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Masters Degrees in Plant Biotechnology, Ireland

We have 5 Masters Degrees in Plant Biotechnology, Ireland

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Government and private companies are working to develop new ways to improve existing food and animal feed crops, and to develop novel crops to meet future challenges. Read more
Government and private companies are working to develop new ways to improve existing food and animal feed crops, and to develop novel crops to meet future challenges. The last decade has seen rapid developments in our understanding of plants and their significance to our wellbeing and this has been achieved through advances in a range of disciplines including genetics, genomics, cell biology, physiology, ecology and studies on climate change.

Graduates of this one-year MSc will be equipped with the knowledge and skills in these recent advances to rise to the future challenges in academia, industry and policy development. Innovation and entrepreneurship permeate the course as central themes and, in addition, a specific module on entrepreneurship in plant biology is delivered. This MSc covers a wide diversity of both topics and approaches, and is taught by a high-profile research-oriented group of academics. Students will have full involvement in active research groups and access to, and experience of, a large array of state-of-the-art facilities and technologies.

Key Fact

Researchers from the UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science represent the single largest grouping of plant scientists in Ireland, with research interests ranging from genetics and molecular biology of the cell to plant physiology and ecology. They actively work with organisations such as Coillte (Forestry), the Irish Agricultural and Food Development Authority (Teagasc), the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and industry partners.

Course Content and Structure

Modules include:
• Entrepreneurship in Plant Biology
• Future Crops and Sustainability
• Current Developments in Plant Biology
• Insect-Plant Interactions
• Biological Invasions
• Plant-Atmosphere Climate Interactions
• Ecological Significance of Different Photosynthetic Pathways
• Plant Development
• Programmed Cell Death in Plants
• Plants and Stress

Career Opportunities

Graduates will have a distinct advantage when applying for PhD studentships or other more advanced graduate training in the area of plant biology and biotechnology. This MSc is ideal for graduates interested in pursuing scientific careers in academia, agriculture and plant science-based or biotechnology industries. Graduates will haveo pportunities to pursue postgraduate education and research and work in areas such as plant biotechnology, scientific journalism/publishing and for government agencies involved in governmental and non-governmental policy.

Facilities and Resources

• UCD Rosemount Environmental Research Station
• Controlled plant growth facility and bioreactors
• Plant Metabolomics Technology Platform
• Plant Cell and Tissue Culture Facility

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The MSc in Biotechnology is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the industries of biomedical research, biopharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and biotechnology. Read more
The MSc in Biotechnology is a one-year course designed to provide you with the theoretical and practical skills for employment in the industries of biomedical research, biopharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and biotechnology. The course curriculum consists of six months of lectures, laboratory practical sessions, career service workshops, industry-based seminars and a six-month research project. The curriculum has been developed with input from staff in local biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries, to provide you with the necessary skills required by employers. Students have the choice to complete the six-month research project in a national or international industry or university environment.

Visit the website: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ckr01/

Course Details

This is the most established MSc in Biotechnology course in Ireland and is the most popular MSc course in UCC. The international success of this course is attributed to the industry-led curriculum offered to students and the opportunity to complete a six-month placement in industry or an academic research lab. The global recognition of the course is also evident from our international alumni and receipt of several industry-sponsored scholarships available to students entering and on completion of the course.

The course will:

- introduce you to the theory and practice of bioanalytical chemistry?
- introduce you to molecular biotechnology, eukaryotic-, prokaryotic- and plant-biotechnologies, recombinant DNA technologies and their - application in the biotechnology and biopharmaceutical industries
- introduce you to the principles of process and biochemical engineering?
- introduce you to the role of process validation and quality assurance in the pharmaceutical industry, and give you an awareness of the - - latest trends in good manufacturing, laboratory and validation practices
- introduce you to the principles of food and industrial microbiology
- provide you with the opportunity to conduct and complete a body of independent research in a biotechnology-related area and present your research findings in a minor dissertation.

Format

The curriculum consists of approximately 250 contact hours over two academic terms (October to December and January to March), consisting of eight course modules, set practical sessions, career service workshops and an industry lecture series.

