Advanced Biological Sciences MRes

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months  
  • Programme start: Autumn 2021
  • Entry requirements: You will need a 2:1 Honours degree or higher in a relevant Biological Sciences subject. The normal expectation is that students who have completed an MRes will progress to a PhD degree.
Advanced Biological Sciences mres

Module details

Due to the impact of COVID-19 we're changing how the course is delivered

The MRes programme in Advanced Biological Sciences consists of one project module and four taught modules (worth 15 credits each). You must register for and complete a total of 180 credits (120 credits from the project, 60 from taught modules).

Two compulsory modules:

  • LIFE706 Long Research Project (120 credits) Examples of research project topics can be seen here https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/integrative-biology/postgraduate-study/mres/projects/
  • LIFE731 Research Methods and Applications in Biological Sciences (15 credits). Research and transferable skills will be covered in this module.

Three optional modules

Subject-specific modules:

These are selected to develop your scientific knowledge in the area related to your project.  Students can take at least one from this group.  Modules include, but are not restricted to,

LIFE760 - Cell and Molecular Biology of Cancer

LIFE713  - Advanced Topics in Cell Signalling

LIFE715 - Advanced Topics in Molecular Medicine

LIFE720 - Advanced Topics in Viral Disease Mechanisms

LIFE722 - Advanced Topics in Biotechnology

LIFE729 - Advanced topics in Bacterial and Fungal Diversity and Versatility

LIFE709 -  Evolution and Behaviour

LIFE721 - Informatics for Life Sciences

LIFE747 - Sustainable Food Systems

LIFE708 - Post-genomic bioinformatics (LIFE721 must also be taken)

ENVS609 - Geographic Information Systems

ENVS423 - Advanced Conservation Biology

Restricted choice skills modules:

Students will take at least one from the following skills modules according to their background and the project:

  • LIFE733 Programming for Life Sciences 
  • LIFE710 Professional, employability and research skills for advanced Biological Sciences
  • LIFE714 Negotiated Research Skills

EITHER:

  • LIFE707 Advanced Statistics for Biological Research 

OR

  • LIFE763 Statistics for Biological Research

Compulsory modules

Mres Research Project (LIFE706)
LevelM
Credit level120
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To give a student the opportunity to work in a guided but independent fashion on an area of research related to the chosen pathway, making use of the knowledge and skills acquired elsewhere in the programme. This120-credit project offers a student the opportunity to study a single topic in substantial depth.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Plan a piece of original scientific research;

(LO2) Design and perform a coherent set of investigations to test a hypothesis;

(LO3) Present their work in the form of an oral presentation to a scientific audience;

(LO4) Write their final report in the form of a manuscript that would be suitable for submission as a scientific publication.

(S1) Problem solving skills;

(S2) Communication skills;

(S3) Adaptability;

(S4) Organisational skills.

Research Methods and Applications in Biological Sciences (LIFE731)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module is designed to:

Provide students with an understanding of the processes required for the successful planning and delivery of research projects;

Introduce students to the latest, cutting edge technologies in their research field of interest;

Develop in students the transferrable communication skills that will enable them to disseminate their findings to both scientific and general audiences.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Develop hypotheses and design a series of experiments that would allow these hypotheses to be tested

Optional modules

Coding for Life Sciences (LIFE733)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aims of this module are:
1. To teach students how to code in python for basic tasks, such as manipulating numerical data or text
2. To enable students to write their own python code for analysing bioinformatics data, using data science techniques

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Write Python for basic scripting

(LO2) Critically analyse data structures in python and apply them to biological data

(LO3) Master Python for manipulating files and controlling the running of external programs

(LO4) Design and write Python code for performing simple bioinformatics tasks

(LO5) Design and build simple relational databases

(LO6) Appraise basic concepts in supervised machine learning and use Python for such analyses

(S1) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing, presentations

(S2) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

Professional, Employability and Research Skills for Advanced Biological Sciences (LIFE710)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop and acquire a range of personal and interpersonal skills relating to effective self-management and working relationships with others;

To develop and acquire an enhanced ability to communicate effectively in academic and professional settings;

To develop and acquire skills and knowledge required for enhanced employability;

To develop and acquire a range of generic skills that will help with research planning and delivery to a professional standard.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) At the end of this module, students will be able to: 1. Demonstrate improved self-awareness and personal effectiveness; 2. Work effectively as a team member to achieve a scientific goal; 3. Communicate effectively, using in a variety of contexts to scientific and non-scientific audiences; 4. Access and critically evaluate appropriate bibliographic resources and databases; 5. Evaluate relevant health and safety issues and demonstrate responsible working practices; 6. Demonstrate improved awareness of career opportunities and employability prospects. Students will also develop independent learning and self-evaluation skills

(S1) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S2) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

(S3) Communication and collaboration online participating in digital networks for learning and research

(S4) Research management developing a research strategy, project planning and delivery, risk management, formulating questions, selecting literature, using primary/secondary/diverse sources, collecting & using data, applying research methods, applying ethics

Negotiated Research Skills (LIFE714)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To enable students to acquire the research skills that will directly support, or be complementary to, their research project.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On successful completion of the module the student will be able: to systematically and accurately identify gaps in their existing set of skills needed to support their chosen research project;

(LO2) To construct a "learning contract" specifying a set of new skills to be acquired, with timescales and mechanisms indicated;

(LO3) To compile a portfolio of evidence which shows how and when the components of the learning contract have been achieved;

(LO4) To reflect on their learning, critically analysing the extent to which the components of the learning contract have been achieved and their relevance to the research project.

