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Masters Degrees (Structural Biology)

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This course offers both taught components and extensive research experience for students with backgrounds in biological, chemical and physical sciences. Read more
This course offers both taught components and extensive research experience for students with backgrounds in biological, chemical and physical sciences. It is particularly suitable for those who wish to gain both theoretical and practical research experience in the techniques of structural biology or biocomputing.

Our research areas include:

Molecular chaperones, amyloid fibrils, pore-forming toxins
M. tuberculosis, cytoskeletal proteins
Signal transduction, bacterial pathogenesis and DNA replication
Electron microscopy, cytoskeletal dynamics and function
Electron cryo-microscopy; electron tomography and image processing; development of methods for recognition and separation of heterogeneous molecular complexes; bacteriophage assembly; structural analysis of the transcription factor p53
Hsp90, the kinetochore
DNA repair
Protein folding and misfolding, in particular at the point of synthesis on intact ribosomes
Viral protein-nucleic acid interactions.

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The rapid transformation in the nature of drug discovery means that knowledge of related disciplines, and the technologies used, is essential for those considering a career in commercial or academic research. Read more

The rapid transformation in the nature of drug discovery means that knowledge of related disciplines, and the technologies used, is essential for those considering a career in commercial or academic research.

This MSc will help you explore the latest methods of developing drugs and therapeutic compounds for humans and animals and disease control agents for plants.

You will learn about marketing, licensing and regulations, which are all part of the development process. Our multidisciplinary approach links structural biology, bioinformatics, chemistry and pharmacology.

You will investigate the fundamental scientific problems and techniques of drug discovery and design, alongside the challenges of developing principles for new therapeutic strategies.

You will have hands-on experience of crystallographic computer programming and computation for bioinformatics.

You will consider the moral and ethical aspects of the agrochemical and pharmaceutical industries through case studies, seminars and discussions.

Programme structure

This programme consists of two semesters of taught courses followed by a research project, leading to a dissertation.

Compulsory courses:

  • Applicable Mathematics
  • Molecular Modelling and Database Mining
  • Quantitating Drug Binding
  • Protein Structure Determination
  • Commercial Aspects of Drug Discovery
  • Project Proposal and Literature Review
  • Preparative Methods for Structural Biology
  • Drug Discovery

Option courses:

  • Biochemistry A & B
  • Bioinformatics 1
  • Chemical Medicine
  • Functional Genomic Technologies
  • Biophysical Chemistry for MSc Biochemistry
  • Introduction to Scientific Programming
  • Practical Skills in Biochemistry A & B
  • Introduction to Website and Database Design for Drug Discovery;
  • Detailed Characterisation of Drug or Ligand Interactions Using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR);
  • Bioinformatics Programming & System Management
  • Bioinformatics Algorithms
  • Information Processing in Biological Cells
  • Bioinformatics 2
  • Protein Molecular Modelling Practical Skills
  • Tools for Synthetic Biology

Career opportunities

This MSc is designed to help you pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry or relevant government agencies, and it will provide a good background for managerial or technical roles in research, design and development. It is also a solid basis from which to continue your studies to PhD level.



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This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. Read more
This masters programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications.

It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

This programme is designed to prepare you for a career in research in molecular and cellular biology and its applications. It comprises a year of intensive training and research experience leading to the award of an MRes degree which will give you a ‘flying start’ to a subsequent PhD programme, if this is your chosen career path.

The programme aims to provide training in the practical aspects that underlie research science in this field. To achieve this aim the course contains a very high level of hands-on research, as it is our view there is no better training than lab experience.

Programme content

Two-thirds of the programme is taken up by two approximately 18-week research projects, which are undertaken in different laboratories and with different supervisors. A very wide range of research topics falling within the scope of molecular and cellular biology is available within the School; this range extends from structural biology at one extreme to multicellular systems at the other.

In addition to this direct research experience, there are two compulsory taught modules which provide training in:

- Science Funding and Enterprise Skills in Biosciences
- Techniques in Molecular and Cellular Biology
These modules cover the basic principles underlying scientific research methods and the design of biological/biochemical experiments, and discussion of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology. In addition, the science funding and enterprise module provides the skills required to obtain funding for sciences. This includes grant and business case writing and scientific presentation skills. You can also take courses to develop general research skills arranged through the Biosciences Graduate Research School.

