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Postgraduate study
Biosciences

Cancer and Molecular Diagnostics MSc

This course is a specialist and advanced, research-focused course for those with an interest in cancer and molecular diagnostics and its contribution to solving global challenges facing humanity.

 

Course overview

You have the unique opportunity to participate in a research-intensive course, via a combination of taught modules and an in-depth research project, utilising the facilities of the National Horizons Centre (NHC). During the project you will be part of the research community at the NHC and participate in research activities including the SHLS and PGR Research Talks

The teaching team includes members of the bioscience research who are working on understanding diseases in humans and other species to translate this knowledge into ways to improve the outcome of patients.

We use state-of-the-art technology to address current clinical needs including understanding host-pathogen interactions, infectious diseases, bladder weakness, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, respiratory and other important diseases in order to improve diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options.

Facilities within the National Horizons Centre enable you to engage with a range of advance and innovative research themes including:

  • comprehensive genomic, proteomic, metabolomics data acquisition, processing and modelling capability with internationally competitive instrumentation, software and technical support
  • studies of disease pathways including biomarker discovery, treatment monitoring, development of diagnostics and screening, supported by bioinformatics modelling and development of predictive models
  • biopharmaceutical research including product characterization, metabolism and drug interaction studies
  • protein structure/function studies including aggregation, modification, activation and inhibition
  • use of advanced cellular imaging capabilities, including live cell imaging, using light, confocal and Raman microscopy approaches incorporating fluorescence resonance energy transfer and fluorescence lifetime imaging. This will enable the study of, among other topics:
    molecular interactions
    conformational changes
    drug interactions with living cells
    tissue characterisation.

Download pdf Order prospectus

 

Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Advanced Biological Aspects of Diseases

You investigate a range of innovative forward-looking research into the basic physiological aspects of disease and the associated pioneering treatments that are currently being developed. The topics include: the mechanisms and treatment of depression, transporter gene acquisition and innovation in microsporidia intracellular parasites, the potential roles of mitochondrial defects and iron accumulation in Parkinson’s disease, the contributions of the structure and function of airway epithelium to asthma and respiratory disease, molecular and cellular portraits of cancer, and sphingolipids as potential drug targets in protozoan parasites. You will fully develop the essential transferable skills of research, communication, and critical thinking by regularly reading and judging the data in primary research articles by formative presentations and in-class debate, as well as the summative written scientific review. These employability skills will be indispensable in your career development whether you progress to posts in research, industry, or hospitals.

Analytical Techniques

You focus on a range of analytical instrumentation used in bioscience research applications. Emphasis will be placed upon chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy instrumentation. The importance of these practical instrumentation techniques to modern investigations, including proteomics, metabolomics and genomics, will be explored. You will learn advanced laboratory skills for sample extraction, sample preparation, instrumentation methodology and how to interpret spectra. You will develop essential data handling skills, including the use of a range of statistical programmes.

Cancer Diagnostics and Therapeutics

This module provides a translational context of the cellular and molecular circuits of cancer, by exploring detection, diagnosis, and current treatments in personalised cancer medicine. It introduces current cutting-edge technologies in diagnostic methods and presents therapeutic approaches for haematological malignancies and solid tumours. You critically discuss the influence and importance of biomarkers and explore traditional and novel cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The introduction of cancer genomics and bioinformatics as well as pharmacogenomics are used to uncover mechanisms of cancer pathogenesis and aid diagnosis, further providing therapeutic strategies for effective personalised cancer treatments

Clinical Biochemistry and Diagnostic Techniques

You explore advanced topics in biochemistry with special focus on clinical applications and diagnostic techniques. This involves the study of clinical analysis of bodily fluids and other biological materials to aid in the diagnosis, therapy and monitoring of a variety of diseases. You will acquire the knowledge necessary for understanding the essential concepts of clinical biochemistry and of the associated diagnostic techniques.

Genomics and Bioinformatics

You gain an in depth understanding of advances genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics knowledge and their applications in specific disease state. You learn about the most recent technologies including next generation gene sequencing, genome editing, genomic and bioinformatics analyses. This module also explores the genomic application for disease treatment and prevention (pharmacogenomics), personalised medicine as well as ethical challenges in this field.

