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Masters Degrees (Neuroinformatics)

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This course provides specialist expertise in core neuroinformatics (such as computing and biology) focusing on the development of research skills. Read more

Course Overview

This course provides specialist expertise in core neuroinformatics (such as computing and biology) focusing on the development of research skills. It equips you with the skills to contribute to biologically realistic simulations of neural activity and developments. These are rapidly becoming the key focus of neuroinformatics research.

Newcastle is among the pioneers of neuroinformatics in the UK and hosted the £4m EPSRC-funded CARMEN project for managing and processing electrophysiology data. We are currently involved in a £10m EPSRC/Wellcome Trust-funded project. This is on implantable devices for epilepsy patients. We use computer simulations to inform about the stimulation location and protocol.

As the amount of data in the neurosciences increases, new tools for data storage and management are needed. These tools include cloud computing and workflows, as well as better descriptions of neuroscience data. Available data can inform computer simulations of neural dynamics and development. Parallel computing and new algorithms are needed in order to run large-scale simulations. There is high demand within academia as well as within industry involving healthcare informatics, brain-inspired computing, and brain-inspired hardware architectures.

Modules

For detailed module information see http://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/degrees/computational-neuroscience-neuroinformatics-msc/#modules

How to apply

For course application information see http://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/courses/degrees/computational-neuroscience-neuroinformatics-msc/#howtoapply

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Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information. Read more

Programme description

Informatics is the study of how natural and artificial systems store, process and communicate information.

Edinburgh has a long-standing tradition of world-class research and teaching in informatics, a discipline central to a new enlightenment in scholarship and learning, and critical to the future development of science, technology and society.

This is our most sought-after taught MSc. We offer a wide choice of courses, spanning established disciplines such as cognitive and computer science as well as emerging areas such as bioinformatics.

The programme takes full advantage of our expertise in research and teaching, including specialisms unique to Edinburgh.

Programme structure

You follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments, after which you will learn research methods before individual supervision for your project and dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

Informatics Research Review
Informatics Research Proposal
Introduction to Java Programming (for students who do not already meet the programming requirements for the taught masters)
Dissertation

You will choose a ‘specialist area’ within the programme, which will determine the choice of your optional courses:

Analytical and Scientific Databases
Bioinformatics Systems and Synthetic Biology
Cognitive Science, Computer Systems, Software Engineering and High Performance Computing
Intelligent Robotics
Agents, Knowledge and Data
Machine Learning
Natural Language Understanding
Neural Computation and Neuroinformatics
Programming Languages
Theoretical Computer Science

There are 100 optional courses available to MSc Informatics students, including courses within specialist areas unique to the programme.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are well regarded by potential employers worldwide. Many go on to work in the technology industry as software engineers, IT consultants, programmers and developers, and may work with the software and hardware giants that have become household names. Others go on to further study and research.

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This Masters in Bioinformatics, Polyomics and Systems Biology is a new, exciting and innovative programme that has grown out of our well-regarded MRes in Bioinformatics. Read more
This Masters in Bioinformatics, Polyomics and Systems Biology is a new, exciting and innovative programme that has grown out of our well-regarded MRes in Bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is a discipline at the interface between biology and computing and is used in organismal biology, molecular biology and biomedicine. ‘Polyomics’ is a new term used to describe the modern integrated approach to biological analysis involving genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and systems-level datasets. The MSc Bioinformatics programme focuses on using computers to glean new insights from DNA, RNA and protein sequence data and related data at the molecular level through data storage, mining, analysis and display - all of which form a core part of modern biology.

