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Neurobiology MScR

Course Description

Research profile

The Neurobiology Division conducts research in the fields of neurobiology and neuropathology. We investigate mechanisms that regulate normal brain function as well as the causes and consequences of dysfunction during ageing and in acute or chronic neurodegenerative disease.

The division has an excellent track-record in the supervision and training of postgraduate students by staff highly experienced in teaching and research. It has 13 Group Leaders and 1 career track fellow who supervise more than 10 postgraduate students.

Why our work is important

Some of our current research focuses on:

-identifying new TSE strains and their zoonotic potential, examining routes of transmission and the genetics of host susceptibility to disease
-characterising the pathways and cells involved in the uptake and transport of TSE agents to the brain using rodent models and our natural scrapie sheep flock
-understanding mechanisms of neurodegeneration associated with both chronic and acute neurodegenerative disease using unique disease models
-understanding the long-term consequences of adverse experiences in early life on future health
-identifying novel mechanisms regulating homeostasis and responses to stress in neuronal networks

In addressing these fundamental questions we contribute to the improvement of both animal and human health, livestock productivity and welfare.

Students will be able to take advantage of our multidisciplinary tools including proteomics, bio-imaging, computer-aided behavioural analysis, genetics, molecular biology, in vitro cell models, transgenic rodent models and natural diseases of large animals to dissect biological networks in the nervous and immune systems. The Roslin Institute is uniquely placed to transfer our experience of rodent models into livestock species such as sheep and pigs.

Training and support

Studentships are of 3 or 4 years duration and students will be expected to complete a novel piece of research which will advance our understanding of the field. To help them in this goal, students will be assigned a principal and assistant supervisor, both of whom will be active scientists at the Institute. Student progress is monitored in accordance with School Postgraduate (PG) regulations by a PhD thesis committee (which includes an independent external assessor and chair). There is also dedicated secretarial support to assist these committees and the students with regard to University and Institute matters.

All student matters are overseen by the Schools PG studies committee. The Roslin Institute also has a local PG committee and will provide advice and support to students when requested. An active staff:student liaison committee and a social committee, which is headed by our postgraduate liaison officer, provide additional support.

Students are expected to attend a number of generic training courses offered by the Transkills Programme of the University and to participate in regular seminars and laboratory progress meetings. All students will also be expected to present their data at national and international meetings throughout their period of study.


In 2011 the Roslin Institute moved to a new state-of-the-art building on the University of Edinburgh's veterinary campus at Easter Bush. Our facilities include: rodent, bird and livestock animal units and associated lab areas; comprehensive bioinformatic and genomic capability; a range of bioimaging facilities; extensive molecular biology and cell biology labs; café and auditorium where we regularly host workshops and invited speakers.

Visit the Neurobiology MScR page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirement for our research programmes is an undergraduate degree, with an excellent or very good classification (equivalent to first or upper second class honours in the UK). For some non-UK applicants the entry requirement is a Masters degree. Please check the entry requirements by country.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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