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Medical Molecular Biology (Bioinformatics) (MSc)


Course Description

This course focuses on the interaction between bioinformatics techniques and cutting-edge molecular methods to give you an insight into the mechanisms, diagnosis and treatment of disease. It is most appropriate for those wishing to study the impact and utility of bioinformatics tools in molecular medicine. The project modules will enable you to understand the requirements and rigours of project design, execution and publication of a project within this discipline.

The course is suitable for newly qualified graduates, those employed in related work and those with medical qualifications. It is important that prospective students are comfortable with the use of web-based computing tools but programming skills are not required as this is a course designed for end users, not developers of the technology.

Core Modules

• 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.

• Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics
This module reviews and discusses the ways in which molecular biology has been used to treat inherited and acquired diseases. You will investigate the ethics and legislation involved in the use of novel therapies in humans.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 unique blend of skills and knowledge of bioinformatics and molecular biology to enable you to fulfil an important role at the interface between these disciplines. It is expected that a significant number of graduates will pursue a career in research after registering for a higher degree. Others will seek employment in healthcare laboratories, industry, research laboratories, government laboratories or academia in the UK or worldwide where bioinformatics is becoming an indispensable tool in molecular medicine. One of the strengths of this degree is the mixture of backgrounds/ experience and career aspirations of the students recruited. You do not require prior work experience and we are happy to take students who are working in fields unrelated to science to support their studies.

Professional recognition

The course is accredited by the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

Employability

At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. We place as much emphasis on gaining skills relevant to the workplace as on learning the academic discipline that you are studying.

Obtaining a placement, part-time or vacation job while you study will provide you with extra cash and help you demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for.

In London, there is a plentiful supply of part-time work - most students at the University of Westminster work part-time (or full-time during vacations) to help support their studies.

Visit the Medical Molecular Biology (Bioinformatics) (MSc) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You must have at least a BSc Honours in Biology, Chemistry or a 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 may be working in a relevant area and in which case you 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.

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