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Cellular and Molecular Physiology (Masters in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine)

Course Description

Students are offered the opportunity to conduct research in the area of Cellular and Molecular Physiology. This is a specialist research strand forming part of the Masters in Research (MRes) in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine. Cellular and Molecular Physiology strand students are mainly supervised by active researchers from the Department of Cellular & Molecular Physiology, but supervisors in other Departments performing relevant research also contribute. Students also participate in the lecture series and transferable skills offered as part of the wider MRes course.

1. Strand information for the Cellular and Molecular Physiology strand:

The Cellular and Molecular Physiology strand covers a wide range of different research areas, from fundamental studies of the cell cycle to translational work on mechanisms of adverse drug reactions. Despite this diversity, the various research areas share a common aim in trying to understand complex physiological phenomena at the cellular and molecular level. Students in this strand are therefore allocated research projects that maximise their skills in key techniques to address this, such as molecular biology, protein biochemistry, microscopy and electrophysiology. Student projects take place in research labs with strong international reputations in general areas such as cell signalling and membrane traffic.

Examples of general research project areas include calcium signalling (supervisors: Burdyga, Burgoyne, Criddle, Tepikin, Wray), ubiquitination (supervisors: Clague, Sanderson, Urbe), gastrointestinal physiology/pathophysiology (supervisors: Dimaline, Dockray, Varro) and neurobiology (supervisors: Barclay, Burgoyne, Morgan, Quinn, Royle).

2. An overview of the MRes (Master of Research) in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine

The MRes in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine provides students with high level research training within the six research departments contributing to the programme. The programme is divided into 11 strands and students choose a strand that matches their research interests; this then becomes the over-arching area of their research projects. The strands in the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine are listed below:

• Biology of Cancer
• Cellular and Molecular Physiology
• Drug Safety
• Health Economics
• Medical Sciences
• Molecular and Clinical Gastroenterology
• Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology
• Nanomedicine and Biostatistics
• Neuroscience
• Stem Cells, Tissues and Disease
• Women’s, Children’s and Perinatal Health

3. Structure of the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine:

The twelve month, full-time programme is structured to allow for 3 hours lecture per week whilst the rest of the day is spent in the lab or carrying out other research project related work.

MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine students undertake 3 research projects that comprise of 10 weeks of lab work followed by 2 weeks in which to write a report. Students also present either a poster or talk at the end of every research project. During the project, all students are encouraged to suggest experiments, design experimental protocols, as well as being taught subject specific techniques and advanced knowledge in transferable skills. The research projects will include at least three different research techniques to enhance experimental training skills that need to be clearly stated at the end of each project.

The morning lectures relate to state-of-the-art research techniques, application of knowledge in scientific and clinical areas, and the development of personal and professional transferable skills. Important and innovative parts of the transferable skills students take part in include the following workshops “IP and Commercialization (our own version of Dragon’s Den)”, Demonstrator Training and “Writing a PhD Studentship”, as well as taking part in debates for public understanding of science.

Further information, including current handbook, for the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine programme can be found on our webpage: http://www.liv.ac.uk/translational-medicine/postgraduate/mres/

4. Bursaries for the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine:

For 2016 entry we have 20 bursaries of £2000 each, providing partial funding of the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine programme. For further information and a bursary application form please contact us at .

For students considering continuing on to a PhD, the Institute offers full and part funded competitive PhD studentships for those who successfully complete the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine. All MRes students will be contacted about these studentships.

5. Applications can be made here: http://www.liv.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/applying/. You should apply for the MRes in Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine and indicate in your application that you would like to join the Cellular and Molecular Physiology strand.

6. Information about the Department of Cellular & Molecular Physiology

The Department (http://www.liv.ac.uk/physiology/) builds on a long and prestigious history and remains a leading international centre for research into the fundamental principles of human physiology. In the post genomic era, physiology has acquired a new importance as a discipline which provides a valuable link between basic and translational research. In the Department we have recognised expertise in all aspects of modern physiology ranging from the regulation of gene expression to cell, tissue and whole organism biology. In essence, our research is focused around five key areas of expertise; each of which is related to a complementary area of clinical research or drug development. Together these programs provide an exciting and dynamic research environment which benefits from increasing collaboration with clinicians working in cancer research, reproductive medicine, child health and pancreatic research.

