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Masters Degrees (Protein Crystallography)

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This postgraduate course is an excellent introduction to protein crystallography. It is designed for those who are interested in pursuing a career in this exciting and rapidly expanding field, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, or for those who would like to expand and update their existing scientific knowledge. Read more
This postgraduate course is an excellent introduction to protein crystallography. It is designed for those who are interested in pursuing a career in this exciting and rapidly expanding field, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, or for those who would like to expand and update their existing scientific knowledge.

Up-to-date descriptions of the background, methods and techniques of protein crystallography are explained, and the programme gives the biologically orientated scientist a mainly non-mathematical insight into how protein crystal structures are determined and how results should be judged.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Study by distance learning, wherever you are in the world, with our internet-based teaching.
You will interact with your tutors and fellow students through email lists, submit written assignments by email, and attend online tutorials in real time using a chatroom-based interface.
May be taken as a stand-alone award or as part of our innovative distance learning MSc Structural Molecular Biology.
Taught within the Department of Biological Sciences which, with University College London, is part of the leading research-based Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology. Several of the department’s world-class researchers contribute to the course.

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The Masters in Biophysical Science has been created to bring excellent science, mathematics and. engineering graduates to a position where they can start with confidence on a wide range of careers. Read more
The Masters in Biophysical Science has been created to bring excellent science, mathematics and
engineering graduates to a position where they can start with confidence on a wide range of careers
in the life sciences. This is in response to the growing need for graduates who can apply their
subject knowledge outside of the traditional boundaries of their discipline.

Course Structure

Each Biophysical Sciences Masters student selects six taught modules from a selection of
fundamental and specialised modules. These modules are designed to provide key knowledge and
skills. Also available to students is the module Communicating Science which will give further
opportunity to develop transferable skills.
Following the taught section of the course an extended research project will be undertaken in a
research laboratory under the supervision of a Durham University Academic with expertise in the
area of biophysical science research. The project will be chosen by the Masters Student from a
selection of projects nominated by Durham Academics. Research projects will allow students to
develop vital research skills and will give first-hand experience of ground-breaking biophysical
science research.

Core Modules

*
•Molecular Cell Biology
•Making Organic Molecules
•Experimental Design and Analysis
•Mathematical Tools
•Practical Course in Basic Biological Techniques

Optional modules

•Protein Crystallography
•Techniques in Cognitive Neuroscience
•Molecular Probes and their Use
•Medicinal Chemistry
•Soft Matter and Biological Physics
•Systems Biology and Bayesian Inference
•Macrobiomolecule Dynamics

Transferrable Skills

•Communicating Science

Research project

•Biophysical science research project

Note *:

All students will take the modules Molecular Cell Biology (B101); Practical Course in Basic Biological
Techniques (B105) and the transferable skills course: Communicating Science. Students with a first
degree in Chemistry, Physics or Mathematics will not take the fundamental module based on their
first degree discipline. They will take Molecular Cell Biology plus two of the remaining three
Fundamental Modules, avoiding the module in the discipline of their first degree. They will also take
three specialised modules. Students with other first degrees will take all four Fundamental Modules
plus two Specialised Modules.

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Our modular distance learning programme provides you with a grounding in the structure of proteins, and the main techniques that are used to study protein structure. Read more
Our modular distance learning programme provides you with a grounding in the structure of proteins, and the main techniques that are used to study protein structure.

Structural biology allows you to understand how macromolecules work at the atomic level of detail. This is important, particularly in designing drugs which act at the molecular level to affect macromolecules. Increasingly, research uses a range of complementary biophysical and structural techniques to study protein-protein interactions. This requires that researchers have some understanding of what all these techniques can achieve. This programme is designed to give the theoretical background required to use this range of methods.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

Study by distance learning, wherever you are in the world, with our internet-based teaching.
Graduates are well placed to study for PhDs, start professional research careers, or change disciplines to encompass this important area of modern molecular biology.
Part of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint initiative with University College London.
Birkbeck houses state-of-the-art equipment for X-ray crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy and tomography and associated image processing. We have excellent facilities for UV and CD spectroscopy, calorimetry, fluorescence spectroscopy, ultracentrifugation, and protein expression and purification in the biochemical and molecular biology laboratories. We have a 158 processor cluster for intensive data processing. All areas have specialised computer equipment for data analysis, molecular graphics and molecular modelling and programming.