During the third academic term (April to September), students complete a six-month research project on a topic related to biotechnology, biopharmaceutical or biomedical research. Industry-based projects in these areas are managed by a dedicated placement officer who facilitates career workshops during which you prepare for and are interviewed by staff from companies interested in hosting students. For students interested in a career in biomedical research or PhD, projects are offered in a broad range of research areas utilising modern research techniques. All research projects are undertaken in consultation with an academic supervisor and examiner.

The MSc in Biotechnology degree course consists of eight course modules, set practical sessions, career service workshops, an industry lecture series and a six-month research project.

Students study the following eight modules and complete a research project:

- Advanced Molecular Microbial Biotechnology
- Biopharmaceuticals: formulation design, secondary processing and regulatory compliance
- Bioprocess Engineering
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Functional Foods for Health
- Genetic Engineering
- Modern Methods in Analytical Chemistry
- Plant Genetic Engineering

Research Project and Industry Placement

You will be required to complete a six-month research project based on your individual research and development in a selected field of modern science. You carry out your research in UCC’s laboratories or at an approved academic or industrial partner.

When you complete your research dissertation in an industrial setting, it provides the company with an opportunity to assess your skills and abilities and to screen potential future full-time employees.

Students who secure employment upon graduation fit into the organisation and contribute productively much sooner that other graduates. For students with an interest in biomedical research and future careers as PhD researchers, research projects are offered across a broad range of topics including but not limited to; cancer biology, neuroscience, immunology, microbiology and plant biotechnology.

Further details on the content and modules are available on the Postgraduate College Calendar - http://www.ucc.ie/calendar/postgraduate/Masters/science/page05.html#4%20

Assessment

The MSc in Biotechnology is awarded after passing written examinations across taught course units, the continuous assessment of practical work and completion of a six-month research project, which has to be written up in the form of a dissertation and approved by an external examiner. All students must complete written examinations (typically held over a two week period in March) and submit a research project. Full details and regulations governing examinations for each course will be contained in the Marks and Standards 2013 Book and for each module in the Book of Modules, 2015/2016 - http://www.ucc.ie/modules/

Careers

The course is suitable for students wishing to extend their specific undergraduate degree knowledge in biotechnology, and for those wishing to bridge their undergraduate degree and gain more specialised knowledge and training in biotechnology. The course allows you to follow a number of career pathways. Each year, over 70 per cent of our students gain employment while approximately 20 per cent of graduates progress to international PhD opportunities.

How to apply: http://www.ucc.ie/en/study/postgrad/how/

Funding and Scholarships

Information regarding funding and available scholarships can be found here: https://www.ucc.ie/en/cblgradschool/current/fundingandfinance/fundingscholarships/

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IT Tralee is currently seeking to recruit ahigh calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master by Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Read more

IT Tralee is currently seeking to recruit ahigh calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master by Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Graduates holding a relevant Level 8 Honours Degree (second class honours or higher) are invited to submit an application. The successful applicants will be awarded a stipend of €700 per month for a maximum period of 18 months and the Institute will waive full fees for this funding period. Postgraduate students are expected to complete their studies full-time at the Institute.

Biography of Principle Supervisor

Mr Quille received his Degree in Chemistry of Pharmaceutical Compounds from University College Cork in 2007. He has since completed an M.Sc in Biotechnology in the Shannon ABC laboratories at IT Tralee on a project entitled: The preparation of an alginate with a hydrophobic moiety that retains its biocompatibility and immunosuppressive properties while remaining suitable for cellular encapsulation. He has previously worked in Astellas as a Process Technician and in Shannon ABC as a Biochemical Technician. He currently holds the role of Research Scientist with Shannon ABC. Previous projects include developing a commercial focus to the use of bioassays in the assessment of different components of seaweed and the impact of seasonality. He has worked on the FP7 funded project NatuCrop where he oversaw extensive tomato growth room, glasshouse and field trials. Results of his work have been presented at a number of conferences all over Europe and in Brazil. He is currently working on a Horizon 2020 project. 

