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Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases (MSc)

Course Description

This course provides a thorough understanding and practical experience of molecular biology as it applies to infectious agents that cause global health problems. It covers all aspects of the agents, including their taxonomy, diagnosis, epidemiology and chemotherapy. It equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary for research, commercial or management careers that demand knowledge of molecular biology.

Molecular biology forms a cornerstone of many modern scientific disciplines like biomedicine and bioengineering and has broad application in and impact on health, agriculture and the environment. The role of molecular biology is becoming increasingly important in many professions and accordingly this course benefits students pursuing careers in a large variety of professions throughout the public sector (including NHS, DEFRA, DSTL), industry and commerce (including R&D), school and higher education. As such, the course is very effective in transferring high-level skills into other sectors, either directly after graduation or after further research degree study.

The Ralph Neal Memorial Prize is awarded to the best student of the year. This prize was founded in memory of Dr Ralph Neal, a distinguished research worker who died in 1990 in tragic circumstances.

- Full programme specification (pdf) (http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/edu/qualityassurance/mbid_progspec.pdf)
- Intercalating this course (http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/intercalate)

Visit the website http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/masters/msmbid.html


By the end of this course students should be able to:

- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles underlying a wide range of molecular biological techniques and apply these techniques in practice

- demonstrate specialist knowledge and skills in the areas of gene cloning, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and studies of gene function

- devise and critically assess molecular biological approaches to fundamental research, taxonomic studies, production of DNA probes and epidemiological tools, analysis of chemotherapeutic targets and vaccine development

- develop skills for further independent learning in the context of the molecular biology of infectious diseases


Term 1:
There is a one-week orientation period that includes an introduction to studying at the School and sessions on key computing and study skills. Students then choose one of the following ten-week core modules:

- Bacteriology & Virology
- Immunology of Infectious Diseases
- Parasitology & Entomology

In addition, students take two further compulsory modules:
- Analysis & Design of Research Studies
- Molecular Biology

Sessions on basic computing, molecular biology and statistics are run throughout the term for all students.

Terms 2 and 3:
Students take a total of five modules, one from each timetable slot (Slot 1, Slot 2 etc.). Some modules can be taken only after consultation with the Course Director.

*Recommended modules

- Slot 1:
Molecular Biology & Recombinant DNA Techniques*
Advanced Immunology 1 (linked with Advanced Immunology 2)
Epidemiology & Control of Malaria

- Slot 2:
Advanced Diagnostic Parasitology*
Molecular Virology*
Advanced Immunology 2 (linked with Advanced Immunology 1)
Clinical Bacteriology 2

- Slot 3:
Advanced Training in Molecular Biology (compulsory)

- Slot 4:
Immunology of Parasitic Infection: Principles*
Molecular Biology Research Progress & Applications*
Clinical Bacteriology 2

- Slot 5:
Antimicrobial Chemotherapy*
Pathogen Genomics*

Further details for the course modules (http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/currentstudents/studentinformation/msc_module_handbook/section2_coursedescriptions/tmbd.html)

Project Report

During the summer months (July - August), students complete an original research project, for submission by early September. The project must contain a major practical laboratory component on a molecular biological aspect of a relevant organism. This can cover research in the broad areas of virology, bacteriology, parasitology or mycology. Projects may take place within the School or with collaborating scientists in other colleges or institutes in the UK. Occasionally projects take place overseas, in these cases students are eligible to apply for travel funds.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/masters/msmbid.html#sixth

Visit the Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases (MSc) page on the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Huma Dawood

After completing my BSc from Duke University, I still felt that I didn’t have the in depth knowledge of Genetics that I desired. I searched for a Masters program that could offer training in the latest techniques and knowledge of recent findings in research. I applied to numerous schools, and took a chance with accepting the offer from LSHTM.

It was a happy surprise to discover and meet the excellent teachers LSHTM has to offer, each class was a challenge I enjoyed thoroughly. The modules were above my expectations and I am grateful for the knowledge that has been bestowed upon me.

Besides academics, I found students of all nationalities, ages, and backgrounds in my course. Our entire class became friends in an instant; we laughed, cried, and pulled each other along throughout the year. We shared life stories, criticisms, and point of views; through them I believe I have gained a broader outlook on life, able to observe an argument from many different perspectives.

LSHTM was the best choice I have ever made; not only were the classes exceptional, but the people – teachers, students, and fellow researchers – as well. I look forward to completing my summer project at Oxford University this year, and feel that the school has exceedingly fulfilled my academic desires.

(Student Profile)

Anu-Nandika Bachew

4347.jpg On completing my BSc. at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago I was strongly considering furthering my studies in human genetics. When I found the MSc. Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases however, I knew that this was what I wanted to do and I have not regretted my decision. The course has offered me the perfect opportunity to enhance my practical skills while learning about a wide range of viral, bacterial and parasitic infectious diseases. As some of these greatly affect the Caribbean, I hope that my time at the School has made me better able to work with the agencies there as they strive to control these diseases.

Being at the School has been a very rewarding experience. The staff and visiting lecturers have been open and always willing to share their expertise with us, whether in class, in lab or during our projects. The amazing students that I have met here have also added to my learning experience as they have not only given me a world perspective on the challenges we face in infectious diseases but also inspired me to continue working toward my goal of making an invaluable contribution in this field.

(Student Profile)

Kehinde Soetan

4390.jpg During my six years training in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, I developed an interest in Biochemistry. I then progressed to postgraduate studies in Biochemistry after obtaining my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) Degree. This gave me some insight into how events at the molecular level can influence the health of humans and animals. My interest in molecular biology started in 2004 while attending short courses in molecular biology and this stimulated my desire to return to postgraduate study in molecular biology. I had little information about the Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases programme at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. While searching on the internet for an institute respected in the field of molecular biology, I came across the School. This prompted me to make further enquiries about entry requirements into the school and ended with me gaining admission to the school, for which I am very happy.

I had a pleasant, busy and productive year at the school. Lectures were given by leading experts in various fields. I met with students from different parts of the world which is a good experience. The School also exposed me to the tools and contacts that I needed to make an impact in my own little way into the teaching of molecular biology of human and animal diseases and to take on new challenges I might encounter in molecular biology research. I am appreciative of my tutor and my teachers and my project supervisor for their guidance which has had a great impact on my future career. I am grateful to the Federal Government of Nigeria for sponsoring me for the programme through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).


Entry Requirements

The normal minimum entrance qualification for registration at the School on a Master's programme is at least one of the following: a second-class honours degree of a UK university, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, in a subject appropriate to that of the course of study to be followed; OR a registrable qualification appropriate to the course of study to be followed, in medicine, dentistry or veterinary studies. Applications with an appropriate technical qualification, or equivalent qualification and experience from overseas, are also welcomed.

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Recipient: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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