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The MPhil is offered by the Department of Chemistry as a full-time period of research and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge. Read more
The MPhil is offered by the Department of Chemistry as a full-time period of research and introduces students to research skills and specialist knowledge. Students are integrated into the research culture of the Department by joining a research group, supervised by one of our academic staff, in one of the following areas of Chemistry:

Biological:

with a focus on enzymes, nucleic acids, protein folding and misfolding, and physical techniques; with relevance to health and disease, drug discovery, sensors, nanotechnology, ageing and energy research applications.

Materials Chemistry:

including surfaces, interfaces, polymers, nanoparticles and nanoporous materials, self assembly, and biomaterials, with applications relevant to: oil recovery and separation, catalysis, photovoltaics, fuel cells and batteries, crystallization and pharmaceutical formulation, gas sorption, energy, functional materials, biocompatible materials, computer memory, and sensors.

Physical Chemistry:

including atmospheric sciences, surfaces and interfaces, materials, and physical and chemical aspects of the behaviour of biopolymers and other soft systems.

Synthetic Chemistry:

including complex molecule synthesis, synthetic catalysis, synthetic assembly, synthetic biology and medicine, new technology for efficient synthesis, green synthesis, and preparation of new materials.

Theory, Modelling and Informatics:

including quantum dynamics, modelling soft materials, protein folding and binding, biomolecules in motion, pharmacological activity, molecular switches, redox chemistry, designing bioactive molecule and drugs, chemical biology, crystallography, and simulation of spectroscopic studies.

Potential supervisors and their area of research expertise may be found at Department of Chemistry (Research): http://www.ch.cam.ac.uk/research

Visit the website: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/pcchmpmch

Course detail

Educational aims of the MPhil programme:

- to give students with relevant experience at first degree level the opportunity to carry out focussed research in the discipline under close supervision; and

- to give students the opportunity to acquire or develop skills and expertise relevant to their research interests and a broader set of transferable skills.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

- a comprehensive understanding of techniques, and a thorough knowledge of the literature, applicable to their own research;
- demonstrated originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;
- shown abilities in the critical evaluation of current research and research techniques and methodologies;
- demonstrated some self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and implementation of research.

Format

The MPhil involves minimal formal teaching. Students may attend the Department's programme of research seminars and other graduate courses, including the Transferable Skills programme that forms part of the PhD programme. Informal opportunities to develop research skills also exist through mentoring and other opportunities by fellow students and members of staff. However, most research training is provided within the research group structure and all students are assigned a research supervisor.

All graduate students receive termly reports written by their supervisors.

Assessment

The scheme of examination for the MPhil in Chemistry shall consist of a thesis, of not more than 15,000 words in length, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices, on a subject approved by the Degree Committee for the Faculty of Physics and Chemistry, submitted for examination at the end of 11 months. The examination shall include an oral examination on the thesis and on the general field of knowledge within which it falls. The thesis shall provide evidence to satisfy the Examiners that a candidate can design and carry out investigations, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspectives of the subject.

Continuing

The Department offers a PhD in Chemistry course and MPhil students can apply to continue as a graduate student on this course.

MPhil students currently studying a relevant course at the University of Cambridge will need to pass their MPhil course (if examined only by thesis) or obtain a minimum merit (if there is a marked element) in order to be eligible to continue onto the PhD in Chemistry.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

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This course is designed with industry in mind. We have also partnered with Engineering Materials and Physics to encompass the breadth of modern polymer science and technology. Read more

About the course

This course is designed with industry in mind. We have also partnered with Engineering Materials and Physics to encompass the breadth of modern polymer science and technology. You’ll become the kind of high-calibre polymer science graduate needed to develop new products and processes in a variety of industries.

