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MSc in Biotechnology - modules
Research Methods: Communication Skills
This module includes the following - critical analysis of published work, reviewing papers; writing abstracts, writing research papers, preparing poster presentations and oral presentation skills.
Introductory Molecular Biology
Students join the course with a diverse background of skills. Early in the course, this module aims to ensure that all students have knowledge of the nature and properties of nucleic acids and proteins and understand how these molecules work together in gene expression and DNA replication. The module also provides an introduction to basic techniques used in Molecular Biology, such as gene cloning and PCR. Within the module, basic level chemistry is used to explain how the structure of these biological macromolecules results in their activities. Where appropriate, experimental evidence will be provided to demonstrate how our current knowledge was derived. Emphasis will be placed on the fact that molecular biology is still an experimental science.
Stem Cell Biology
- this module will cover the basic biology of embryonic stem cells, cloning procedures, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), adult stem cells, the concept of the stem cell niche and cell differentiation. The module will provide an overview of how stem cells can be utilised in biotechnologies, particularly for therapeutic purposes and in drug screening/discovery.
– this module will examine how cells and biomaterials can be combined to form new tissue. The use of specialised cell culture systems that direct the growth of different tissue types will be covered (e.g. bone, cartilage and skin); along with how microenvironment features can be manipulated to optimise tissue growth. Examples of tissue engineering that are currently used for clinical benefit will be given, plus potential uses of tissue engineering in diagnostics and research.
Fermentation / Bioreactors
- This module contains in-depth explanations of bioreactor technologies and their applications. You will learn how and why we use bioreactors to grow cells. You will also get an overview of the critical parameters in designing and monitoring cell culture experiments in modern bioreactors.
This module will provide an introduction to animal cell culture, applications of animal cell culture and genetically engineered animal cells followed by discussions of their application to both biological research and industry. The course includes cell culture experimentation designed to show the importance of serum in cell maintenance and involving techniques including aseptic methods, use of medium, passaging and cell counting.
Protein Engineering & Production
This module contains in-depth explanations of protein engineering, protein production techniques and their applications. You will learn how and why we modify native proteins to make something new. Knowledge of techniques for gene cloning, site-directed mutagenesis and generation/purification of recombinant proteins and how to engineer those proteins will be gained. You will also get an overview of genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics and bioinformatics and an insight into how these disciplines could fit together to interpret data from whole genomes.
This module will provide an overview of the different type of enzymes and their kinetics in addition to enzymes in a variety of commercial situations. This will be supported by laboratory-based practicals that will demonstrate some of the key elements of enzymatic catalysis. The module will close with a discussion of possible future technologies.
- The module emphasizes a practical knowledge of bioinformatics. The lectures and computer-based assignments will develop your competence in using the public databases of the NCBI/EBI. You will execute and interpret pairwise and multiple sequence alignments. Your knowledge gained in the assignments will be consolidated in group discussions. The application of bioinformatics to common biological/biotechnological questions will be explored through primary papers and student presentations. Basic principles of eukaryotic molecular biology will be reviewed as needed.
The research project involves experiential learning, beginning with a comprehensive and critically appraised literature review appropriate to the project. The submission will include the preparation of a detailed project plan, resourcing and costing of materials, appreciation of experimental design and ethical and logistic considerations. The project, which may be laboratory-based or a critical review, involves accruing and analysing information and drawing appropriate and valid conclusions. The report, in the form of a mini-thesis, is part of the assessment procedure in conjunction with a seminar presentation and poster both based on the results of the project investigation. This module is designed to allow students to gain experience in data analysis and interpretation, report writing, poster design and oral communication.
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