The taught modules consist of a combination of seminars and lectures. The lab work that is carried out during the course is student-led. You will be able to choose areas of molecular and cellular biology that fit with your career aspirations.

Assessment

The two taught modules are assessed via examination, essays and oral presentations. The two research projects are assessed via written thesis and an oral examination.

Skills gained

This programme offers the following advantages:

Broad training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research in molecular and cellular biology
The opportunity to experience research in at least two different areas
Increased breadth and experience, which will enhance subsequent employability
The course will also enable you to:

Conduct and fund independent research
Present research results in an appropriate manner both written and orally
Have an appreciation and knowledge of the use of modern techniques in molecular and cellular biology
Build and develop scientific research projects in the public and private sector
Careers

Those who perform effectively in the MRes often continue at Birmingham to a PhD; however, the MRes also provides a very good qualification to move into research and a wide range of professions.

About the School of Biosciences

As one of the top biosciences departments in the UK, our research covers the entire spectrum of cutting-edge biosciences. We are home to the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and part of the University’s Systems Science for Health initiative.
Our research focuses on a number of important themes that run through modern biological and biochemical research: Biosystems and Environmental Change; Microbiology and Infection; Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health; and Plant Science.
Our postgraduate students join a diverse international community of staff and students. For students on research degrees, the annual Biosciences Graduate Research Symposium, organised by PhD students, is an example of an event where the whole School comes together to talk about science.
We have extensive high-technology facilities in areas such as functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, including a world-class Advanced Mass Spectrometry Facility. Our cutting-edge facilities extend to protein structure determination and analysis, confocal microscopy, drug discovery, horticulture, structural biology and optical imaging. The £8 million Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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This postgraduate programme provides you with a theoretical background for the techniques commonly used in structural biology. Read more
This postgraduate programme provides you with a theoretical background for the techniques commonly used in structural biology. It has been designed for scientists wishing to update their knowledge, or as part of the background studies of research students, particularly those whose undergraduate studies were in a different area.

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.
May be taken as a stand-alone award or as part of our innovative distance learning MSc Structural Molecular Biology.
Part of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint initiative with University College London.

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Research in the School of Biosciences centres around four interlinked groupings, which focus on multi and interdisciplinary research. Read more
Research in the School of Biosciences centres around four interlinked groupings, which focus on multi and interdisciplinary research.

Each theme represents areas of research excellence in human, animal, plant, microbial, cell and molecular biology, and these areas integrate with systems biology and structural biology.

Research students at the School are members of the Biosciences Graduate Research School, and receive training in many generic and transferable skills in addition to those that are specific to their research discipline. We give special emphasis to postgraduate student research training, including regular monitoring of progress and the provision of an induction programme and short courses in core and specialised techniques.

About the School of Biosciences

As one of the top biosciences departments in the UK, our research covers the entire spectrum of cutting-edge biosciences. We are home to the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and part of the University’s Systems Science for Health initiative.
Our research focuses on a number of important themes that run through modern biological and biochemical research: Biosystems and Environmental Change; Microbiology and Infection; Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health; and Plant Science.
Our postgraduate students join a diverse international community of staff and students. For students on research degrees, the annual Biosciences Graduate Research Symposium, organised by PhD students, is an example of an event where the whole School comes together to talk about science.
We have extensive high-technology facilities in areas such as functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, including a world-class Advanced Mass Spectrometry Facility. Our cutting-edge facilities extend to protein structure determination and analysis, confocal microscopy, drug discovery, horticulture, structural biology and optical imaging. The £8 million Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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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 the 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 the 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.

About this degree

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).

Core modules

  • Investigating Research
  • Researcher Professional Development

Plus two taught transferable skills modules delivered by CALT (UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching

Optional modules

Students select three of the following.

