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Biomedical Sciences (MSc)


Course Description

This course allows you to plan your own taught programme to match your interests and experience by selecting modules from a diverse range of option modules from a diverse range offered by the biosciences masters course in the in the Faculty of Science and Technology, with the advice of the Course Leader. For example, you could combine modules on microbiology and molecular biology or those on haematology and clinical chemistry.

Alternatively, you can combine basic science with study of the communication or commercialisation of science. We also offer the opportunity to consider the increasing role of automation in diagnostic laboratories. Those studying part time are free to develop their module choices as they progress.

Whatever the combination, you will be able to expand your understanding of human diseases, their investigation and therapy, and develop your competence in the design and execution of a laboratory-based project.

Core Modules

• Postgraduate Research Methods
You will be able to develop your skills in information retrieval, critical analysis and presentation relevant to your research topic, and form a clear plan for your project.

• Postgraduate Project
This module aims to enhance your skills of self-management, experimental design, critical analysis and interpretation of data, enabling you to present and justify your research

Option Modules

• Advanced Cancer Biology
This module will explore the role of common signalling pathways and other molecular mechanisms implicated in carcinogenesis, including the role of cancer stem cells in disease progression and metastasis. Recent advances in diagnostic methods and therapeutic strategies will be discussed as well as ways in which public health initiatives can lower the risk of cancer development, and how issues related to cancer are reported in the media.

• Advances in Cellular Pathology
This module will engage with modern pathology practice in the cellular pathology specialty. You will evaluate advances in diagnostic, prognostic and predictive testing in the laboratory, discussed in the light of developments in our underpinning understanding of pathology and of evolving technologies.

• Automation in Biomedical Sciences
This module will explore the current and potential impact of laboratory automation on the practice of biomedical science in the context of diagnosis and research. You will explore automation from the perspectives of technology, quality, impact on skill requirements, cost/benefit and laboratory organisation. The module will include site visits to laboratories using state-of-the-art automation.

• Cell Signalling and Genetics
This module provides up-to-date information on cell signalling processes coupling surface receptor engagement to changes in gene expression. Transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms are discussed in relation to selected cell-signalling pathways responsible for controlling cell functions such as cell cycle, cell differentiation and cell death. Examples of defective cell signalling through inherited and somatically acquired mutations in signalling components will be highlighted in relation to human disease

• Cellular Haematology
This module will enable you to understand how blood cells are produced and how they function in normal and pathological situations. You will consider the causes, consequences and laboratory features of a range of red cell disorders and haematological malignancies, and be able to evaluate and interpret the relevant diagnostic testing procedures.

• Clinical Aspects of Microbial Physiology and Chemotherapy
The module aims to enable you to analyse critically aspects of microbial physiology, metabolism and chemotherapy and relate these to appropriate areas of medical microbiology, such as pathogenicity, disease diagnosis, treatment and control.

• Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
This module aims to emphasise the intellectual skills and knowledge you require to understand endocrine function, assays of hormone concentration, pathologies and their laboratory investigation. Emphasis is placed on developing a deep understanding of the cellular and biochemical processes which underlie pathology.

• Communicating Science
Introducing you to key concepts in science communication, its challenges, rewards and applications, this module is designed to incorporate scenarios related to your interests, such as health, drug discovery and water science. The roles of science and scientists in society and how the public perceives, interacts with and responds to the information produced by scientists are explored, with the history of communicating science used to contextualise current issues in disseminating information.

• Concepts and Principals of Human Nutrition
This module introduces you to the basic concepts and principles of nutritional science that underpin the theory and practice of public health nutrition. You will explore the role of macro- and micro-nutrients in maintaining health, and their effects when consumed in excess or when deficient, through the appraisal of scientific information relating to their structure, function, sources and bio-availability. This module emphasises the skills required to develop a critical understanding of the scientific basis of nutritional requirements, factors that influence them, and how they are applied to populations throughout the life cycle.

• Diagnostic Cellular Pathology
This module provides you with a clear understanding of the science, practice and scope of routine diagnostic cellular pathology. The module will encourage you to evaluate disease pathogenesis at the molecular, cellular and tissue levels with particular reference to the diagnosis of disease in the cellular pathology laboratory.

• Diagnostic Clinical Biochemistry
An in depth study of the aetiology, pathogenesis and laboratory investigation of selected pathologies and their laboratory investigation. Principles of key and current analytical methods in the field are also included as well as the latest developments in diagnostic clinical biochemistry.