Research Project Abstract

Crop productivity relies heavily on nitrogen fertilisation which in itself requires huge amounts of energy to produce. Also excess applications of nitrogen to the land is detrimental to the environment therefore increasing plant nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) is essential in the promotion of sustainable agriculture. The use of seaweed and seaweed extracts in agriculture is well documented. The most popular and well researched type of seaweed extract commercially available is an Ascophyllum Nodosum extract (ANE). Ascophyllum is a brown seaweed that is native to the waters of Ireland as it grows best in the North Atlantic basin. Seaweed extracts have been described to enhance seed germination and establishment, improve plant growth, yield, flower set and fruit production, increase resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and improve postharvest shelf life. Previously a seaweed extract when combined with a fertiliser regime increased the productivity and oil content and accelerated maturation (colour and firmness) of the olive fruits from olive trees. Oil-Seed Rape (OSR; Brassica napus) is a member of the Brassicaceae family that is grown for its oil content. It requires extensive nitrogen fertilisation, however it has a poor N-harvest index meaning a lot of nitrogen is lost in the straw rather than transported to the pod. The aim or our study is to apply 4 commercially available ANE’s to winter and spring crops of OSR (different varieties) in a controlled growth room and glasshouse and finally in a field setting under different fertiliser regimes. Treatments will be assessed by comparing fresh weight, dry weight, and seed/oil yield and oil quality. Plant tissue will also be saved in order to assess other parameters such as flavonol accumulation, nitrate reductase, gene expression (NRT2) and photosynthetic parameters.

Research Context (Technical Merit & Impact)

600,000 Ha of OSR is planted in the UK and Ireland alone every year, recommended input of nitrogen is 200 kg (0.2 tonnes) per Ha meaning 120,000 tonnes of nitrogen every year. As OSR only has an N-harvest index of 0.6, representing 48,000 tonnes lost, which is a massive financial loss as well as potentially environmentally detrimental. In determining the effect of ANE’s on NUE current research focuses on the outcome, i.e. is yield increased, rather than investigate the method by which the yield has increased. This research is aimed a filling some void of knowledge here by linking phenotypic differences to biochemical and genetic data of treated plants in order to assign a potential mode of action.

Research Methodology

While ANE’s have been shown to increase nitrogen assimilation, extensive growth trials, especially in economically important crops (such as OSR) which investigate their role in affecting NUE are scarce and are only seemingly becoming popular in recent years. However considering the increased price of nitrogen, the additional interest in biostimulants (ANE’s in particular), the need to feed a growing population and coupled to the environmental damage of excess nitrogen this can be considered a ‘hot topic’. Plant (glasshouse and field setting) trials will be conducted and analysed for phenotypic data (photosynthetic measurements, yield). Materials from these plant trials must then be harvested, extracted and saved for biochemical and genetic determination. Lab-based techniques employed include protein extraction, western blotting and spectrophotometry, RT-PCR and HPLC. This 3 pronged approach from assessing phenotype to the biochemical level and finally to the gene level will provide evidence on mode of action of the ANE’s potential impact on NUE in OSR.



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The MRes in Animal and Plant Science is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Read more
The MRes in Animal and Plant Science is a full-time programme running over 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme. Applications will be accepted for a start date in October or January. The programme consists of (a) a major research thesis and (b) taught modules on generic and transferable skills, with an emphasis on scientific writing, oral presentations, and general research skills. Part-time study for this programme is not available.

Prospective students must talk to their proposed supervisor about possible project areas (see below) and have a project approved by interview with the supervisor and Head of Discipline prior to application via http://www.pac.ie (PAC code: CKS81).

Visit the website: https://www.ucc.ie/en/bees/courses/postgrad/

Course detail

Students undertake a total workload equivalent to 90 credits over the 12 month programme, the principal element of which is the completion of a major research thesis of approximately 25,000 words. In parallel, students must take and pass taught modules to the value of 20 credits.