  • Bioinformatics and Structural Biology as applied to Drug Design
  • Target Identification and High Throughput Screening
  • Cheminformatics and Computer Drug Design
  • Biological Molecules as Therapeutics - Antibodies, siRNA, and Stem Cells
  • Biophysical Screening Methods, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
  • Fragment-based Drug Design
  • Target Selection - Commercial and Intellectual Property Aspects
  • Target Selection - Scientific Grounds

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.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Drug Design MRes

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. Drug Design MRes graduates 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.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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: Division of Medicine

80% 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.



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This MSc offers a comprehensive guide to all aspects of modern day drug design. It is taught by research scientists, clinicians and industry experts. Read more

This MSc offers a comprehensive guide to all aspects of modern day drug design. It is taught by research scientists, clinicians and industry experts. Our graduates have progressed to undertake or obtain PhDs or medical studentships, or have found employment in both the private and public sector.

About this degree

The programme covers all aspects of drug design, including genomics, bioinformatics, structural biology, cheminformatics, molecular modelling and fragment-based drug design, drug target selection, intellectual property and marketing. New therapies and research areas such as antibodies, siRNA, stem cells and high throughput screening are covered. Students will develop essential skills such as research methods and techniques of drug design.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of eight core modules (120 credits) and a research project (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is also offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is also offered

Core modules

  • Bioinformatics and Structural Biology
  • Target Identification and High Throughput Screening
  • Cheminformatics and Computer Drug Design
  • Biological Molecules as Therapeutics - Antibodies, siRNA, and Stem Cells
  • Biophysical Screening Methods, Protein NMR and Phenotypic Screening
  • Fragment Based Drug Design (FBDD)
  • Target Selection - Scientific Grounds
  • Target Selection - Commercial and Intellectual Property

Optional modules

There are no optional modules for this programme.

Dissertation/report

All MSc students undertake an independent research project which can take the form of a wet lab or dry lab computational or modelling based project or an external project with an industrial sponsor.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, self study, practical sessions and discussion groups. The research project forms one third of the programme. Each of the taught modules is assessed by unseen written examination (50%) and coursework (50%). The research project is assessed by the dissertation and viva.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Drug Design MSc

Careers

The programme will provide a good background for students looking to establish a career in drug design/discovery and related industries (biotech, pharma, national research laboratories and NHS agencies), and for industry professionals seeking to gain a greater understanding of new methodology. The knowledge and transferable skills delivered will also be useful for those intent on further PhD or medical studies.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Clinical Research Assistant, King's College London
  • Laboratory Analyst, GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)
  • Scientist, AstraZeneca
  • PhD Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
  • PhD Researcher (Molecular Biology), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)

Employability

Graduates from this programme have progressed to PhD/medical studentships at different universities and research institutes around the world, including Oxford, UCL, Grenoble, EMBL, and in the USA and China. Many alumni have secured positions in research teaching and technical sales in the private and public sectors.

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL is ranked 7th in the QS World University Rankings 2018 and is located in the centre of one of the world's finest cities. UCL is one of Europe's best and largest centres for biomedical research.

At the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, we have pioneered multidisciplinary research with a particular emphasis on translating that research into useful clinical benefit. Our research expertise includes: medicinal chemistry, computational drug design, neuronal development and signalling, cell cycle control, intensive care medicine, stem cells, mitochondrial biology and cancer.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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: Division of Medicine

80% 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.



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Goal of the pro­gramme. Read more

Goal of the pro­gramme

How do genes regulate the development and functioning of cells, tissues and organisms? How do molecules, cells and tissues function and communicate with each other, and how are their functions studied? These are the key issues for understanding molecular and cellular mechanisms, whose disruption can contribute to the onset and progression of various diseases. Researchers in the fields of genetics, genomics, cellular and developmental biology, biochemistry, structural biology, and biosciences of health are searching for the answers to these questions.

Upon completing the Master’s Programme in Genetics and Molecular Biosciences:

  • You will have in-depth knowledge of genetics and molecular biosciences and of the experimental methods used in them.
  • You will understand the characteristics and functions of genes and biomolecules at the cellular, tissue and organism levels.
  • You will be able to analyse scientific knowledge critically and communicate it to different audiences.
  • You will have the ability to produce new scientific information about the properties of genes, biomolecules and cells by means of experimental studies.
  • You will be able to take advantage of existing research data and biological databases.
  • You will have mastered good scientific practice and know how to act accordingly.
  • You will have the capacity for independent project management and problem solving, as well as for maintaining and developing your own expertise.
  • You will have the ability to work in multi-disciplinary and multicultural communities.