• Extended Postgraduate Project
This module gives you the opportunity to investigate an appropriate research topic, generate and critically analyse data, and present your results and discuss findings in the context of previously published work. The project proposed and undertaken must include rigorous and critical analysis of data with a high level of initiative. This module is intended for students wishing to gain greater research experience and includes an extended period of research activity and extended assessment regime.

• Immunohaematology and Haemostasis
This module will cover clinically important blood group systems and laboratory techniques used to identify blood group antigens and antibodies, and to ensure safety of blood components for transfusion and transplantation. In addition you will examine the various components of the haemostasis system together with clinical disorders leading to increased risk of bleeding or thrombosis. Anticoagulant therapy and relevant laboratory techniques for investigation of haemostasis will also be covered.

• Immunopathology
You will analyse and discuss cellular and molecular aspects of innate and adaptive immune responses, and advances in modern methods for disease diagnosis and treatment. This will include strategies available for the diagnosis of inherited and acquired immunological disorders, normal and pathological immune responses to extracellular and intracellular pathogens, transplantation of organs and tissues, immune surveillance of tumours, autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders.

• Immunotherapy
The module aims to investigate the role of immunological tools such as vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and cytokines in the treatment of human disease.

• Infectious Diseases and Public Health
The module explores the factors determining the importance of infectious diseases and the role of surveillance in their control. You will develop a critical approach to contemporary literature on selected diseases, evaluating the relative importance of epidemiology, routine laboratory investigations, laboratory-based research, clinical diagnosis and control of infectious diseases.

• Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics
This module is designed to make you aware of the impact of molecular biology on the diagnosis of human diseases. You will critically review the technologies and determine the advantages and disadvantages associated with each diagnostic strategy. Issues of accuracy, implementation, ethics and safety will be addressed.

• Molecular Bioinformatics
Bioinformatics is an exciting new discipline at the interface of computer science, information and biology and is playing a crucial role in the development of personalised medicine. From genome sequencing projects thigh to rational drug design protein engineering it offers great opportunities for enhancing our understanding of biology at the molecular level and for the developments of new therapeutics. Topics covered include: analysis of protein sequences and structure, modelling protein structure and function, rational drug design, protein structure predication and protein engineering.

• Molecular Science and Diagnostics
This module is designed to make you aware of the impact of molecular biology on the diagnosis of human diseases. You will critically review the technologies and determine the advantages and disadvantages associated with each diagnostic strategy. Issues of accuracy, implementation, ethics and safety will be addressed.

• Principles of Molecular Medicine
The module provides you with a critical appreciation of the human genome, its regulation, functional significance of gene mutations and current approaches of identification of human genetic disorders. Topics covered include: molecular basis of host-pathogen interaction; molecular pathology of disease with simple genetics; molecular genetics of disease; complex systems, immunogenetics and disease; and molecular genetics of cancer.

• Principles of Pharmacology and Drug Discovery
This module is an introduction to pharmacology, exploring the role that pharmacology plays in the development of drugs from bench to bedside, examining the need for improving pharmacotherapy for existing and emerging diseases and the role that pharmacoeconomics plays in the drug discovery process.

• Regenerative Medicine
The module provides information on the current scope of regenerative medicine, emerging techniques, novel biomaterials and scaffold sources, stem cell harvesting and differentiation. The module also provides information on the use of bio–reactors in the creation and culturing of three dimensional constructs.

• Science, Technology and Commercialisation
You will gain an insight into the scope of commercial biotechnology, starting and financing a company, the role of intellectual property protection, writing a business plan, assessing projects, managing a company, managing company finances, and coping with industrial safety legislation

• Systems Biology
This module will introduce the theoretical and practical underpinnings of systems biology. The emphasis is on studies of entire systems, assisted by the use of bioinformatics and how the knowledge from these may be applied to medicine. The module will examine databases and other resources as well as discuss issues key to the studies of entire systems.

Associated careers

You will develop a range of transferable skills that will enhance your employment prospects and your research opportunities in the UK or overseas. This course has a diverse intake pf both full and part-time home/EU students range from recent graduates top those working in diagnostic laboratories who wish to gain additional qualification while our international students often have experience in biomedical science laboratories and following completion of their studies will return to their home countries pursue promotion or research opportunities.

Visit the Biomedical Sciences (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Must have at least a BSc Honours in biomedical sciences or in a closely related subject, a professional qualification of equivalent status and associated work experience, or an equivalent qualification deemed suitable by the course team. If you are applying for part-time study, you will normally be working in a relevant area and will require written support from your employer including confirmation that facilities will be available in your workplace for you to carry out your research project. If your first language is not English you should have an IELTS score of at least 6.5, with 6.0 in each element.

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