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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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Programme description. 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

Programme description

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 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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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.

Degree information

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. There are no optional modules for this programme.

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

Dissertation/report
All MSc students undertake an independent research project which can take the form of a literature project, wet lab/computer 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.

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.

Top career destinations for this degree:
-Industrial Chemistry, University of Oxford
-PhD Researcher (Molecular Biology), EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
-Cancer Research, Imperial College London
-PhD Drug Design, University College London (UCL)
-PhD Oncology, Tianjin University

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.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL is listed among the top five universities in the TImes Higher Education QS World University Rankings 2015/16 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.

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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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The two-year MSc Bioinformatics concerns a new scientific discipline with roots in computer science, statistics and molecular biology. Read more

MSc Bioinformatics

The two-year MSc Bioinformatics concerns a new scientific discipline with roots in computer science, statistics and molecular biology. Bioinformaticians apply information technology to store, retrieve and manipulate these data and employ statistical methods capable of analysing large amounts of biological data to predict gene functions and to demonstrate relationships between genes and proteins.

Programme summary

DNA contains information about life, but how is this information used? Biological data, such as DNA and RNA sequence information produced by next-generation sequencing techniques, is accumulating at an unprecedented rate. Life scientists increasingly use bioinformatics resources to address their specific research questions. Bioinformaticians bridge the gap between complex biological research questions and this complex data. Bioinformaticians use and develop computational tools to predict gene function(s) and to demonstrate and model relationships between genes, proteins and metabolites in biological systems. Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that applies computational and statistical techniques to the classification, interpretation and integration of large-scale biological data sets. If different data types are joined then complex interactions in biological systems can be studied. The use of systems biology methods to study complex biological interactions offers a wealth of possibilities to understand various levels of aggregation and enables control of biological systems on different scales. Systems biology approaches are therefore quickly gaining importance in many disciplines of life sciences, such as in applied biotechnology where these methods are now used to develop strategies for improving production in fermentation. Other examples include bioconversion and enzymatic synthesis, and in the study of human metabolism and its alterations where systems biology methods are applied to understand a variety of complex human diseases, including metabolic syndromes and cancer. The Wageningen Master programme focuses on the practical application of bioinformatics and systems biology approaches in many areas of the Life Sciences. To ensure that students acquire a high level of understanding of modelling and computing principles, the students are trained in the fundamentals of database management, computer programming, structural and functional genomics, proteomics and systems biology methods. This training includes advanced elective courses in molecular biology and biostatistics.

Thesis tracks

Bioinformatics
The bioinformatics track focuses on the practical application of bioinformatics knowledge and skills in molecular life sciences. It aims at creating and using bioinformatics resources to address specific research questions. The knowledge and skills gained can be applied in many life science disciplines such as molecular & cell biology, biotechnology, (human) genetics, health & medicine and environmental & biobased technology.

Systems Biology
The systems biology track focuses on the study of the complex interactions in biological systems and on the emerging properties derived from these. Systems biology approaches to complex biological problems offer a wealth of possibilities to understand various levels of aggregation. It enables control of biological systems on completely different scales, ranging from the molecular cellular level to marine, plant, or animal ecosystems to a desired state. The knowledge and skills gained can be applied in many life science disciplines including molecular & cell biology, applied biotechnology, genetics, medicine and vaccine development, environmental and biobased technology.

Your future career

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology are new fast growing biology based interdisciplinary fields of research poorly served by the traditional curricula of Life Sciences. As demand has outpaced the supply of bioinformaticians, the first job after graduation is often a PhD project at a research institute or university. It is expected that five years after graduation, about one third will stay employed as a scientist at a university or research centre, while the others choose for careers at research-oriented pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies.

Alumnus Tom van den Bergh.
"It is sometimes difficult for doctors to diagnose genetic diseases caused by missense mutations. A missense mutation does not necessarily mean that you have the gene-associated disease and will become ill since not all missense mutations lead to appreciable protein changes." Tom created a database for Fabry’s disease for his final thesis. He wrote a computer programme that reads publications and stores all information about Fabry mutations in its database. Genetic researchers can, in turn, quickly access this database to determine if the mutation they found in a patient has already been addressed in literature and what the effects were.

Related programmes:
MSc Biotechnology
MSc Molecular Life Sciences
MSc Plant Biotechnology

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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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Have you ever wondered how the latest life science discoveries - such as a novel stem cell therapy - can move from the lab into commercial scale production?… Read more

Have you ever wondered how the latest life science discoveries - such as a novel stem cell therapy - can move from the lab into commercial scale production? Would you like to know whether it is possible to produce bio-polymers (plastics) and biofuels from municipal or agricultural waste? If you are thinking of a career in the pharma or biotech industries, the Biochemical Engineering MSc could be the right programme for you.

