this knowledge into solving medicinal problems.
Students of Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry can specialize into radiochemistry, i.e. the synthesis and use of short-lived, isotopically labelled positron emitting organic tracers. These tracers are used in positron emission tomography (PET) that enables imaging of biochemical processes in vivo in both health and disease. The synthesis of radiotracers involves both low molecular weight small molecules as well as macromolecules, typically peptides, proteins and their fragments. Teaching of radiopharmaceutical chemistry takes place in close collaboration with the Turku PET Centre, a National Institute jointly owned by the University of Turku, the Åbo Akademi University and the Hospital District of Southwestern Finland.
With Natural Compound Chemistry you learn to master numerous chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques together with other methods used for characterization and activity measurement of plant-derived biomolecules. The Natural Chemistry Research Group is specialized into the screening of the plant kingdom for bioactive molecules, especially large polyphenols such as ellagitannins. The screening phase can be accompanied by purification of active substances and measuring their structure/activity relationships, or developing new activity methods.
The facilities of Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry are state-of-the-art. We have direct access to the Turku PET Centre preclinical and clinical groups. The PET Centre has four cyclotrons for radionuclide production and 25 hot cells for radiotracer synthesis. At the Department of Chemistry we have recently updated NMR facilities with modern 500 and 600 MHz magnets with cryo-probes that facilitate operation at low drug concentrations. We have direct access to UPLC-MS/MS instruments with both triple quadrupole and high-resolution mass spectrometry detectors. An efficient ECD spectrometer complements the equipment needed for the accurate identification of the produced and purified drug candidates. To know how to master these equipment and techniques is a true advantage to the chemist who graduates from our programme.
Studies in Medicinal and Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry combine theory and practise in an optimal manner so that you have ample chances of gaining hands-on knowledge on different aspects of chemistry of drug development. This is obtained by many courses having lab practicals and by the Oriented Laboratory Project that is a five-week period of laboratory work on some specific challenge related to one of the three thematic research areas.
After the Oriented Laboratory Project you have an excellent chance to use your gained knowledge and expertise in the Master’s Laboratory Project that will form the basis for your Master’s Thesis as well. This five months lasting laboratory project is a crucial and customized part of a true research project taking place in one of the thematic research groups. Alternatively, you have a chance to do the Master’s Laboratory Project in some other Finnish University or abroad, depending on the project details and collaborators available for the project.
After the Master’s Laboratory Project is finalized, you will prepare the Master’s Thesis on the very same or similar topic as the lab project. All this is naturally done under the guidance of a supervisor. Your thesis writing process will benefit from the simultaneous Thesis Seminars, where students discuss of challenges related to their projects, and will present their results both orally and via poster presentations.
Examples of thesis topics:
The UCL School of Pharmacy has an international reputation in natural drug discovery and the evaluation of drug leads from natural sources. This MSc has been designed in response to ever-increasing interest in the development and use of medicines derived from natural products.
This programme aims to train students in the methods used to analyse and characterise medicinal natural products, to examine the safety and efficacy of currently used herbal medicines, analytical and bioassay methods, and the ethnopharmaceutical uses of plants from traditional systems of medicines.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (120 credits), and a research dissertation (60 credits).
All students undertake a four-month research project in the third term which culminates in a dissertation. Topics range from natural product isolation and characterisation, synthesis, analysis, and a survey of medicinal products used in the community.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and laboratory-based practical classes. Assessment is through a combination of written examinations, coursework and practical assignments, and the research project and oral presentation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry MSc
Recent graduates of this programme have progressed to careers in herbal, phytopharmaceutical or health food sectors. Some are involved in drug discovery while others pursue a PhD in the UK or overseas.
The programme provides a broad overview of natural product science, the impact of natural products as medicines, their analysis and their place in various societies.
Specifically the programme covers herbal medicines in healthcare and their safety and efficacy, with examples of natural products as medicines. There will also be lectures on the analysis of natural products and their place in the drug discovery process.
A visit to an industrial manufacturer of herbal medicinal products will take place.
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: School of Pharmacy
87% 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.
The Masters in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry will extend your depth and breadth of knowledge in all branches of chemistry, but with some specialisation in medicinal chemistry, suitable for a professional medicinal chemist capable of conducting research.
From September to March, you will attend lectures and tutorials. You will undertake a 12-week research project from June to August, which will provide practical application and consolidation of earlier work and enhance your ability to do independent work and present results effectively.
Career opportunities in the chemical or pharmaceutical industry, from bench work and instrumentation to regulatory affairs, health & safety, and intellectual property/patents. Research-related jobs usually require a PhD, for which this programme provides an ideal preparation.
Graduates of this programme have gone on to positions such as:
By understanding the mechanisms of drugs action, new molecules can be developed with improved pharmacological properties and reduced side effects.
The field of medicinal chemistry is becoming increasingly important as we continue to push the boundaries in the discovery of new drugs and applications in healthcare. This MSc in Medicinal Chemistry will allow you to specialise in this area and explore the wider context of drug discovery, business and healthcare.
On the course, you will develop the specific technical knowledge, understanding and laboratory skills needed to design drugs. You will also investigate the relationship between medicinal chemists and drug discovery companies with stakeholders such as patients, investors and governments.
