Masters degrees in Genomics offer advanced study of organisms in terms of their genomes (the complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism). Practices such as genetic recombination, DNA sequencing methods, and bioinformatics are employed to sequence, assemble, and analyse their structure and function.
Related topics and postgraduate specialisms within Genomics include Genomic Medicine, Medical Genetics and branches of Biotechnology and Biomedicine.
Courses in this field provide several specialisations for you to choose from, including Medical and Veterinary Genomics, Evolutionary Genomics, and Plant Genomics. Whether you choose a particular focus for your degree, or opt to work on a broader range, there are plenty of practical, transferrable skills which you can employ in numerous future careers.
These include: undertaking laboratory research in topics such as gene therapy; analysing genomes through 3D modelling and bioimaging; chemical examination and manipulation of tissue cultures, from individual genomes, to cells and whole organisms.
Your experience would be suitable for: technical genomics in hospitals, veterinary centres or forensics departments; consultancy in industries such as agriculture or pharmaceuticals; policy making for NGOs, private SMEs or government agencies.
Research in the Division of Genetics and Genomics aims to advance understanding of complex animal systems and the development of improved predictive models through the application of numerical and computational approaches in the analysis, interpretation, modelling and prediction of complex animal systems from the level of the DNA and other molecules, through cellular and gene networks, tissues and organs to whole organisms and interacting populations of organisms.
The biology and traits of interest include: growth and development, body composition, feed efficiency, reproductive performance, responses to infectious disease and inherited diseases.
Research encompasses basic research in bioscience and mathematical biology and strategic research to address grand challenges, e.g. food security.
Research is focussed on, but not restricted to, target species of agricultural importance including cattle, pigs, poultry, sheep; farmed fish such as salmon; and companion animals. The availability of genome sequences and the associated genomics toolkits enable genetics research in these species.
Expertise includes genetics (molecular, quantitative), physiology (neuroendocrinology, immunology), ‘omics (genomics, functional genomics) with particular strengths in mathematical biology (quantitative genetics, epidemiology, bioinformatics, modelling).
The Division has 18 Group Leaders and 4 career track fellows who supervise over 30 postgraduate students.
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.
The University's genomics facility Edinburgh Genomics is closely associated with the Division of Genetics and Genomics and provides access to the latest genomics technologies, including next-generation sequencing, SNP genotyping and microarray platforms (genomics.ed.ac.uk).
In addition to the Edinburgh Compute and Data Facility’s high performance computing resources, The Roslin Institute has two compute farms, including one with 256 GB of RAM, which enable the analysis of complex ‘omics data sets.
The only Master’s specialisation in the Netherlands covering the function of our epigenome, a key factor in regulating gene expression and in a wide range of diseases.
Our skin cells, liver cells and blood cells all contain the same genetic information. Yet these are different types of cells, each performing their own specific tasks. How is this possible? The explanation lies in the epigenome: a heritable, cell-type specific set of chromosomal modifications, which regulates gene expression. Radboud University is specialised in studying the epigenome and is the only university in the Netherlands to offer a Master’s programme in this field of research.
The epigenome consists of small and reversible chemical modifications of the DNA or histone proteins, such as methylation, acetylation and phosphorylation. It changes the spatial structure of DNA, resulting in gene activation or repression. These processes are crucial for our health and also play a role in many diseases, like autoimmune diseases, cancer and neurological disorders. As opposed to modifications of the genome sequence itself, epigenetic modifications are reversible. You can therefore imagine the great potential of drugs that target epigenetic enzymes, so-called epi-drugs.
In this specialisation, you’ll look at a cell as one big and complex system. You’ll study epigenetic mechanisms during development and disease from different angles. This includes studying DNA and RNA by next-generation sequencing (epigenomics) and analysing proteins by mass spectrometry (proteomics). In addition, you‘ll be trained to design computational strategies that allow the integration of these multifaceted, high-throughput data sets into one system.
- Radboud University combines various state-of-the-art technologies – such as quantitative mass spectrometry and next-generation DNA sequencing – with downstream bioinformatics analyses in one department. This is unique in Europe.
- This programme allows you to work with researchers from the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life sciences (RIMLS), one of the leading multidisciplinary research institutes within this field of study worldwide.
- We have close contacts with high-profile medically oriented groups on the Radboud campus and with international institutes (EMBL, Max-Planck, Marie Curie, Cambridge, US-based labs, etc). As a Master’s student, you can choose to perform an internship in one of these related departments.
- Radboud University coordinates BLUEPRINT, a 30 million Euro European project focusing on the epigenomics of leukaemia. Master’s students have the opportunity to participate in this project.
As a Master’s student of Medical Epigenomics you’re trained in using state-of-the art technology in combination with biological software tools to study complete networks in cells in an unbiased manner. For example, you’ll know how to study the effects of drugs in the human body.
When you enter the job market, you’ll have:
- A thorough background of epigenetic mechanisms in health and disease, which is highly relevant in strongly rising field of epi-drug development
- Extensive and partly hands-on experience in state-of-the-art ‘omics’ technologies: next-generation sequencing, quantitative mass spectrometry and single cell technologies;
- Extensive expertise in designing, executing and interpreting scientific experiments in data-driven research;
- The computational skills needed to analyse large ‘omics’ datasets.
With this background, you can become a researcher at a:
- University or research institute;
- Pharmaceutical company, such as Synthon or Johnson & Johnson;
- Food company, like Danone or Unilever;
- Start-up company making use of -omics technology.