Visit the Cellular and Molecular Physiology (Masters in Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine) page on the University of Liverpool website for more details!

All Available Videos:

(Student Profile)

Ahmed Javed - Intercalating medical student

My reasons for studying the MRes degree were the ability to add a new range of skills to those I had acquired during medical school; I didn’t really see it as a year out of my medical studies as clinical research has an important part to play for any medical professional. A year away from the clinical side of things to gain a deeper understanding of what goes on "behind the blood test" was a really good way to develop skills for a future clinician. I decided to take the initiative and do an MRes so that it would increase my desirability with my future career goals.

My area of research has involved eye cancer, specifically ocular adnexal lymphomas. This is an interesting field because lymphoma is such a broad field and a lot of the knowledge about lymphomas is transferrable to those of the adnexae, but also because as Ocular adnexal lymphoma is a rare condition it means that not a lot of work has been done on them and much of the work in my lab is somewhat novel.

Currently I enjoy the ability to equip oneself with a specific technique, as one goes through this course they acquire certain skills not only in the ability to research but also to use programs such as SPSS. I look forward to the Dragons Den like business workshop as this is again a very different - yet important skill.

Overall the MRes is a course where one will be worked quite intensively, however if it’s used to its potential it really can make an individual stand out from the crowd and give a deep understanding of what research involves without having to do a PhD.

The University of Liverpool is a great place to study, not only for the reasons of academia or the diversity within the University community but also because there is a great opportunity to be involved with a variety of sports or societies that can really help and aid development of an individual at all levels.

Liverpool is generally cheaper than other major cities, and that’s very important for students on a budget, aside from that there is a great community within Liverpool and it is a city that really has benefited from the 2008 capital of culture award. It also has close links to Manchester and there a lots of scenic places to visit nearby.

(Student Profile)

Karthik Go - MRes Graduate

The thing I enjoyed most about the MRes course was the research I was able to take part in; I love research as it brings me great happiness. If you are thinking of doing a PhD then this is the right course to opt for. I personally refer this course as a bridge to successful PhD studies. There is no doubt in my mind that what I learnt during the MRes course has helped me to be a confident and competent PhD student. The MRes research project supervisor will be the backbone for your studies. They monitor your progress on a daily basis and they are the ones who write the references for your PhD applications. So in case if you want to do a PhD inform your supervisor irrespective of your funding status. I am sure something will work out at the end and this was the case with me. I received a helping hand financially from the Institute Director and the Department I am now studying in.

The researchers I worked with during my MRes course were all excellent in their fields and this inspired me to stay to do a PhD. I met my PhD supervisor whilst I was studying my MRes course.

When I was looking for a Masters course, I applied for similar courses in 4 different Universities across the UK. I was offered places in all 4 Universities but I choose Liverpool because of 4 simple reasons. First the Institute administrative officers who interacted with me so quickly and helpfully. Secondly the RAE ratings. Third I also considered wanting to study at a Russell Group University. Fourth the city of Liverpool.

I feel the city of Liverpool is student friendly and cost effective when compared to some other places in the UK. I smile and like smiling faces around me and I see a lot of them in Liverpool and on campus. Liverpool is a cosmopolitan city and I have made friends from all around the world; you name the country and I will name the friend of mine from that country. As a student from India, I love feeling part of such a friendly student community.

(Student Profile)

Laith Abbas Al-Huseini

I am an international student from Iraq. I graduated from the MRes course and now I am studying a full-time PhD in Pharmacology. When I started the MRes course I knew I wanted to do a PhD so I discussed this with my research project supervisors. During the 3 research projects, I found the best environment I could to do my PhD with a great supervisor, a good research team and with the opportunity to research in an area that interests me.