(S1) Time and project management: personal action planning;

(S2) Improving own learning / performance: reflective practice;

(S3) Communication (oral, written and visual): negotiation skills;

(S4) Personal attributes and qualities: self-efficacy (self-belief / intrinsic motivation).

Advanced Statistics for Biological Research (LIFE707)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

To enable students to analyse biological data by:

Choice of appropriate statistical approaches to test hypotheses;

Critical understanding of the use of a range of advanced statistical tests for appropriate analysis and  model fitting of a range of biological datasets;

Using the software package, R;

Synthesizing information, summarising statistical findings, and using hypothesis testing to critically review evidence from experimental data to support conclusions.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Illustrate and explain the methods of hypothesis testing

(LO2) Critically evaluate experimental design(s) used in data collection and then apply the appropriate statistical test(s).

(LO3) Design data collection methods appropriate to rigorous data analysis

(LO4) Synthesise information from data analysis, test statistical hypotheses and critically review evidence to support conclusions.

(S1) Problem solving skills

(S2) Numeracy

(S3) IT skills

(S4) Communication skills

(S5) Organisational skills

(S6) Lifelong learning skills

Statistics for Biological Research (LIFE763)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting40:60
Aims

To introduce and advance knowledge of a range of statistical tests that are commonly used in the Biosciences;

To give experience in the implementation of these tests using statistical and programming software;

To enable students to learn how to interpret and analyse the output of these tests.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To develop an understanding of  statistical hypothesis testing;

(LO2) To apply a range of relevant statistical tests to complex datasets to draw statistical conclusions;

(LO3) To critically assess the appropriateness of a statistical test;

(LO4) To intepret and report data collected in biological research.

(LO5) To develop programming skills relevant for statistical analysis.

(LO6) Use data visualisation techniques to present ‘big’ data

(S1) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (eg measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae);

(S2) Problem solving, critical thinking, creativity; analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

Genes and Cancer (LIFE760)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
Aims

To develop in student an understanding of how cancer occurs and the role of oncogenes and tumour suppressor  genes in the development of human cancer;

To explain to students what are the hallmarks of cancer and what are the therapeutical strategies and limitations;

To develop students' ability to apply their knowledge and understanding to critically evaluate and interpret the published literature in the field of cancer biology.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To summarise the molecular and cellular basis of cancer formation

(LO2) To critically appraise the biological capabilities aquired during the multi-step development of tumours

(LO3) To critically appraise the current therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment

(LO4) To critically appraise how new technologies (sequencing, labelling, in vitro models) have shaped our knowledge of mechanisms of cancer progression

(LO5) To synthesise information and critically review evidence to support conclusions, by applying appropriate knowledge and skills in the area of molecular biology of cancer

(S1) Information literacy online, finding, interpreting, evaluating, managing and sharing information

(S2) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

Advanced Topics in Cell Signaling (LIFE713)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

To illustrate the importance of cellular responses to external signals and how signalling information is transferred within cells;

To define, in detail, the range of different strategies used by cells for dealing with signalling information and the processing of signalling information;

To develop knowledge and deep understanding in biochemistry and biomedicine, and the ability to apply, critically evaluate, and interpret this knowledge to solve complex problems in cell signalling.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Compare and contrast the range of different mechanisms utilised for the transfer of signalling information within eukaryotic cells;

(LO2) Critically discuss the concepts and features underlying different signalling mechanisms;

(LO3) Evaluate the contributions made by specific signalling mechanisms in different cellular and physiological responses;

(LO4) Apply, critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge to define and solve complex problems in biochemistry and molecular biology and will be able to review evidence to support their conclusions.

(S1) Lifelong learning skills;

(S2) Problem solving skills;

(S3) Communication skills.

Advanced Topics in Molecular Medicine (LIFE715)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to:

1. Explore the application of molecular genetics and computational biology in the study and treatment of human disease;

2. Show how the human genome project has resulted in the identification of disease-associated genes;

3. Study in detail selected diseases such as inherited metabolic disease and muscular dystrophy;

4. Develop in students the ability to apply, critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge to solve complex problems in molecular medicine.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Evaluate critically how genetic information can be used to identify susceptibility to disease;

(LO2) Explain, in detail, the molecular processes underlying inherited diseases such as inherited metabolic diseases, phenylketonuria and muscular dystrophy;

(LO3) Appraise the latest developments in the use of adult and embryonic stem cells in regenerative medicine;

(LO4) Review critically the challenges associated with drug-discovery programmes;

(LO5) Critically evaluate the latest bioinformatics and computer-based approaches used in modern drug design;

(LO6) Synthesise information, critically review evidence to support conclusions, and define complex problems by applying appropriate knowledge and skills;

(LO7) Students will also develop independent learning and self-evaluation skills.