Apart from research into genomics and epigenomics, you could also work on topics such as miniaturising workflows, improving experimental devices, the interface between biology and informatics, medicine from a systems approach.
Or you can become a:
- Biological or medical consultant;
- Biology teacher;
- Policy coordinator, regarding genetic or medical issues;
- Patent attorney;
- Clinical research associate;
Each year, the Molecular Biology department (Prof. Henk Stunnenberg, Prof. Michiel Vermeulen) and the Molecular Developmental Biology department (Prof. Gert-Jan Veenstra) at the RIMLS offer between five and ten PhD positions. Of course, many graduates also apply for a PhD position at related departments in the Netherlands, or abroad.
- Systems biology
In the Medical Epigenomics specialisation you won’t zoom in on only one particular gene, protein or signalling pathway. Instead, you’ll regard the cell as one complete system. This comprehensive view allows you to, for example, model the impact of one particular epigenetic mutation on various parts and functions of the cell, or study the effects of a drug in an unbiased manner. One of the challenges of this systems biology approach is the processing and integration of large amounts of data. That’s why you’ll also be trained in computational biology. Once graduated, this will be a great advantage: you’ll be able to bridge the gap between biology, technology and informatics , and thus have a profile that is desperately needed in modern, data-driven biology.
- Multiple OMICS approaches
Studying cells in a systems biology approach means connecting processes at the level of the genome (genomics), epigenome (epigenomics), transcriptome (transcriptomics), proteome (proteomics), etc. In the Medical Epigenomics specialisation, you’ll get acquainted with all these different fields of study.
- Patient and animal samples
Numerous genetic diseases are not caused by genetic mutations, but by epigenetic mutations that influence the structure and function of chromatin. Think of:
- Autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Cancer, in the forms of leukaemia, colon cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer
- Neurological disorders, like Rett Syndrome, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis, schizophrenia and autism
We investigate these diseases on a cellular level, focusing on the epigenetic mutations and the impact on various pathways in the cell. You’ll get the chance to participate in that research, and work with embryonic stem cell, patient, Xenopus or zebra fish samples.
See the website http://www.ru.nl/masters/medicalbiology/epigenomics
Genomic technologies and information will transform practice across the clinical professions over the next decade.
This MSc is a new programme developed by Health Education England and being offered by a network of centres across England. It includes study of the genomics and informatics of rare and common diseases, cancer and infectious diseases, which can be applied to clinical practice and medical research, and enhance knowledge and skills, in this rapidly evolving field.
What does our MSc provide?
This programme, delivered by the Faculty of Medicine, will provide a comprehensive perspective in genomics applied to clinical practice and medical research, with particular emphasis on the 100,000 Genomes Project. It will equip students to bring benefit to their patients through improved diagnosis and personalised treatment, and disseminate knowledge to peers, patients and the public.
Who should study?
This programme is particularly suitable for health professionals as well as students seeking to make the most of genomics as it applies to their current or future career.
Our modular structure and blended learning formats are delivered flexibly as a one year full-time or two year part-time option, or as individual or grouped modules, to facilitate access from as wide as possible a range of healthcare professionals.
Genomic technologies and information will transform practice across the clinical professions over the next decade. Our MSc Genomic Medicine degree is designed to enhance knowledge and skills in this rapidly evolving field. The masters course has been developed by Health Education England and includes study of the genomics and informatics of rare and common diseases, cancer and infectious diseases, which can be applied to clinical practice and medical research. This degree is suitable for health professionals working in the NHS, as well as students seeking to make the most of genomics as it applies to their current or future career.
This MSc Genomic Medicine has been commissioned by NHS England / Health Education England to provide education and training in genomics for health professionals from different professional backgrounds such as medicine, nursing, public health, science and technology, for whom knowledge of genomics will impact on the way they deliver their service to patients and the public.
This programme can be tailored to meet your career aspirations and enables you to choose your module options, plan your programme route, and choose from October or March to begin your studies.
You can study part-time or undertake smaller numbers of, or even individual, modules to fit your study around your other commitments.
Southampton’s MSc Genomic Medicine comprises eight core modules delivered through intensive face-to-face study and independent learning.
Our core modules include an introduction to the genetics and genomics of rare and common diseases, cancer and infectious disease, informatics analysis, and a laboratory research project or dissertation.
Optional modules within the programme include the Ethics, Counselling Skills and Teaching the Teachers to Teach.
Teaching and learning
Using a mix of learning formats, our modules include two groups of two days' intensive face-to-face teaching interspersed with independent study.
The first core module will include an additional day of student contact to incorporate an induction to the University’s facilities and introduction to basic research skills such as literature searching and critical appraisal of scientific literature).
A variety of learning and teaching methods will be adopted to promote a wide range of skills and meet differing learning styles, including seminars, group work, practical demonstrations and exercises surrounding interpretation of data and clinical scenarios.
Experts from a range of academic and health care professional backgrounds are chosen to ensure a breadth and depth of perspective, giving a good balance between theories and principles, and practical management advice.
Independent study is delivered through a virtual learning environment, delivering a library of study materials including uploaded lectures, virtual patients and independent learning tasks, reference materials, links to online tutorials, student fora, and guest lecturer web chats.
A significant component of your research will comprise either an original project or a literature-based dissertation.
What you will gain
Students who complete the programme will be equipped to harness the unprecedented transformation of the 100,000 Genomes Project, bring benefit to their patients through improved diagnosis and personalised treatment, and disseminate knowledge to peers, patients and the public.