The Global Burden of Disease Study predicts that by 2020 the top ten leading causes of disability-adjusted life years has ischaemic heart disease at number 1, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at number 5, and lower respiratory tract infections at number 6. COPD is predicted to quickly rise ‘up the charts’ after 2020 because it is unique in being currently untreatable, with four people a minute worldwide dying of this condition.
Consequently, study of respiratory and cardiovascular science is essential to improving our future health prospects. To that end, the Respiratory and Cardiovascular Science (RCVS) stream combines lectures and journal clubs covering the physiology and pathophysiology of the heart and lungs to provide a solid grounding on how dysfunction in physiology can lead to pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of severe heart or lung disease. The RCVS stream covers the main areas of respiratory physiology and cellular and molecular biology, and introduces the major disease-causing conditions, giving you a broad base of understanding of the heart and lungs.
Laboratory-based research projects will be directly related to advancing our understanding of heart and lung function and/or dysfunction. Dedicated RCVS sessions on data interpretation are designed to facilitate and complement the project experience.
Most of the tutors on the RCVS stream work at the National Heart & Lung Institute, and represent the largest ‘critical mass’ of research-active, respiratory or cardiovascular science academics in Europe. For example, Professor Peter Barnes (FRS) is the most cited published author for COPD in the world. Consequently, students will be in a premier, cutting-edge environment of respiratory and cardiovascular teaching and research.
After completion of the RCVS stream the student will be able to:
-Describe the basic physiology of cardiac function -Describe the pathophysiology of the major cardiovascular diseases (for example, cardiac ischaemia) -Describe the pathophysiology of the major respiratory diseases, including asthma, COPD and cystic fibrosis -Understand the advantages and limitations of animal models of respiratory and cardiovascular disease -Understand the rationale behind the design of novel treatments for respiratory and cardiovascular disease -Use library and other research sources effectively -Design laboratory-based experiments to effectively test a specified hypothesis, incorporating use of appropriate controls -Interpret data sets, depict data in an appropriate graphic format and apply appropriate statistical analysis -Understand and be able to use bioinformatic approaches -Be able to write a grant proposal for a research project -Be able to present research project data in various formats, including as a poster, an oral presentation, a PhD-style write-up and a journal-based research paper write-up -Be able to read, understand and critically evaluate research papers in peer-review journals
Please note that Postgraduate Diplomas and Certificates for part-completion are not available for this course.
A wide range of research projects is made available to students twice a year. The range of projects available to each student is determined by their stream. Students may have access to projects from other streams, but have priority only on projects offered by their own stream.