I decided to study the MRes course because a friend had recommended it to me and also because of the University’s reputation and ranking. During the course I enjoyed the research projects and also the “Techniques in Biomedical Sciences” lecture series. The techniques I learnt during the MRes course have helped me in my current PhD studies. I also enjoyed expanding my personal and professional knowledge by giving talks, presenting posters, taking part in strand specific activities and attending seminars.

I find that the city of Liverpool has many friendly people; it is a multicultural city and has economically reasonable living costs.

When I finish my PhD I will return to my home country and I am sure that the MRes and PhD will help me to progress my career.

(Student Profile)

Michael Staunton - Intercalating medical student

The reasons for applying for the MRes were many and varied. Obviously the prestige of completing the MBChB with an additional degree is advantageous in its self. Furthermore one receives points towards Foundation programme application, due to attaining additional degrees. Points can also be awarded for publications and poster presentations which are potentially available from work conducted during the MRes course, potentially my second project will be published in time for the Foundation Programme. Thus the MRes pays dividends with regards to my immediate career prospects. With regards to future career plans, one aims towards pathology, a field within medicine where research skills are crucial, skills the MRes provides.

During the MRes I have had the privilege of working with the Liverpool Ocular Oncology Research Group (LOORG) investigating Uveal Melanoma. The group blends cutting edge research and techniques within a clinical context, perfect for those with clinical backgrounds engaging in research for the first time. Firsthand experience of ophthalmic surgery by world leaders in their field alongside in depth, hands-on introductions to techniques such as PCR only available to those working within LOORG, have made the MRes an exciting yet challenging intercalation. Personally to work with Professor Coupland is an honour, a true professional Professor Coupland is a great role model for someone hoping to follow a career in pathology. This area of research is novel and intellectually stimulating.

I have had personal histo-pathological tuition during the second MRes project, something extremely enjoyable and desperately needed for a future pathologist. One also enjoys poster-presentation days, very exciting and interesting to see what research peers have been conducting whilst I also find a natural aptitude for power-points and find the production of presentations rewarding.

My life has been changed by meeting and working with passionate people at every stage of their research life, MRes student to Professor, and how this changes one's attitude and approach to their medical career and life in general. Another advantage is a better understanding of the laboratory tests that provide clinicians with diagnoses and other data that facilitates patient care. I have no doubt that deciding to study the MRes was a wise decision.

I have found the lecturers, researchers and the Programme leaders to be friendly, helpful and tirelessly supportive. The academic year 2011/2012, when I have been studying the MRes, has certainly been the best of my University experience by far!

(Student Profile)

Peter Skellorn - Intercalating medical student

If you're taking a year out from the MBChB course, paying for another year of tuition and delaying the start of your working career then it's got to be worth your while. My main goals were to be published, develop my own research skills, and a greater understanding of my own subject area of interest, Gastroenterology and so I only considered MRes and MPhil degrees for my intercalation. These courses are better suited to achieving these goals than a BSc or an MSc. I chose the MRes degree over an MPhil, because the MRes allows you to do three different projects instead of just one.

I'm working in the Gastroenterology Department, which is the largest Gastroenterology Research Unit in the UK. I'm doing all three of my projects in John Jenkins group, focusing a panel of novel candidate biomarkers for Colorectal cancer screening. In these projects I have used the following techniques: cell culture, SiRNA gene-silencing, FACS analysis, RNA extraction, qRT-PCR, and proteomic data analysis.

The two things I enjoy the most about the MRes course, are working with and learning from a vast number of researchers and clinicians who are at the cutting edge of their own field and being able to produce and interpret completely novel results. The thing I am looking forward to most is submitting some of my own work for publication.

My career goal is to become a Colorectal Surgeon and the projects I've been working on fit in perfectly with this. I hope to gain publications from my projects, as well as a poster prize, which would be great for my CV, but I've also improved a number of relevant skills such as: scientific writing, poster design and presenting. I've really enjoyed the course so far and I would strongly recommend it to any medical student who is considering a career in academic medicine or has specific interest in one of the subject areas relevant to a strand on the MRes course.