Why this programme

-Our programme emphasises understanding core principles in practical bioinformatics and functional genomics, and then implementing that understanding in a series of practical-based elective courses in Semester 2 and in a summer research project.
-You will benefit from being taught by scientists at the cutting edge of their field and you will get intensive, hands-on experience in an active research lab during the summer research project.
-Bioinformatics and the 'Omics' technologies have evolved to play a fundamental role in almost all areas of biology and biomedicine.
-Advanced biocomputing skills are now deemed essential for many PhD studentships/projects in molecular bioscience and biomedicine, and are of increasing importance for many other such projects.
-The Semester 2 elective courses are built around real research scenarios, enabling you not only to gain practical experience of working with large molecular datasets, but also to see why each scenario uses the particular approaches it does and how to go about organizing and implementing appropriate analysis pipelines.
-You will be based in the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, an ideal environment in which to train in bioinformatics; our College has carried out internationally-recognised research in functional genomics and systems biology.
-The new programme reflects the development and activities of 'Glasgow Polyomics'. Glasgow Polyomics is a world-class facility set up in 2012 to provide research services using microarray, proteomics, metabolomics and next-generation DNA sequencing technologies. Its scientists have pioneered the 'polyomics' approach, in which new insights come from the integration of data across different omics levels.
-In addition, we have several world-renowned research centres at the University, such as the Wellcome Trust Centre for Molecular Parasitology and the Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, whose scientists do ground-breaking research employing bioinformatic approaches in the study of disease.
-You will learn computer programming in courses run by staff in the internationally reputed School of Computing Science, in conjunction with their MSc in Information Technology.

Programme structure

Bioinformatics helps biologists gain new insights about genomes (genomics) and genes, about RNA expression products of genes (transcriptomics) and about proteins (proteomics); rapid advances have also been made in the study of cellular metabolites (metabolomics) and in a newer area: systems biology.

‘Polyomics’ involves the integration of data from these ‘functional genomics’ areas - genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics - to derive new insights about how biological systems function.

The programme structure is designed to equip students with understanding and hands-on experience of both computing and biological research practices relating to bioinformatics and functional genomics, to show students how the computing approaches and biological questions they are being used to answer are connected, and to give students an insight into new approaches for integration of data and analysis across the 'omics' domains.

On this programme, you will develop a range of computing and programming skills, as well as skills in data handling, analysis (including statistics) and interpretation, and you will be brought up to date with recent advances in biological science that have been informed by bioinformatics approaches.

The programme has the following overall structure
-Core material - 60 credits, Semester 1, made up of 10, 15 and 20 credit courses.
-Elective material - 60 credits, Semester 2, students select 4 courses (two 10 credit courses and two 20 credit courses) from those available.
-Project - 60 credits, 14 weeks embedded in a research group over the summer.

Core and optional courses

Core courses include:
-Programming (Java)
-Database Theory and Application
-Foundations of Bioinformatics
-Omics and Systems Approaches in Biology
-These 4 courses are obligatory for those taking the MSc degree and the PgDip; they are also obligatory for those with no prior programming experience taking the PgCert.
-60-credit summer research project lasting 14 weeks - this is also obligatory for those taking the MSc programme; normally this will be with one of the research laboratories in Glasgow associated with the programme, but there is also the opportunity to study in suitable laboratories in other parts of the world

Optional courses include:
-RNA-seq and next generation transcriptomics
-Metagenomics
-Pathogen Polyomics
-Cancer Genomics - NGS and functional analysis methods
-Disease Pathway Analysis - Systems Approaches and De Novo Pathway Mapping
-Using Chemical Structure Databases in Drug Discovery for Protein Targets
-Identification of disease-causing genetic variants
-A range of more general biology and computing biology courses are also available in semester 2

Career prospects

Most of our graduates embark on a research career path here in the UK or abroad using the skills they've acquired on our programme - these skills are now of primary relevance in many areas of modern biology and biomedicine. Many are successful in getting a PhD studentship. Others are employed as a core bioinformatician (now a career path within academia in its own right) or as a research assistant in a research group in basic biological or medical science. A postgraduate degree in bioinformatics is also valued by many employers in the life sciences sector - e.g. computing biology jobs in biotechnology/biosciences/neuroinformatics/pharma industry. Some of our graduates have entered science-related careers in scientific publishing or education; others have gone into computing-related jobs in non-bioscience industry or the public sector.

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The Centre for Integrative Physiology (CIP) fosters research into fundamental mechanisms and pathways relevant to human function and disease. Read more

Research profile

The Centre for Integrative Physiology (CIP) fosters research into fundamental mechanisms and pathways relevant to human function and disease.