Further information about the studies on the Master's programme website.

Pro­gramme con­tents

The Master's programme is based on basic scientific research. In the programme you will acquire knowledge and skills in modern genetics and molecular biosciences, which you will deepen in your chosen field of specialisation. The programme is tightly integrated with the experimental research carried out at the University of Helsinki in genetics, genomics, biochemistry, structural biology, and cellular and developmental biology. By combining course units, you will be able to acquire a broad-based understanding of biological phenomena and of the molecules that have an effect on health, including their interactions and functions at the levels of cells, tissues and organisms. 

Courses include a variety of working methods: seminars, lectures, laboratory work, oral and written presentations, project work in small groups, independent studies and study circles formed by the students. The instruction will utilise digital learning environments.

These diverse teaching methods require active involvement from you. They will develop your ability to search, structure and present new information, as well as to draw conclusions. You will learn about the principles and methods of research during laboratory exercises, and about practical work in research groups and when writing your Master's thesis. In addition to academic excellence, you will acquire general working life skills such as fact-finding, problem solving, communication, project management and teamwork. You will acquire competence both for post-graduate studies in a Doctoral Programme and for expert positions immediately after gaining your Master's degree.



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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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This research-based course provides a highly specialised biochemical education and practical training. It will give you the fundamental skills to enable you to enter a research career in modern biochemical research in industry or academia. Read more
This research-based course provides a highly specialised biochemical education and practical training.

It will give you the fundamental skills to enable you to enter a research career in modern biochemical research in industry or academia.

There is considerable flexibility and you will be able to focus on specialist subjects consistent with your interests and career intentions.

This course will be of great benefit to graduates in biochemistry, biology, structural biology and related disciplines

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One of the most rapidly developing areas of toxicology is the use of molecular, cell biology and omics to identify adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) and to develop a mechanistic understanding of chemical toxicity at the cellular and molecular level. Read more
One of the most rapidly developing areas of toxicology is the use of molecular, cell biology and omics to identify adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) and to develop a mechanistic understanding of chemical toxicity at the cellular and molecular level. This is not only of fundamental interest (i.e., understanding the mechanism of action) but it also relates to an increased need for a mechanistic component in chemical risk assessment and development of high throughput screens for chemical toxicity.

The MRes in Molecular Mechanistic Toxicology is a one-year full-time programme that provides students with a research-orientated training in a lively, highly interactive teaching and research environment.

Programme content

The programme is coordinated by the School of Biosciences, which is recognised internationally as a major centre for both teaching and research in Toxicology. Molecular Toxicology is a major component of the School of Biosciences research activities along with interactions with other departments including Chemistry and the Medical School.

Specific areas of active research include:

- Mechanisms of cell toxicity
- Development of novel DNA binding chemicals
- Cellular proliferation and differentiation
- Environmental genomics and metabolomics
- Molecular biomarkers of genotoxicity, oxidative stress and cellular responses
- Role of environmental and genetic factors in disease
- Learning and teaching

Two five-week taught modules are held in Semester 1 in conjunction with the taught MSc in Toxicology programme. Training in generic and laboratory research skills is also an important element of the programme. The programme also includes a six-month research project, which provides students with an opportunity for further advanced research training and hands-on experience of molecular and cellular biology techniques embedded in a research laboratory. Research projects can take place either in academic or industrial institutions.

