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Course content

Our Microbiome in Health & Disease MSc provides students with a unique background in all aspects of both analysis of microbiome and determining the role of microbiome in pathology with experience in both computational and experimental techniques.

Designed and delivered by the newly established Centre for Host-Microbiome Interactions (CHMI) at King’s, the course brings together teaching on a varied course incorporating systems biology and bioinformatics with molecular biology, microbiology, immunology and physiology.

Key benefits

  • Deep understanding of microbial communities and their impact on host health and disease.
  • Focus on translation in clinical, agricultural and environmental challenges.
  • Opportunity to undertake research in collaboration with industrial partners.

In the post-human genome project world, our health is dependent on more than our genes. High throughput sequencing reveals the amazing complexity and extent of the microbial communities that reside within or upon us. We are also beginning to understand just how dynamic the interactions between the host and members of communities are. Interactions are diverse, and variations observed between individuals depend on a multitude of microbial and host factors, including diet and inflammatory status. More importantly, it is becoming clear that different disease states are linked to significant changes in the make-up of these communities. Scientists who understand the computational analysis of the huge data sets for microbial communities, and who are also able to interpret findings in the context of human and microbial health, will be in demand across this emerging field in academia and in industry.

Description

The MSc Microbiome in Health & Disease will provide you with a deep understanding of microbial communities and their diversity, and the impact of these communities on host health and disease. You will be exposed to the concepts and techniques involved in profiling and analysing large omics data sets associated with characterising and investigating microbial communities.

You will learn to analyse omics data sets, such as genome, transcriptome, metabolome and metagenome data, and how to integrate these data to develop a holistic understanding of the interactions between host and microbial communities in both health and disease states.

You will also learn how these skills apply in industry and have the opportunity to undertake research in collaboration with industrial partners. You will study the intersection between microbiome and engineering and learn how to identify and develop innovative products in different microbiome fields, applying learning from computational, multiomics analysis and basic biology, through advanced synthetic biology tools, and integrative analysis and modelling, to design new engineered therapeutic microbial communities and optimize their effectiveness in clinical, agricultural and environmental challenges.

You will also undertake a 10,000 word supervised dissertation on a subject within the field of microbiome in health and disease.

Course purpose

The course aims to develop students' knowledge of the microbial communities that reside within or upon us, and how they impact our health and disease processes.

It is designed for students who wish to improve their background knowledge and skills prior to applying for a PhD studentship, and also for students who wish to enhance their knowledge and skill set for analysing and interpreting the large, multiple omics data sets that are involved in microbiome research.

Course format and assessment

The MSc Microbiome in Health & Disease consists of 4 taught modules (two covering microbiology, microbial diversity and host-microbiome interactions, and two covering computational analysis of microbiome, and systems and synthetic biology), followed by a lab-based research project. The taught component will run from September until January, with the research component running from February until August.

Teaching comprises conventional lectures, tutorials and computational workshops, supported by example sessions, project work and independent learning via reading material and online courses. During the computational modules, you will be provided with data sets to analyse for written and oral projects.

After completing the taught component, you will undertake a lab-based research project for which you will provide a proposal and subsequent dissertation and presentation under the guidance of a supervisor.

Teaching

The typical hours you will spend as you progress through your studies are as follows:

Lectures, seminars & feedback: 214 hours

Self-study: 1586 hours

Contact time is based on 24 academic weeks and self-study time is based on 31 academic weeks.

Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Assessment

You may typically expect assessment by a combination of coursework (76%) and examinations (24%).

The study time and assessment methods detailed above are typical and give you a good indication of what to expect. However, they may change if the course modules change.

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Visit the Microbiome in Health & Disease - MSc page on the King’s College London website for more details!

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