Liverpool is a great place to be a student, it's vastly cheaper than London, and there's still plenty going on and a great night life. This is my 5th year at the University of Liverpool, what I've enjoyed most at the University aside from the academic opportunities, is the wide range of sports clubs and other societies that I have be able to be part of during my time here.

(Student Profile)

Ryan Nattrass

During my MRes year I learnt a variety of skills that when I began my PhD allowed me to start straight away with important experiments with little or no instruction. I feel the course fully prepared me for my PhD studies.

(Student Profile)

Adewunmi Adesanmi

I decided to study the MRes degree as I have always had a passion for research, and I spoke to quite a lot of people who had done a research masters and I was inspired by them. My area of research is focused on the pharmacological aspect of tropical medicine. Tropical medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with health problems that occur uniquely, are more prevalent, or prove more complex to control. Examples of tropical diseases are malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, diarrhoea and they pose a major health problem causing a high mortality rate. Incorporating pharmacology helps us to improve and design more drugs to completely eradicate or reduce the mortality rate caused by this infection. Since I have a back ground in pharmacology I was interested in this aspect as it enables researchers to design experiments which can then be used therapeutically for the treatment of major tropical diseases.

The parts of the MRes course that I really enjoy are the debates as well as the research projects. I like interacting with the other students and discussing scientific topics. I am looking forward to the Frontier modules lectures and the IP commercialisation workshop. When I finish the MRes course I plan to continue studying and the MRes is helping me to develop my research, writing and analytical skills.

I chose to study at the University of Liverpool because I wanted to study in a University that is recognised worldwide for its integrity and also known to have a lot of international students from a range of countries. I have met different people from different cultures and it has been wonderful, very friendly and open to other people’s cultures. Liverpool and the international student community feel like home away from home. The University of Liverpool is just the place to be!

(Student Profile)

Dayani Rajamanoharan

I completed the MRes course last year as a self-funding student and successfully applied for a funded PhD in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the University of Liverpool. During the MRes I enjoyed working on my research projects and how much time I was able to spend in the laboratory. The MRes year prepared me well for my PhD, providing me with experience and confidence in the lab before starting.

I decided to do my Masters at the University of Liverpool, because it's a research based University and from speaking to students already on a research programme I got to know that the University has great research facilities and a lot of collaborations to provide the best for every research project. I was also influenced because it is a Russell Group University and this was important to me. I really enjoy the atmosphere and work environment here and have found that everyone is open, friendly and welcoming. Additionally the Postgraduate Student Society is great and provides excellent opportunities for networking and making new friends.

In my opinion Liverpool is a great city for students. There are many shops and bars in the town with really good offers and student deals. There is always something on in Liverpool and you never get bored. I really enjoy Liverpool and the fact that the campus is so near to the city centre.

In terms of my future; the first time a PhD career really crossed my mind was when I was in my final year of my Bachelor course and really enjoyed the research project. I felt like all the theory we studied could finally be applied. That's why I applied for the MRes course and then started a PhD. Upon finishing my PhD I would like to first follow an academic path by conducting postdoctoral research but eventually I see myself working in industry.

Finally, I would like to mention that I am really impressed about the help and support you get in every lab from the current PhD students as well as postdocs in the lab. You never feel lost or alone.


Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine Bursaries, Master of Research (MRes) - 10 Awards

We have 10 bursaries of £2,000 each, providing partial funding of the MRes course fees.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Candidates with a good relevant background who are seeking assistance with funding the MRes course.

Application Procedure

To be considered for the bursary please complete and submit an application by 26 July 2012. You can make an on-line or paper application here: http://www.liv.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/applying/

Further Information


Entry Requirements

1st, 2:1 or 2:2 science degree (or international equivalent). The minimum English Language requirement for EU and international applicants is IELTS = 6.5. Intercalating students are welcome to apply.

Course Fees

2016 tuition fees not yet set, please enquire for more information. (Bursaries available)

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