About the School of Biosciences

As one of the top biosciences departments in the UK, our research covers the entire spectrum of cutting-edge biosciences. We are home to the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and part of the University’s Systems Science for Health initiative.
Our research focuses on a number of important themes that run through modern biological and biochemical research: Biosystems and Environmental Change; Microbiology and Infection; Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health; and Plant Science.
Our postgraduate students join a diverse international community of staff and students. For students on research degrees, the annual Biosciences Graduate Research Symposium, organised by PhD students, is an example of an event where the whole School comes together to talk about science.
We have extensive high-technology facilities in areas such as functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, including a world-class Advanced Mass Spectrometry Facility. Our cutting-edge facilities extend to protein structure determination and analysis, confocal microscopy, drug discovery, horticulture, structural biology and optical imaging. The £8 million Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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The programme aims to provide students with training and learning opportunities in the skills and specialised knowledge needed to equip them for a career in biotechnology, molecular biotechnology or molecular biology, in particular in industry. Read more
The programme aims to provide students with training and learning opportunities in the skills and specialised knowledge needed to equip them for a career in biotechnology, molecular biotechnology or molecular biology, in particular in industry.

Practical skills will include sessions on fermentation, molecular biology, immunology, cell biology and protein chemistry, and you will go on to complete a major, supervised laboratory or computer-based research project.

Transferable skills gained via this programme will include written and oral presentation skills, statistics, and the ability to plan and write a grant application or a business plan. Subject-specific skills will include key techniques used in molecular biotechnology, specialist knowledge in theoretical and practical aspects of the subject, including: process engineering, molecular biology, functional genomics, 'omics' technologies, protein expression systems and antibody engineering. Practical skills will include fermentation, molecular biology, immunology, cell biology and protein chemistry.

Careers

While many graduates will go on to employment in biotechnology companies, you will also be employable in other life sciences industries or able to go on to further study and research.

About the School of Biosciences

As one of the top biosciences departments in the UK, our research covers the entire spectrum of cutting-edge biosciences. We are home to the Institute of Microbiology and Infection and part of the University’s Systems Science for Health initiative.
Our research focuses on a number of important themes that run through modern biological and biochemical research: Biosystems and Environmental Change; Microbiology and Infection; Molecules, Cells, Signalling and Health; and Plant Science.
Our postgraduate students join a diverse international community of staff and students. For students on research degrees, the annual Biosciences Graduate Research Symposium, organised by PhD students, is an example of an event where the whole School comes together to talk about science.
We have extensive high-technology facilities in areas such as functional genomics, proteomics and metabolomics, including a world-class Advanced Mass Spectrometry Facility. Our cutting-edge facilities extend to protein structure determination and analysis, confocal microscopy, drug discovery, horticulture, structural biology and optical imaging. The £8 million Phenome Centre Birmingham is a large metabolic phenotyping facility led by internationally recognised metabolomics and clinical experts at the University of Birmingham, in collaboration with Birmingham Health Partners.

Funding and Scholarships

There are many ways to finance your postgraduate study at the University of Birmingham. To see what funding and scholarships are available, please visit: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding

Open Days

Explore postgraduate study at Birmingham at our on-campus open days.
Register to attend at: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/postgraduate/visit

Virtual Open Days

If you can’t make it to one of our on-campus open days, our virtual open days run regularly throughout the year. For more information, please visit: http://www.pg.bham.ac.uk

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Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. Read more

Whether you are a new graduate or already employed and seeking to further your career prospects, this course offers a solid career development path. You can also choose this course if you wish to pursue research in biotechnology at PhD level.

Biotechnology is the application of biological processes and is underpinned by • cell biology • molecular biology • bioinformatics • structural biology. It encompasses a wide range of technologies for modifying living organisms or their products according to human needs.

Applications of biotechnology span medicine, technology and engineering.

Important biotechnological advances including

  • the production of therapeutic proteins using cloned DNA, for example insulin and clotting factors
  • the application of stem cells to treat human disease
  • the enhancement of crop yields and plants with increased nutritional value
  • herbicide and insect resistant plants
  • production of recombinant antibodies for the treatment of disease
  • edible vaccines, in the form of modified plants
  • development of biosensors for the detection of biological and inorganic analytes

You gain

  • up-to-date knowledge of the cellular and molecular basis of biological processes
  • an advanced understanding of DNA technology and molecular biotechnology
  • knowledge of developing and applying biotechnology to diagnosis and treatment of human diseases
  • practical skills applicable in a range of bioscience laboratories
  • the transferable and research skills to enable you to continue developing your knowledge and improving your employment potential

The course is led by academics who are actively involved in biotechnology research and its application to the manipulation of proteins, DNA, mammalian cells and plants. Staff also have expertise in the use of nanoparticles in drug delivery and the manipulation of microbes in industrial and environmental biotechnology.

