Dementia (including a raft of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease) has recently become the leading cause of death in the UK. Stem cells are a novel and relatively young branch of scientific research that hold the potential for not only therapies but to be able to accurately model these distinctly human diseases.
This unique programme will offer students real-world perspectives from patients, carers, scientists and a range of health care professionals including world-leading experts on the impact of neurological diseases.
This programme offers cutting edge translational neuroscience focused on stem cells, neurodegenerative diseases, regeneration and models (both animal and cell). Furthermore the inclusion of patients and importantly their carers and the real-life impacts of these diseases on individuals will be a common thread running throughout this programme making it truly unique and exceptionally novel.
This programme is designed for medical and/or scientific professionals and aims to introduce students to the fields of neurodegenerative diseases, stem cells, industry and emerging therapeutic opportunities in regenerative / translational neurology. Overall students will gain the knowledge and understanding of the clinical, real-life impact and scientific realities of these fields and thus advance their own learning and be able to carry this forward into their future careers.
Therefore students will be introduced to a range of topics as they progress through the programme from introducing the basic anatomy, structure and development of the central nervous system, a critical understanding of stem cells including sources, locations and roles, an introduction to multiple neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson’s disease), from both clinical and patient angles, before being introduced to in vitro and in vivo modelling of these diseases, neuroimaging techniques, stem cells and industry.
This part-time, fully online programme will support the need for up-to-date knowledge, skills and theory in a wide variety by the use of not only world leading clinical and scientific experts but also by using the real-life impacts as viewed by patients, the people who care for them and the frontline health professionals. All of this expertise will be presented utilising a range of techniques including: online lectures, practical studies, directed readings and other video and audio resources.
Discussion boards will provide directed assessment tasks while input from expert guest lecturers and tutors offer students opportunity for collaborative critical discourse and debate of current issues.
Within the programme, students can progress from Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), to Postgraduate Diploma (120credits) and to Master of Science degrees (180 credits) as they successfully complete the required number of credits for each level and can therefore stop at any stage or continue onwards depending on their situation.
Composed of 4 core courses to provide the fundamental foundations for the Diploma and MSc but can also be taken as a self-contained PGCert. It will cover fundamental areas including key basic research skills (such as how to critically evaluate scientific manuscripts, as well as a basic understanding of statistics) whilst introducing students to the central nervous system, its basic anatomy and development and stem cells. In parallel students would cover an introduction to neurodegenerative diseases (that would include Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease) before being introduced to in vitro and in vivo modelling of these diseases. Finally students would also learn about neuroimaging and its potential roles for scientific research.
Expands on the PGCert courses as well as introducing greater depth to novel areas such as the roles of pharma and industry with respect to stem cells. A proportion of the Diploma credits are elective and students will be assisted in choosing appropriate options from across the broad spectrum available from Edinburgh University that are relevant to their own situation, employment and career goals.
Students have the opportunity to explore a specialist area from within the broad spectrum of stem cells, regeneration and translational neuroscience in the form of either a dissertation, or, a structured project (the student would themselves have to source this if desired), which would aim to deliver a ‘real world’ project with a direct impact for an employer, organisation or personal goal. A third option available for students is a choice of 60 fully taught credits.
The minimum recommended time for completion of the full Masters programme is three years, and the maximum time for completion is six years. The Certificate and Diploma can be completed on a pro rata basis.
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)
Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course(s), without the time or financial commitment of a full Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate.
You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses over two years through our PPD scheme. These lead to a University of Edinburgh postgraduate award of academic credit. Alternatively, after one year of taking courses you can choose to transfer your credits and continue on to studying towards a higher award on a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
Although PPD courses have various start dates throughout a year you may only start a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme in the month of September. Any time spent studying PPD will be deducted from the amount of time you will have left to complete a Masters, Postgraduate Diploma or Postgraduate Certificate programme.
Potential career paths, exits routes and employers are very diverse and depend on the students chosen carer. For students working in a clinical environment this programme would offer them career advancement/specialism within their clinical setting.
For students coming from a scientific background there is the opportunity to improve carer prospects in laboratory research settings or alternatively to help in progressing to a PhD.
The pharmaceutical and life sciences industries are investing in stem cells, either in direct applications where the stem cells themselves would be used for therapy or indirectly, where stem cell derived tissues will be used for drug screening and toxicity testing.
This programme is intended to meet current and future needs of the pharmaceutical industry and health care providers by providing a cadre of well-trained scientists capable of fulfilling managerial, administrative, research and technical roles within the developing commercial regenerative medicine sector.
Our programme covers key theoretical and practical aspects of the growth and maintenance of pluripotent stem cell lines, the directed differentiation of these cells into defined tissue phenotypes, and the maintenance of the differentiated state under conditions suitable for drug testing/screening programs.
Essential elements of good practice will also be included, such as quality assurance and the regulatory framework that surrounds the derivation, storage and use of human cells.
Our teaching is multidisciplinary, with contributions from the fields of medicine, biology, chemistry and bioinformatics.
The programme contains both taught and independent project components.
There will be an industrial placement of three months, situated within a life sciences company specialising in aspects of regenerative medicine. Financial assistance may be available to cover travel expenses to the location of the industrial placement.
Graduates will be equipped for a variety of roles within the developing commercial regenerative medicine sector.