Degree information

Our MSc programme focuses on the core biochemical engineering principles that enable the translation of advances in the life sciences into real processes or products. Students will develop advanced engineering skills (such as bioprocess design, bioreactor engineering, downstream processing), state-of-the-art life science techniques (such as molecular biology, vaccine development, microfluidics) and essential business and regulatory knowledge (such as management, quality control, commercialisation).

Three distinct pathways are offered tailored for graduate scientists, engineers, or biochemical engineers. Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme offers three different pathways (for graduate scientists, engineers, or biochemical engineers) and consists of core taught modules (120 credits) and a research or design project (60 credits).

Core modules for graduate scientists

-Advanced Bioreactor Engineering

-Bioprocess Synthesis and Process Mapping

-Bioprocess Validation and Quality Control

-Commercialisation of Bioprocess Research

-Fluid Flow and Mixing in Bioprocesses

-Heat and Mass Transfers in Bioprocesses

-Integrated Downstream Processing

-Mammalian Cell Culture and Stem Cell Processing

Core modules for graduate engineers

-Advanced Bioreactor Engineering

-Bioprocess Validation and Quality Control**

-Cellular Functioning from Genome to Proteome

-Commercialisation of Bioprocess Research

-Integrated Downstream Processing

-Mammalian Cell Culture and Stem Cell Processing

-Metabolic Processes and Regulation

-Structural Biology and Functional Protein Engineering

-Bioprocess Microfluidics*

-Bioprocess Systems Engineering*

-Bioprocessing and Clinical Translation*

-Cell Therapy Biology*

-Industrial Synthetic Biology*

-Sustainable Bioprocesses and Biorefineries*

-Vaccine Bioprocess Development*

*Core module for graduate biochemical engineers; **core module for both graduate engineers and graduate biochemical engineers

Research project/design project

All MSc students submit a 10,000-word dissertation in either Bioprocess Design (graduate scientists) or Bioprocess Research (graduate engineers and graduate biochemical engineers).

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, tutorials, and individual and group activities. Guest lectures delivered by industrialists provide a professional and social context. Assessment is through unseen written examinations, coursework, individual and group project reports, individual and group oral presentations, and the research or design project.

Careers

The rapid advancements in biology and the life sciences create a need for highly trained, multidisciplinary graduates possessing technical skills and fundamental understanding of both the biological and engineering aspects relevant to modern industrial bioprocesses. Consequently, UCL biochemical engineers are in high demand, due to their breadth of expertise, numerical ability and problem-solving skills. The first destinations of those who graduate from the Master's programme in biochemical engineering reflect the highly relevant nature of the training delivered.

Approximately three-quarters of our graduates elect either to take up employment in the relevant biotechnology industries or study for a PhD or an EngD, while the remainder follow careers in the management, financial or engineering design sectors.

Top career destinations for this degree:

-PhD Degree/Further Studies(Imperial College London, UCL, Cambridge)

-Consultancy (PwC)

-Bioprocess/Biopharma Industry (GSK, Eli Lilley, Synthace)

-Financial Sector

Employability

The department places great emphasis on its ability to assist its graduates in taking up exciting careers in the sector. UCL alumni, together with the department’s links with industrial groups, provide an excellent source of leads for graduates. Over 1,000 students have graduated from UCL with graduate qualifications in biochemical engineering at Master’s or doctoral levels. Many have gone on to distinguished and senior positions in the international bioindustry. Others have followed independent academic careers in universities around the world.

Why study this degree at UCL?

UCL was a founding laboratory of the discipline of biochemical engineering, established the first UK department and is the largest international centre for bioprocess teaching and research. Our internationally recognised MSc programme maintains close links with the research activities of the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering which ensure that lecture and case study examples are built around the latest biological discoveries and bioprocessing technologies.

UCL Biochemical Engineering co-ordinates bioprocess research and training collaborations with more than a dozen UCL departments, a similar number of national and international university partners and over 40 international companies. MSc students directly benefit from our close ties with industry through their participation in the Department’s MBI® Training Programme.

The MBI® Training Programme is the largest leading international provider of innovative UCL-accredited short courses in bioprocessing designed primarily for industrialists. Courses are designed and delivered in collaboration with 70 industrial experts to support continued professional and technical development within the industry. Our MSc students have the unique opportunity to sit alongside industrial delegates, to gain deeper insights into the industrial application of taught material and to build a network of contacts to support their future careers.

Visit the Biochemical Engineering Open Days page on the University College London website for more details on opportunities to come and see our facilities and speak to the team!



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