You are supported throughout your studies by an academic advisor who will help you develop your study and personal skills.

What is biotechnology

Biotechnology is the basis for the production of current leading biopharmaceuticals and has already provided us with the 'clot-busting' drug, tissue plasminogen activator for the treatment of thrombosis and myocardial infarction. It also holds the promise of new treatments for neurodegeneration and cancer through recombinant antibodies.

Genetically modified plants have improved crop yields and are able to grow in a changing environment. Manipulation of cellular organisms through gene editing methods have also yielded a greater understanding of many disease states and have allowed us to understand how life itself functions.

Course structure

You begin your studies focusing on the fundamentals of advanced cell biology and molecular biology before specialising in both molecular and plant biotechnology. Practical skills are developed throughout the course and you gain experience in molecular biology techniques such as PCR and sub cloning alongside tissue culture.

Core to the program is the practical module where you gain experience in a range of techniques used in the determination of transcription and translational levels, for example.

All practicals are supported by experienced academic staff, skilled in the latest biotechnological techniques.

Research and statistical skills are developed throughout the program. Towards the end of the program you apply your skills on a two month research project into a current biotechnological application. Employability skills are developed throughout the course in two modules.

The masters (MSc) award is achieved by successfully completing 180 credits.

The postgraduate certificate (PgCert) is achieved by successfully completing 60 credits.

The postgraduate diploma (PgDip) is achieved by successfully completing 120 credits. 

Core modules:

  • Cell biology (15 credits)
  • Biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Plant biotechnology (15 credits)
  • Molecular biology (15 credits)
  • Applied biomedical techniques (15 credits)
  • Professional development (15 credits)
  • Research methods and statistics (15 credits)
  • Research project (60 credits)

Optional modules :

  • Human genomics and proteomics (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of disease (15 credits)
  • Cellular and molecular basis of cancer (15 credits)

Assessment

As students progress through the course they are exposed to a wide range of teaching and learning activities. The assessment strategy of the postgraduate course considers diverse assessment methods. Some modules offer dedicated formative feedback to aid skills development with assessments going through several rounds of formative tutor and peer feedback. Summative assessment methods are diverse, with examinations present in theory-based modules to test independent knowledge and data analysis. Several modules are entirely coursework-based, with a portfolio of skills such laboratory practical's and research proposals generated throughout the course forming the summative tasks. In all cases, the assessment criteria for all assessed assignments are made available to student prior to submission. 

Employability

The course is suitable for people wishing to develop their knowledge of molecular and cell biotechnology and its application to solving health and industrial problems.

You can find career opportunities in areas such as

  • biotechnology research
  • medical research in universities and hospitals
  • government research agencies
  • biotechnology industry
  • pharmaceutical industry.

Students on this course have gone on to roles including experimental officers in contract research, research and development in scientists, diagnostics specialists and applications specialists. Many of our graduates also go on to study for PhDs and continue as academic lecturers.



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This degree allows you to undertake a major research project in a specialised subject within the UCL Division of Biosciences. To cater for the diversity of topics available, the degree is split into ten subject streams, each with a dedicated tutor. Read more

This degree allows you to undertake a major research project in a specialised subject within the UCL Division of Biosciences. To cater for the diversity of topics available, the degree is split into ten subject streams, each with a dedicated tutor. The programme can act as a gateway into further research in academia or industry.

About this degree

Students gain knowledge of their chosen specialism through the major research project, alongside basic skills for planning research and the written, verbal and visual communication of science. The acquisition and critical analysis of primary scientific literature are essential, as is experiencing the multidisciplinary and collaborative nature of bioscience research.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (45 credits), one optional module (15 credits) and a research dissertation (120 credits).

Core modules

  • Research Skills
  • The Scientific Literature
  • Seminar Series

Optional modules

Students select one optional module from the field of study of their chosen subject stream. Choice will be guided by the stream tutor and influenced by students' previous experience and project topic.