CIP investigators exploit rapid advances in the enabling technologies available from genomics, proteomics, imaging, informatics, and in vivo analysis to understand the function of gene products at the cell, organ and whole-animal level.

Importantly, CIP investigators exploit the most appropriate model organisms/systems to investigate the key physiological question being posed: a delicate balance between high biomedical relevance (for example human, mouse, rat) and high genetic power (such as Drosophila and fish).

Training and support

Three- and four-year research degrees
Three- and four-year studentships are offered. Postgraduate students carry out their studies within a research group under the supervision of an academic staff member (their 'first supervisor').

In addition, students are assigned a personal thesis committee comprising their supervisor and two other academic staff members, who provide advice and mentoring, and monitor progress.

In their first year, students have the opportunity of participating in relevant taught modules of a number of associated MSc courses (for example Developmental Cell Biology and Neuroinformatics). Students attend research seminars and the generic skills training programme provided by the Life Sciences Graduate Programme. Postgraduates also have the opportunity to act as demonstrators for undergraduate teaching.

Students are strongly encouraged to present their findings at national and international conferences and to publish their findings in international journals during their postgraduate training.

MSc by Research

Our MSc by Research is a full-time 1-year research project done under the supervision of a CIP Researcher. This programme has no taught component and is therefore only suitable for highly motivated students with a clear idea of their research interests and goals, with significant theoretical or practical knowledge of a chosen field. An MSc by full-time research provides an excellent training in laboratory research and a strong grounding for further study at the level of PhD. Initial enquires should be made directly to Dr. Paul Skehel.

MSc students will work full-time on their research project with the additional option of taking selected transferable skills courses. Each student will have two supervisors. After 3 months study a short presentation and report of completed and proposed work will be made to the supervisors, at which point progression from Diploma to full Masters will be considered. Students that demonstrate sufficient progress and aptitude will progress for a further 9 months full-time research after which a Dissertation will be presented and assessed for the award of MSc.

A preliminary email briefly outlining your research interests and identifying up to three potential supervisors from the CIP should be sent directly to Dr Paul Skehel. If appropriate, students will then be invited to submit a short 400-word general outline for a potential MSc project with specific supervisors. Applicants progressing to this point will then be guided to make a formal application on this page. Please note that the MSc by Research has additional programme costs of £5,000.

Facilities

The core of the CIP occupies the newly refurbished Hugh Robson Building and has facilities for all aspects of modern molecular, cellular and systems biology.

Research is mainly funded by grants from the MRC, the BBSRC and industrial companies.

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The Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (IANC) is a world-leading institute dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of adaptive processes in both artificial and biological systems. Read more

Research profile

The Institute for Adaptive and Neural Computation (IANC) is a world-leading institute dedicated to the theoretical and empirical study of adaptive processes in both artificial and biological systems. We are one of the UK’s largest and most prestigious academic teams in these fields.

We foster world-class interdisciplinary and collaborative research bringing together a range of disciplines.

Our research falls into three areas:

-machine learning
-computational neuroscience
-computational biology

In machine learning we develop probabilistic methods that find patterns and structure in data, and apply them to scientific and technological problems. Applications include areas as diverse as astronomy, health sciences and computing.

In computational neuroscience and neuroinformatics we study how the brain processes information, and analyse and interpret data from neuroscientific experiments

The focus in the computational biology area is to develop computational strategies to store, analyse and model a variety of biological data (from protein measurements to insect behavioural data).

Training and support

You carry out your research within a research group under the guidance of a supervisor. You will be expected to attend seminars and meetings of relevant research groups and may also attend lectures that are relevant to your research topic. Periodic reviews of your progress will be conducted to assist with research planning.

A programme of transferable skills courses facilitates broader professional development in a wide range of topics, from writing and presentation skills to entrepreneurship and career strategies.

The School of Informatics holds a Silver Athena SWAN award, in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The School is deploying a range of strategies to help female staff and students of all stages in their careers and we seek regular feedback from our research community on our performance.