Through a combination of theory and practice, we’ll teach you about polymer synthesis, physics, characterisation and the latest developments in polymer research. When you design and conduct your own extended research project, you can look in more detail at the areas you’re most interested in and learn how to communicate your science to the chemical community.

Your future

Our graduates are highly valued in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector. They work all over the world for companies including AkzoNobel, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Corus, Dow Chemicals, GSK, Smith and Nephew and Syngenta. Many move on to PhD study, then careers in research or teaching.

Chemistry is vital to the way we live. It helps power industry and drive economic growth. Polymer science contributes to advances in everything from biology to engineering and medicine. As a researcher in industry or academia you could be involved in work that improves lives and changes the way we see the world.

Learn from world-class research

Top-quality research directly informs our teaching. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rates 98 per cent of our work world-class or internationally excellent. You’ll learn about the very latest developments from experts in theory and spectroscopy, synthesis, analytical science, chemical biology and materials.

Labs, equipment and training

We’ll train you to use our modern analytical instrumentation. We have NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography, polymer characterisation methods and advanced microscopy. We also have a team of technicians to assist with spectroscopic services. There are labs for molecular biology, protein chemistry, polymer/colloid synthesis and materials characterisation.

Core modules

Fundamental Polymer Chemistry; The Physics of Polymers; Biopolymers and Biomaterials; Polymer Characterisation and Analysis; Research and Presentation Skills and Polymer Laboratory Skills; Extended Research Project.

Examples of optional modules

Smart Polymers and Polymeric Materials; Polymers with Controlled Structures; Design and Manufacture of Composites; Polymer Fibre Composite Materials; Macromolecules at Interfaces and Structured Organic Films; Electronics and Photonics.

Teaching and assessment

We use a mixture of lectures, practicals, workshops and individual research projects. The optional modules in the second semester enable you to specialise in two specific areas of polymer science. You can also tailor your research project to your particular interests.

For all taught modules, written exams contribute 75 per cent towards your final grade. The other 25 per cent comes from continuous assessment, which might include essays on specialised topics or assessed workshops. You also produce a 15,000-word dissertation based on your research project.

Your research project

This can be based in an academic group at the University, or in industry. If it’s industry- based, the topic is usually suggested by the company you’re working with. You may be expected to liaise closely with the company to organise your project.

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This course in Industrial Physical Biochemistry provides graduates with an advanced knowledge and understanding of physical biochemistry, with particular relevance to industry. Read more
This course in Industrial Physical Biochemistry provides graduates with an advanced knowledge and understanding of physical biochemistry, with particular relevance to industry. Focusing upon technical knowledge and practical skills, the course is ideal for those wishing to pursue careers in research or develop a leading career in the field of physical biochemistry.

Specialist facilities in the School relevant to Industrial Physical Biochemistry include analytical ultracentrifugation, light scattering, protein and carbohydrate biochemistry, and access to Surface Plasmon Resonance, Atomic Force Microscopy, Fluorescence, X-ray crystallography and NMR facilities.

Computing facilities within the School are excellent. Advice on mathematical analysis, statistical design and computer programming is provided.

You will undertake a taught module (Fundamentals of Biomolecular Science) during the autumn semester with lectures, tutorials and a practical. The research module takes place from the start of the course (late September) until the end of August the following year. This is an opportunity to complete a major piece of independent research under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The project can be undertaken wholly or partially in an industrial company’s laboratory in any field of physical biochemistry. There are also two generic training modules.

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This 12-month course is ideal if you want to develop skills in a range of areas. It includes project work and an introduction to research-level theory. Read more

About the course

This 12-month course is ideal if you want to develop skills in a range of areas. It includes project work and an introduction to research-level theory. You’ll take taught classes for the first two semesters. In the third semester, you’ll work on an extended research project of your own.

Employers value this kind of experience. By the time you graduate, you’ll have proved you can work within a research group, organise your own research, complete a project and communicate your findings.