  • Genetics
  • Computational Biology
  • Stem Cells and Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
  • Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Biotechnology
  • Biology of Ageing and Age-related Disease
  • Pharmacology

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent laboratory-based research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000-18,000 words.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through lectures, seminars and tutorials, combining research-led and skills-based modules. The core modules are assessed by assignments and coursework, whereas the optional module will also have an examination element. The research project is assessed by an oral presentation, submission of a dissertation and is subject to oral examination.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Biosciences MRes

Careers

This programme provides an ideal foundation for further doctoral research in the field of biosciences, and we envisage that many of the graduates of this programme will undertake a PhD or enter employment in an advanced capacity in industry or the public sector. Approximately 70% of graduates have obtained a funded PhD position, either at UCL or elsewhere.

Recent career destinations for this degree

  • Assistant Editor, Biomed Central
  • Histopathology Trainee, London Deanery (NHS)
  • PhD in Biosciences (Brain Sciences), UCL
  • PhD in Structural and Molecular Biology, UCL
  • PhD in Evolutionary Development, University of York

Employability

The flexibility and responsiveness of the Biosciences MRes programme provides training in many areas of cutting-edge scientific research. This launches our students into prime academic and industrial careers. Most of our students progress to further study in PhD positions at leading universities but others in the past have used the generic training from the programme to enter medical publishing and commercial science laboratories, for example.

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL is recognised as one of the world's best research environments within the field of biological and biomedical science.

The UCL Division of Biosciences is in a unique position to offer tuition, research opportunities in internationally recognised laboratories and an appreciation of the multidisciplinary nature of biosciences research.

The division includes the Departments of Cell & Developmental Biology; Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology; Genetics, Evolution & Environment; and Structural & Molecular Biology and also hosts the Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, the UCL Genetics Institute and the Institute for Healthy Ageing.

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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: Division of Biosciences

82% 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.



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Learn the specialist techniques that form the basis of modern biotechnology. Discover the complexities of macromolecular structure and function. Read more

Learn the specialist techniques that form the basis of modern biotechnology. Discover the complexities of macromolecular structure and function.

Your studies will focus on the integration of structural biology and bioinformatics approaches. You’ll gain an understanding of the activity of proteins, including enzymes, antibodies and receptors at a molecular level. You will learn how to use techniques such as structure-based drug design, biocatalysis and protein engineering, which are the basis for many recent advances in biotechnology.

The course will give you invaluable transferable skills for your future career which is ideal if you want to specialise in a particular field or change direction from your first degree. You’ll have the option to choose from a wide variety of optional interdisciplinary units, allowing you to tailor your course.

Your studies will help you develop the skills you need to move into a wide range of careers in the sciences or to take on further research. Our graduates have an excellent employment record with companies and academic institutions across the globe. Graduates have moved into roles with employers including Biocapita in Beijing, BBSRC in the UK and National University of Singapore in Malaysia.

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-2018/taught-postgraduate-master-s-courses/msc-protein-structure-and-function/

Why study Biology and Biochemistry with us?

- 90% of our research judged to be internationally recognised, excellent or world-leading

- Our current research funding portfolio stands at £14 million, supporting internationally excellent research in the biosciences

What will I learn?

The aim of each of our MSc programmes in Biology and Biochemistry is to provide professional-level training that will develop highly skilled bioscientists with strong theoretical, research and transferable skills, all of which are necessary to work at the forefront of modern biosciences.

For further information please see our department pages (http://www.bath.ac.uk/bio-sci/)

Career opportunities

Since graduating, our students have gone on to employment or further research at institutions in the US, Europe, Australia, Asia and Africa.

Recent employers include:

Morvus-Technology Ltd

Janssen-Cilag

Royal United Hospital, Bath

Ministry of Defence

State Intellectual Property Office, Beijing

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford University

AbCam

Salisbury Foundation Trust Hospital

BBSRC

Lonza

Find out more about the department here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/bio-sci/

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/science/graduate-school/taught-programmes/how-to-apply/



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