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
Students will study at the world-renowned Queen Square, and will be taught by internationally recognised experts in the field. Students have the opportunity to interact freely with our neurologists, and undertake a specialist attachment during the second six months of their programme.
Students gain knowledge of the clinical features and scientific basis of the following neurological areas and disorders: nerve and muscle; epilepsy; pain; movement disorders and Parkinson's disease; neuro-otology and neuro-ophthalmology; stroke; neuropsychiatry and cognition; infections of the nervous system; multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology; autonomic function and neuro-urology; neuro-oncology and ITU neurology.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of five core modules (105 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research project (60 credits).
A Postgraduate Diploma (full-time six months is offered).
Optional modules include
Students can choose one 15-credit module from the available options below:
All MSc students undertake an independent research project, which takes the form of a scientific investigation and culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars, clinical teaching (including outpatients, inpatients, workshops, training for history taking and clinical examination and case demonstrations). Assessment is through written examination, MCQ, short case clinical examination, viva voce, continuous assessment and the research dissertation.
Students are offered the opportunity to undertake a clinical attachment with one or two consultants at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery from April to September each year.
International Students will bear any costs incurred in acquiring certification equivalent to DBS in their home country.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Clinical Neurology MSc
This programme provides an excellent basis for a clinical or research career in clinical neurology and related disciplines.
Recent career destinations for this degree
For students starting out on their clinical careers the programme will give them skills and experience to move towards specialist training. For more established clinicians it is an opportunity to refresh and refine their clinical practice. All students benefit from exposure to the scientific underpinning of neurology, and the opportunity to undertake an original research project, and a specialist attachment, studying alongside the internationally renowned neurologists at Queen Square.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The mission of the UCL Institute of Neurology is to carry out high-quality research, teaching and training in basic and clinical neurosciences. Together with our associated hospital, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, we form the world-renowned Queen Square and promote the translation of research that is of direct clinical relevance to improved patient care and treatment.
Students are given the opportunity to experience the full range of activities of a world-famous specialist hospital.
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: Institute of Neurology
83% 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.
Changing demographics and growing demand for food, fuel and agricultural and environmental sustainability are among the key challenges the world faces today.
In this MSc you will learn research and development skills to enable the creation of new products and services. You will investigate the economic basis for current biotechnology structures and areas of future demand, including the global pharmaceutical industry and carbon sequestration.
You will learn how technology can be applied to solve pressing real-world biological problems and gain the skills and expertise needed for future developments in biotechnology.
This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project or industrial placement, leading to a dissertation.
Research and laboratory work
There will be a considerable practical element to the programme. You will work in a biotechnology laboratory and learn how experimental technology is designed and operated.
Your dissertation can be based on a laboratory-based project or an industrial placement. You can work with employers in the thriving Scottish biotechnology sector in areas such as multiple sclerosis research (Aquila BioMedical), vaccines research (BigDNA) or biorecovery and bioregeneration (Recyclatec).
The programme will open up a wide variety of career opportunities, ranging from sales and marketing, to research and development, to manufacturing and quality control and assurance.
This programme will provide a world-class education for advanced training in translational research, from preclinical discovery through to first-time-in-man studies in human and clinical trials in healthy volunteers and patients across neurology and neurodegeneration.
The programme combines theoretical and practical teaching on both the breadth of, and complexity in conducting clinical research. Topics include clinical pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, research governance, statistics and the fundamental principle for using the correct enabling technologies within the context of medical research and drug development.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core modules (60 credits), and a dissertation/report (120 credits).
There are no optional modules for this programme.
All students undertake a research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words.
Teaching and learning
The programme will combine lectures, workshops and tutorials. Practicals will focus on the role of surrogate markers and emerging technologies in drug development e.g. preclinical discovery, first-time-in-man studies, and early phase clinical trials in healthy volunteers and patients. Assessment is through short answer unseen examinations, coursework and presentations..
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Translational Neurology MRes
The programme is designed to cater to graduates in medicine and biomedical sciences who wish to gain valuable training in clinical research before embarking on a clinical PhD programme, medical training, or professional work in clinical trials. The successful completion of the MRes may also enhance opportunities for graduates to enter medical school or for MBBS graduates to progress to specialist medical training.
Whatever your chosen career pathway, the MRes in Translational Neurology will equip graduates to either get a first step on the ladder, change career directions or help them become more experienced with a specific expertise.
The programme is delivered by the UCL Institute of Neurology, a specialist postgraduate institute and a worldwide centre of excellence in clinical research across neurological diseases, including movement disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s disease), multiple sclerosis, neuro-inflammation, epilepsy, stroke, cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Students will be taught by experts in the field and have the opportunity to network with internationally recognised opinion leaders in neurology and neurodegeneration.