Modules

Students take 20 credits from the following available modules:

BL6010 Characteristics of the Marine Environment (5 credits)
BL6012 Marine Megafauna (10 credits)
BL6016 Marine Ecology and Conservation (10 credits)
BL6019 Ecological Applications of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
BL6020 Genetics and the Marine Environment (5 credits)
BL4004 Frontiers in Biology (5 credits)
BL4005 Research Skills in Biology (5 credits)
BL4006 Food Production (5 credits)
PS6001 Plant Genetic Engineering (5 credits)
PS4024 Crop Physiology and Climate Change (5 credits)
PS4021 Environmentally Protective Management of Plant Pests and Pathogens (5 credits)
ZY4021 Evolutionary Ecology (5 credits)

Students may elect to take other, relevant modules (subject to availability) that are offered by the University that are not listed above to fulfil the elective requirement with approval from the MRes coordinator, research supervisor and Head of School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Science.

Students will also undertake independent research towards completion of a research thesis to a student workload equivalent of 70 credits on a selected topic in Animal or Plant Science.

Current projects:

- The effect of lactation housing on the behaviour and welfare of pigs
- Understanding viral pathways in marine environments
- Distribution and diet of otters in a rural/urban streamscape
- Novel approaches in the use of freshwater macroinvertebrates for biomonitoring
- The ecology of Sika/Red/Fallow deer in Ireland
- Catching prey; the role of Ultraviolet radiation in attracting insects by carnivorous plants
- Birds as dispersers of plant propagules
- Does the phytotoxicity of nanoparticles depend on environmental parameters?
- The role of biochar as a sustainable soil amendment
- Effects of Eutrophication in shallow subtidal marine systems
- Use of Brachypodium sylvaticum as a model for growth regulation in perennial forage grasses
- Effect of temperature on spring growth of perennial ryegrass cultivars

Programme Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this programme, students should be able to:

- Carry out an independent and original research project to address an emerging question in Animal or Plant Science.
- Prepare and write a dissertation of their research project in a critical, logical and systematic manner, in keeping with the standards of postgraduate research.
- Display advanced theoretical knowledge and practical understanding within a research area of Animal or Plant Science.
- Understand the basis and application of field and laboratory methods used in Animal and Plant Science and a knowledge of their limitations
- Avail of relevant workshops or modules to increase scientific technical skills (e. g. biostatistics).
- Source, review, critically assess and evaluate relevant primary literature and summarize material for presentation to peers and for inclusion within the research dissertation.
- Design, write and defend a scientific research proposal based on their current research topic or a proposed topic.
- Evaluate their skill set and identify skills that should be acquired.
- Develop professional practice skills including team-work, negotiation, time-management, scientific writing and oral communication

How to apply

Students should consult the MRes Animal and Plant Science Brochure: https://www.ucc.ie/en/media/academic/schoolofbees/documents/MResinAnimalandPlantScience.pdf

Prospective students should also consult the following guide to procedures realting to applying for the MRes Animal and Plant Science: https://www.ucc.ie/en/media/academic/schoolofbees/documents/MResinANimalandplantscience-Studentguidetoproceduresbeforeandafterentrytotheprogramme24March2016.pdf

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Tralee is currently seeking to recruit a high calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master of Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Read more

Tralee is currently seeking to recruit a high calibre and suitably qualified science graduate to undertake this Master of Research programme in the Department of Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences at IT Tralee. Graduates holding a relevant Level 8 Honours Degree (second class honours or higher) are invited to submit an application. The successful applicants will be awarded a stipend of €700 per month for a maximum period of 18 months and the Institute will waive full fees for this funding period. Postgraduate students are expected to complete their studies full-time at the Institute.

Biography of Principle Supervisor

Dr Oscar Goñi received his Degree in Chemistry from the University of Navarra (Spain), an MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Complutense University of Madrid (Spain) and completed his PhD in Plant Protein Biochemistry at ICTAN-CSIC (Spain) and Complutense University of Madrid (Spain). Dr Goñi has previously worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research (Cologne). He is a protein biochemist with experience in the purification and characterization of functional proteins, enzymology and development of protein biomarkers. Dr. Goñi currently holds the position of Postdoctoral Researcher with Shannon ABC / Brandon Bioscience and specialises in the development of enzyme activities for the production of macro-algae derived oligosaccharides and chitin/chitosan derived oligosaccharides for crop protection and yield enhancement. 

