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Course content

One of the most rapidly developing areas of toxicology. 

This programme provides students with a research-orientated training in the application of molecular and cell biology to develop an understanding of chemical toxicity at the cellular and molecular level. You will study within a lively, highly interactive teaching and research environment.

Course details

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.

Semester 1

  • Module 1 Metabolism and Mechanisms of Toxicity (20 credits)
  • Module 2 Forensic, Clinical and Occupational Toxicology (20 credits)
  • Skills Module (10 credits)

Semester 2:

  • Laboratory research project (130 credits)


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, coursework, practical classes, student seminars and placement in a research laboratory. The taught component is assessed by a combination of examinations and coursework. The dissertation component is assessed by preparation of a research thesis. 

Skills gained

After completing the course you will have gained a detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of chemical toxicity (e.g. polymorphisms and metabolism, genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens, mechanisms of apoptosis, cDNA microarray and other high throughput screening strategies). You will also be able to critically evaluate and interpret available scientific literature, and effectively present the results of your research to peers using both written reports and oral communications. The programme will help you to develop laboratory skills and enable you to effectively interact in a research laboratory setting.


There is a demand for Toxicologists with molecular biology training in industry and other research organisations. The skills you gain from this course will stand you in good stead to enter research-based careers in the pharmaceutical industry and the medical sciences. You will also have enhanced your opportunities to further your research training by studying for the degree of PhD.

Visit the Molecular Mechanistic Toxicology - MRes page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!






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Recipient: University of Birmingham

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