The methods of teaching we employ will vary from module to module, as appropriate depending on the subject matter and the method of assessment. We teach using a mixture of lectures, workshops, case studies, computer-aided sessions, practicals and tutorials.
Your research project will be carried out in one of our laboratories under supervision of an academic member of staff with interests in a similar field. You may have the opportunity to complete your project during a placement in industry or with one of our academic partner institutions overseas, depending on availability.
Modules relating to computing frequently take place in our computer rooms, while practical work will be undertaken in our laboratories. We will also invite industry experts for seminars with our students within one of the core modules. Students will also benefit of the weekly seminars organized by the School of Chemistry, where leading experts in various scientific fields are invited to present their work.
After completing this course there are usually two career streams open to graduates, research or industry. Within these two fields there are a variety of career options. For example, many of our graduates choose to follow up their MSc and decide to complete a PhD research degree with us. Employment opportunities for successful graduates include the expanding worldwide pharmaceutical industry, where many choose to specialise in the research and development of new drugs. Research-related jobs usually require a PhD, for which this programme provides an ideal preparation.
Medicinal and Biological Chemistry requires a thorough understanding of molecules, their structures, properties and synthesis, but it also demands the chemical understanding of the nature of biological structures, from macromolecules to cells, the design of pharmaceutical materials in the laboratory and their function in clinical settings.
The knowledge and skills acquired in the course will leave graduates well equipped to compete for positions related to 'drug discovery' in chemical, pharmaceutical or biotechnological companies.
The degree consists of advanced lecture courses in:
These are studied concurrently with a predominantly practical based course offering an introduction to research methods.
Students then proceed to a period of full-time research project work, leading to the submission of their Masters dissertation.
Lectures are given by leading researchers in the area of medicinal and biological chemistry.
The lecture courses are supported by tutorial sessions and assessed by examination in May.
The Introduction to Research Methods course includes an exciting problem solving exercise where you learn important skills such as Communicating Science, Innovation, Dealing with Intellectual Property and Grant Application Writing, together with a literature survey and written report, defining the scope of the subsequent individual research project work.
On completion of the course, students should have developed a depth of comprehension and critique in the core elements of their subject area, including:
Additionally they will have enhanced their professional/practical skills through:
Students will also have the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as:
Graduates are well suited to take up roles in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, either in research and development or sales and marketing. You will gain valuable work experience in a real-life research environment.
Alternatively, a Masters degree is a precursor to a PhD degree.
Our courses teach students the valuable skills they need to also move into other areas outside chemistry. Careers in IT, management or finance are possibilities after completing your degree.
This MRes Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Science accredited course covers a diverse range of materials, pharmaceutical and medicinal research and includes a substantial research led project.
You can expand your interests further by selecting a pharmaceutical led research project within one of our diverse range of internationally recognised pharmaceutical and medicinal science research groups (alongside PhD students and post doctoral research fellows).
Accreditation is from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Visit us on campus throughout the year, find and register for our next open event on http://www.ntu.ac.uk/pgevents.
The Master’s programme Organic Synthesis and Medicinal Chemistry provides knowledge on the design, synthesis and evaluation of low-weight organic substances. It also covers protein chemistry and biomolecular design, preparing you for a career in the pharmaceutical industry.
Biologically active substances with low molecular weight represent the core of life-science research. Knowledge of molecular structures and their properties are crucial to our understanding of vast scientific areas, from pharmaceutically active compounds in designer drugs to organic electronics and their incorporation into diagnostic tools such as biosensors. Our research facilities are well equipped with all the necessary analytical and diagnostic tools found in industrial research facilities, which will advance your practical capabilities.
This master’s programme aims to provide students with knowledge on the design, synthesis and evaluation of low molecular weight biologically active organic substances. The programme begins with courses in organic chemistry and organic synthesis, building from the basic concepts to the advanced level, followed by an introduction in medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical technology. It also covers protein chemistry and biomolecular design, which broadens your knowledge in the field of bio-organic chemistry. A key part of the programme is a one-year degree project, undertaken either in a research group at LiU or in industry.
The MSc Pharmaceutical Science programme was developed in response to the need for enhanced skills by employees within pharmaceutical research, development or manufacturing.
The programme will generate graduates with in-depth theoretical knowledge and extensive laboratory skills, allowing students to be involved in many disciplines of pharmaceutical science from drug discovery and medicinal chemistry through to product development and manufacture and including pharmaceutical analysis, quality control and quality assurance.
Delivery on this programme involves a series of lectures, seminars, workshops and lab-based exercises. Many of the lectures on this programme are delivered by leading industrial experts. Problem-based learning and case studies will provide students with experience of team-working that simulates an industrial setting. Students will develop team-working, critical thinking and analytical problem solving abilities which are important in the modern pharmaceutical industry.
The main part of the programme is a research project that runs over the whole academic year and gives students the opportunity to work with modern research equipment to carry out novel research. Project work will help students enhance practical skills, analytical thinking, time management, communication skills and independence.
The aims of the programme are to:
Students are required to study the following compulsory courses.
Students are required to study the following compulsory courses.
Students are required to study the following compulsory courses.
Students are assessed through examinations, coursework and a dissertation.
Graduates from this programme can pursue careers in the NHS, the pharmaceutical industry or industries manufacturing other health care products.