Life Science Research Project

You undertake a major independent practical research project in your discipline where you are fully integrated within a research team. Reflecting staff expertise, you will be able to pursue many discipline-related topics, including medical, industrial and environmental microbiology, molecular, cell and system biology, recombinant DNA technology, protein biochemistry, structural biology, fermentation, bioengineering and many other areas, using the state-of-the-art analytical and digital infrastructure at the National Horizons Centre. You will complete a hypothesis-driven project utilising appropriate discipline-specific laboratory, database or computational research methodologies to interrogate a hypothesis in a specialised area of the life sciences. You will be expected to work at a level recognised to be at the forefront of the discipline. Supervisors will provide guidance to support you but a high degree of autonomy is required.

Pathobiology of Cancer

You explore the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the hallmarks of cancer. Processes such as cancer angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis, as well as some of the mechanisms by which tumours escape immune destruction, are covered. The molecular processes and signalling events important in communication between the cancer cells and the tumour and the immune microenvironment, and how these interactions contribute to cancer progression is discussed. The genetic and epigenetic alterations as causes of several malignancies are also explored. Clinical manifestations, as well as the response to therapy, are considered in relation to the pathophysiological basis behind the various types of cancer. The development of resistance to cancer treatments is also outlined. This module also connects application of theoretical knowledge in cancer research into the personalised cancer medicine.

 

Modules offered may vary.

 

How you learn

The course employs a diversity of teaching and learning methods including:

• lectures
• seminars and workshops (including oral presentations and poster sessions)
• laboratory-based sessions

Lectures
Lectures are used to convey substantial elements of the subject content, provide core themes and explanations of difficult concepts, and set the scene for independent learning. The traditional format is enhanced through the use of computer-based, or other audio-visual aids, and supported by interactive VLE based provision of lecture notes and lecture capture.

Seminars
Seminars provide a context for interactive learning and allow you to explore aspects of the modules in further depth. The learning experience is enriched by the inclusion, where possible, of guest seminars from professionals in the discipline. In addition, you are encouraged to attend extracurricular presentations organised by the School and external organisations such as Royal Society of Biology.

Laboratory-based sessions
Lab sessions develop advanced research methodologies and ensure competency in using an array of complex techniques applicable to cancer and molecular diagnostics, specifically, analytical techniques and pathobiology of cancer, are laboratory focused modules which make full use of the life science research facilities at the NHC, which include dedicated microbiology, tissue culture, bio-imaging and fermentation laboratories.

Data analysis and visualisation software and computing facilities, capable of both statistical and bioinformatic analysis, are integrated into the lecture, seminar and laboratory sessions.

Research project
Your research project integrates the technical, research and employability skills gained during previous modules. It’s your opportunity to plan and organise with significant autonomy, challenge orthodoxy, demonstrate originality and operate ethically in potentially unpredictable situations and for you to demonstrate a sound appreciation and ability to select and use appropriate research methodologies and statistical approaches.

In addition to the scheduled sessions, you are expected to spend a significant number of hours of guided independent study time completing laboratory work and, subsequently, collecting, manipulating, analysing and interpreting data.

How you are assessed

Assessments test subject knowledge, application of this knowledge, independent thought and skills acquisition. A variety of assessment tools have been used to ensure a diverse assessment strategy, including:

- practical examinations
- oral presentations
- poster presentations
- technical reports
- literature surveys, evaluations and summaries
- dissertation

 

Entry requirements

At least a UK 2.2 honours degree in a relevant topic, including biology, biochemistry, microbiology, human biology and health-related areas.

A range of international qualifications are also accepted.

Applications from students with non-standard entry qualifications are welcome. We will take into account any alternative qualifications or other experience you may have. Find out about the process of Accreditation of Prior Learning

International students require IELTS 6.0 or higher with no less than 5.5 in each category.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

 

Employability

Career opportunities

As a graduate you will be confident, critical, creative, adaptable, articulate and aspiring within the field of the cancer and molecular diagnostics within industrial, commercial, government and environmental settings, research and further postgraduate study.

 

Information for international applicants

Qualifications

International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

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Full-time

2022/23 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£6,695 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£14,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

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Part-time

2022/23 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£680 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

Apply now (part-time)

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Get in touch

UK students

Email: shlsadmissions@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: 01642 738801


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International students

Email: internationalenquiries@tees.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900


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