Facilities

The award-winning Informatics Forum is an international research facility for computing and related areas. It houses more than 400 research staff and students, providing office, meeting and social spaces.

It also contains two robotics labs, an instrumented multimedia room, eye-tracking and motion capture systems, and a full recording studio amongst other research facilities. Its spectacular atrium plays host to many events, from industry showcases and student hackathons to major research conferences.

Nearby teaching facilities include computer and teaching labs with more than 250 machines, 24-hour access to IT facilities for students, and comprehensive support provided by dedicated computing staff.

Among our entrepreneurial initiatives is Informatics Ventures, set up in 2008 to support globally ambitious software companies in Scotland and nurture a technology cluster to rival Boston, Pittsburgh, Kyoto and Silicon Valley.

Career opportunities

The research you will undertake at IANC is perfectly suited to a career in academia, where you’ll be able to use your knowledge to advance this important field. Some graduates take their skills into commercial research posts, and find success in creating systems that can be used in everyday applications.

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Cognitive Science is a discipline in growing demand, and Edinburgh is a widely recognised leader in this area, with particular strengths in natural language, speech technology, robotics and learning, neural computation and philosophy of the mind. Read more

Programme description

Cognitive Science is a discipline in growing demand, and Edinburgh is a widely recognised leader in this area, with particular strengths in natural language, speech technology, robotics and learning, neural computation and philosophy of the mind.

You will gain a thorough grounding in neural computation, formal logic, computational and theoretical linguistics, cognitive psychology and natural language processing, and through a vast range of optional courses you will develop your own interests in this fascinating field.

Programme structure

You follow two taught semesters of lectures, tutorials, project work and written assignments, after which you will learn research methods before individual supervision for your project and dissertation.

You will choose a ‘specialist area’ within the programme, which will determine the choice of your optional courses. The specialist areas are:

Cognitive Science
Natural Language Processing
Neural Computation and Neuroinformatics

Compulsory courses:

Informatics Research Review
Informatics Research Proposal
Introduction to Java Programming (for students who do not already meet the programming requirements for the taught masters)
Dissertation

There are several optional courses to choose from, such as:

Accelerated Natural Language Processing
Automated Reasoning
Computational Cognitive Neuroscience
Human-Computer Interaction
Machine Learning and Pattern Recognition
Natural Language Understanding
Neural Computation
Text Technologies for Data Science
Bioinformatics
Topics in Cognitive Modelling

Career opportunities

This programme will give you a deep understanding of the expanding domain of cognitive science through formal study and experiments. It is perfect preparation for a rewarding academic or professional career. The quality and reputation of the University, the School of Informatics and this programme will enhance your standing with many types of employer.

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The Centre for Neuroregeneration (CNR) conducts research at the cellular and molecular levels. If you apply for one of the programmes listed on the right, you should have already been in contact with your potential future supervisor and have agreed on a research proposal. Read more

Research profile

The Centre for Neuroregeneration (CNR) conducts research at the cellular and molecular levels.

If you apply for one of the programmes listed on the right, you should have already been in contact with your potential future supervisor and have agreed on a research proposal. Otherwise please go to the MSc by Research in Integrative Neuroscience website. This is a programme that will match you up with supervisors and there is no need for a research proposal at this point.

We actively collaborate with clinical neuroscientists as well as computational neuroscientists working in neuroinformatics.

The Edinburgh neuroscience community maintains the highest standards of research training and a long tradition of research publication in international journals.

The division has several interdisciplinary research groups studying the degeneration and repair of neurons and the mechanisms that underlie human neurological diseases.

Training and support

We normally have about 20 PhD students.

Students are assigned to the relevant research group. Each student's progress is monitored by a thesis committee convened from members within these groups. Students participate in a weekly graduate seminar programme, presenting their analysis of original research papers assigned by an expert member of the Edinburgh neuroscience community.

All students are encouraged to present their findings at national and international conferences and to publish their findings in international journals, in advance of submission of their PhD theses for examination.

Facilities

The CNR has state-of-the-art laboratories in the Chancellor’s Building.

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