Your future

Our graduates are highly valued in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector. They work all over the world for companies including AkzoNobel, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Corus, Dow Chemicals, GSK, Smith and Nephew and Syngenta. Many move on to PhD study, then careers in research or teaching.

Chemistry is vital to the way we live. It helps power industry and drive economic growth. Polymer science contributes to advances in everything from biology to engineering and medicine. As a researcher in industry or academia you could be involved in work that improves lives and changes the way we see the world.

Learn from world-class research

Top-quality research directly informs our teaching. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) rates 98 per cent of our work world-class or internationally excellent. You’ll learn about the very latest developments from experts in theory and spectroscopy, synthesis, analytical science, chemical biology and materials.

Labs, equipment and training

We’ll train you to use our modern analytical instrumentation. We have NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, x-ray crystallography, polymer characterisation methods and advanced microscopy. We also have a team of technicians to assist with spectroscopic services. There are labs for molecular biology, protein chemistry, polymer/colloid synthesis and materials characterisation.

Core modules

You’ll carry out two smaller laboratory projects prior to starting your main research project, to develop practical and scientific communication skill. You also undertake a Research and Presentation Skills module to further develop the higher level skills needed for research.

Examples of optional modules

Lectured modules consist of a wide range of segments, spanning the breadth of chemistry, from which you can choose, to tailor your MSc to your strengths and interests.

Teaching and assessment

We use a mixture of lectures, laboratory practicals, workshops and individual research projects. You may tailor the area of your research project to your particular interests. Assessment of taught modules is through examination, laboratory reports and coursework. Assessment of the project is through a 15,000-word dissertation, oral presentation and viva, as well as assessed performance during the project.

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This programme is offered by the UCL Division of Medicine and the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research and is designed for the more research-oriented student, complementing Drug Design MSc. Read more
This programme is offered by the UCL Division of Medicine and the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research and is designed for the more research-oriented student, complementing Drug Design MSc. Conducting cutting-edge research within the drug industries and UCL's academic group, it offers opportunities for networking and future career development.

Degree information

This programme teaches students the latest methodologies and approaches and covers all aspects of drug design: drug discovery, computational and structural biology, screening, assay development, medicinal chemistry, and most importantly the industrial practices involved in modern drug design technology.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of two core modules (30 credits), three optional modules (45 credits) and a dissertation/report (105 credits).

Optional modules - students will select three from the following Drug Design MSc modules:
-Bioinformatics and Structural Biology as applied to Drug Design
-Biological Molecules as Therapeutics
-Biophysical Screening Methods, X-ray Crystallography, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
-Cheminformatics and Modelling for Drug Design
-Fragment-based Drug Design
-Target Selection – Commercial and Intellectual Property Aspects
-Target Selection – Scientific Grounds

Core modules - plus two taught transferable skills modules delivered by CALT (UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching):
-Investigating Research
-Researcher Professional Development

Dissertation/report
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 to 20,000 words.

Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem classes, critical journal clubs and a research project. Assessment is through coursework, practicals, laboratory work, examination, dissertation and oral presentation.

Careers

We expect students graduating from this programme to take leading roles in drug discovery and development worldwide or to undertake further PhD level research. The first cohort of students on the Drug Design MRes graduating in 2015 have found jobs in the pharmaceutical industry as well as PhD studentships in leading universities.

Employability
The advanced knowledge and skill set acquired by taking this programme will enable students to find employment in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries in a global market.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The division hosts research groups in the areas of medicine, pharmaceutical research, cell cycle, neurobiology, mitochondrial function, stem cells and cancer. Underpinning the translational aspects of the biomedical research, we have a medicinal chemistry group which conducts research where chemistry and biology intersect, using the latest techniques and developing new ones for the study of biological systems.

The division collaborates extensively within industry and academia to develop biological tools and therapeutic agents. There are plenty of opportunities to conduct translational research that has an impact on drug discovery.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies, well established in the West, have been transferring their research and development to the East. Given these substantial developments, particularly in China and India, the programme will have a broad international appeal.

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