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Stem Cells and Translational Neurology


Course Description

Dementia (including a raft of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease) has recently become the leading cause of death in the UK. Stem cells are a novel and relatively young branch of scientific research that hold the potential for not only therapies but to be able to accurately model these distinctly human diseases.

This unique programme will offer students real-world perspectives from patients, carers, scientists and a range of health care professionals including world-leading experts on the impact of neurological diseases. The programme offers cutting edge translational neuroscience focused on stem cells, neurodegenerative diseases, regeneration and models (both animal and cell). Furthermore the inclusion of patients and importantly their carers and the real-life impacts of these diseases on individuals will be a common thread running throughout this programme making it truly unique and exceptionally novel.

This programme is designed for medical and/or scientific professionals and aims to introduce students to the fields of neurodegenerative diseases, stem cells, industry and emerging therapeutic opportunities in regenerative / translational neurology. Overall students will gain the knowledge and understanding of the clinical, real-life impact and scientific realities of these fields and thus advance their own learning and be able to carry this forward into their future careers.

Therefore students will be introduced to a range of topics as they progress through the programme from introducing the basic anatomy, structure and development of the central nervous system, a critical understanding of stem cells including sources, locations and roles, an introduction to multiple neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, Motor Neurone Disease and Parkinson’s disease), from both clinical and patient angles, before being introduced to in vitro and in vivo modelling of these diseases, neuroimaging techniques, stem cells and industry.

Within the programme, students can progress from Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits), to Postgraduate Diploma (120credits) and to Master of Science degrees (180 credits) as they successfully complete the required number of credits for each level and can therefore stop at any stage or continue onwards depending on their situation.

Postgraduate Certificate

Composed of 4 core courses to provide the fundamental foundations for the Diploma and MSc but can also be taken as a self-contained PGCert. It will cover fundamental areas including key basic research skills (such as how to critically evaluate scientific manuscripts, as well as a basic understanding of statistics) whilst introducing students to the central nervous system, its basic anatomy and development and stem cells. In parallel students would cover an introduction to neurodegenerative diseases (that would include Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Motor Neurone Disease) before being introduced to in vitro and in vivo modelling of these diseases. Finally students would also learn about neuroimaging and its potential roles for scientific research.

Postgraduate Diploma

Expands on the PGCert courses as well as introducing greater depth to novel areas such as the roles of pharma and industry with respect to stem cells. A proportion of the Diploma credits are elective and students will be assisted in choosing appropriate options from across the broad spectrum available from Edinburgh University that are relevant to their own situation, employment and career goals.

MSc

Students have the opportunity to explore a specialist area from within the broad spectrum of stem cells, regeneration and translational neuroscience in the form of either a dissertation, or, a structured project (the student would themselves have to source this if desired), which would aim to deliver a ‘real world’ project with a direct impact for an employer, organisation or personal goal. A third option available for students is a choice of 60 fully taught credits.

The minimum recommended time for completion of the full Masters programme is three years, and the maximum time for completion is six years. The Certificate and Diploma can be completed on a pro rata basis.

Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD)

Postgraduate Professional Development from The College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is aimed at working professionals who want to advance their knowledge through a postgraduate-level course, without the time- or financial-commitment of a full Masters, Diploma or Certificate.

We offer short, focussed credit-bearing courses which provide very specific training on particular subjects and can lead to a University of Edinburgh Postgraduate Award. The courses are offered through an interactive online distance learning medium enabling participants to study in their own time. You may take a maximum of 50 credits worth of courses through our Postgraduate Professional Development (PPD) scheme. These credits will be recognised in their own right as a postgraduate-level award, or may be put towards gaining a higher award, such as a Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or MSc.

Online learning

This part-time, fully online programme will support the need for up-to-date knowledge, skills and theory in a wide variety by the use of not only world leading clinical and scientific experts but also by using the real-life impacts as viewed by patients, the people who care for them and the frontline health professionals. All of this expertise will be presented utilising a range of techniques including: online lectures, practical studies, directed readings and other video and audio resources.

Discussion boards will provide directed assessment tasks while input from expert guest lecturers and tutors offer students opportunity for collaborative critical discourse and debate of current issues.

Career opportunities

Potential career paths, exits routes and employers are very diverse and depend on the students chosen carer. For students working in a clinical environment this programme would offer them career advancement/specialism within their clinical setting.

For students coming from a scientific background there is the opportunity to improve carer prospects in laboratory research settings or alternatively to help in progressing to a PhD.

Visit the Stem Cells and Translational Neurology page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in neuroscience, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, physics, or medicine.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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