Research Project Abstract

The United Nations’ and Agriculture Organization predicts that by 2050 the world will need to produce 70 percent more food than it does currently. Along with improving food storage and transport, increasing crop yields is seen as a primary solution. Salinity is one the major environmental stresses affecting crop production, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas. Most of the vegetable crops are salt sensitive, growing poorly in salinized soils due to the accumulation of toxic ions from prolonged irrigation regimes. A meaningful approach to increase crop yield and counteract salt stress would be the use of protein hydrolysate-based biostimulants, which are gaining interest worldwide. Nowadays, more than 90% of the protein hydrolysates market in agriculture is based on products obtained through chemical hydrolysis of proteins from animal origin. The production and use of new vegetable derived-protein hydrolysates with high plant biostimulant activity has become the focus of much research interest due to their lack of plant phytotoxicity, absence of degraded or biologically inactive amino acids or compatibility in the production of food for vegetarians. The commercial partner, Deltagen UK, aims to commercialise protein hydrolysate biostimulants with superior salinity inducing tolerance. The aim of this research is the development of an innovative system to produce protein hydrolysates from the defatted by product meals of flax, lentil and sesame seeds with the ability to biostimulate plant tolerance to salt stress. Novel protein hydrolysates will be produced using a cocktail of suitable proteases, they will be applied to tomato plants (cv. Micro-Tom) in a controlled growth room under salt stress conditions. Treatments will be assessed by comparing classic phenotypical parameters. Plant tissue will also be saved in order to assess other biochemical and molecular parameters such as stress related proteins and osmoprotectant metabolites.

Research Context (Technical Merit & Impact)

The beginning of 21st century is marked by global scarcity of water resources, environmental pollution and increased salinization of soil and water. An increasing human population and reduction in land available for cultivation are two threats for agricultural sustainability. It has been estimated that worldwide 20% of total cultivated and 33% of irrigated agricultural lands are afflicted by high salinity. It has been projected that more than 50% of the arable land would be salinized by the year 2050. Use of optimized farm management practices such as shifting crop rotation or better irrigation systems can ameliorate yield reduction under salinity stress. However, its implementation is often limited because of cost and availability of good water quality. Several salt-tolerant varieties have been released, the overall progress of traditional breeding has been slow and has not been successful, as only few major determinant genetic traits of salt tolerance have been identified. The utilisation of agro-food processing wastes to generate value added products is an extremely convincing argument as it makes commercial and environmental sense. In addition, it is an excellent, demonstrable example of the European circular economy in action, a key objective of the H2020 research programme, turning waste into value and ultimately food for a growing population.

Research Methodology

Three process variables will be studied in order to obtain the maximum degradation of seed proteins: incubation time, temperature and the initial concentration of meal protein. The Response Surface Methodology (RSM) will be used to reduce the cost and duration of experiments and allow for the observation of any interacting factors in the final process response. Amino acid and monosaccharide composition will be determined by sensitive high performance anion exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) according previous bibliography. Molecular weight distribution of protein hydrolysates will be characterized by protein electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and high performance size exclusion chromatography (HPSEC). The plant trials will involve 2 separate sets of experiments under unstressed and salt-stressed conditions respectively. Experiments will be carried out in a growth room with different concentration rates of different protein hydrolysates and the tomato variety Micro-Tom will be used. This extensive factorial experiment will be assessed by fruit yield, fruit quality, chlorophyll (SPAD measurement), MDH content (cell membrane integrity) and levels of protective compounds (proline and soluble carbohydrates). The presence of stress proteins such as HSPs will be determined using immunoblotting techniques (Western blot). RT-qPCR is another advanced laboratory technique that will be emp



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