Advanced Topics in VIral Disease Mechanisms (LIFE720)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to:

1. Describe the latest research on the role of viruses as important pathogens of humans and animals;

2. Describe, in detail, viral virulence mechanisms, immune evasion and vaccine development;

3. Develop knowledge and deep understanding in microbiology, and ability to apply, critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge to solve complex problems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Explain, at the molecular level, the mechanisms of replication and pathogenesis of a range of different virus families

(LO2) Critically evaluate the contribution of virus infection to diseases in both humans and animals and hypotheses on the evolution of virulence;

(LO3) Evaluate the immune control of virus infection and describe viral immune evasion strategies;

(LO4) Appraise current approaches to prevention and treatment of a range of virus infections;

(LO5) Evaluate modern approaches to investigating virus pathogenesis;

(LO6) Explain current theories on the importance of globalization and climate change on the emergence and re-emergence of virus disease;

(LO7) Synthesise information, critically review evidence to support conclusions, and define and solve complex problems in virology by applying appropriate knowledge and skills.

(S1) Students will also develop independent learning and self-evaluation skills.

Advanced Topics in Biotechnology (LIFE722)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
Aims

This module aims to:
1. Describe the exploitation of microorganisms and microbial processes for biotechnological applications;
2. Discuss economical and ethical aspects of the development of novel products and environmental benefits using biotechnological processes.;
3. Explain the processes of antibiotic production, the use of microbes as hosts for mammalian gene products, plant biomass conversion and the uses and development of biosensors;
4. Develop knowledge and deep understanding in microbiology, and the ability to apply, critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge to solve complex problems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On successful completion of this module, the students should be able to: 1. Critically evaluate the economics, ethics and regulation of modern biotechnological processes;

(LO2) Critically appraise the impact of recombinant DNA technology on the biotechnology industry;

(LO3) Discuss modern approaches to strain improvement and genetic manipulation;

(LO4) Detail current approaches in microbial technology for the production of alternative fuels and feedstuffs;

(LO5) Critically describe The Human Microbiome Project;

(LO6) Synthesise information, critically review evidence to support conclusions, and define and solve complex problems in microbial biotechnology by applying appropriate knowledge and skills.

(LO7) Students will also develop independent learning and self-evaluation skills

Advanced Topics in Bacterial and Fungal Diversity and Versatility (LIFE729)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

This module aims to:

1. Explain the diversity of microbial life and its adaptation to environment;

2. Describe bacteria and fungi that have interesting properties as model systems, as well as making important contributions with regard to microbiological processes, both natural and engineered;

3. Develop knowledge and deep understanding in microbiology, and ability to apply, critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge to solve complex problems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Appraise the principles and practice underpinning bacterial taxonomy;

(LO2) Critically evaluate the contribution of modern molecular techniques in determining phylogenies and the composition of bacterial and fungal communities;

(LO3) Explain in detail how bacteria and fungi grow and adapt to their environment;

(LO4) Evaluate the contributions made by key model systems to the understanding of bacterial and fungal growth and differentiation;

(LO5) Synthesise information, critically review eveidence to support conclusions and define and solve complex problems in microbiology by applying appropriate knowledge and skills.

(S1) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

Advanced Topics in Animal Behaviour (LIFE743)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
Aims

This module aims to:

1. Provide an understanding of the use of evolutionary theory to understanding animal behaviour;

2. Develop knowledge and deep understanding of the complexity of animal behaviour and the ability to apply, critically evaluate and interpret this knowledge in the light of selected primary and secondary literature.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Evaluate the use of the adaptationist approach in studying behaviour

(LO2) Critically evaluate how various factors affect the evolution of reproductive behaviour

(LO3) Appraise current understanding of the evolution of altruism and cooperation

(LO4) Formulate hypotheses to explain why individuals vary in behaviour

(LO5) Assess comparative approaches in the study of animal cognition and critically evaluate why cognitive processes of animals might not be, and often are not, analogous to human cognitive processes

(S1) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S2) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

Sustainable Food Systems (LIFE747)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To introduce students to the concepts of sustainable food systems; 2.  To develop in students an appreciation of the interdisciplinary approaches required to design future food systems; 3. To develop in students a state-of-the art scientific understanding of disciplines underpinning sustainable food systems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Explain why it is essential to employ an interdisciplinary approach to the study of sustainable food systems and what it entails.

(LO2) Critically review the latest scientific approaches in the various fields associated with sustainable food systems.

(LO3) Apply the underlying technological and methodological principles of sustainable food systems to food system analysis.

(LO4) Synthesise information from differing sources and critically review evidence to support conclusions.

(LO5) Design novel approaches and solutions to address the challenges of future food security

(S1) Teamwork

(S2) Communication skills

(S3) Organisational skills

(S4) Lifelong learning skills

(S5) Problem solving/ critical thinking/ creativity analysing facts and situations and applying creative thinking to develop appropriate solutions.

(S6) Global perspectives demonstrate international perspectives as professionals/citizens; locate, discuss, analyse, evaluate information from international sources; consider issues from a variety of cultural perspectives, consider ethical and social responsibility issues in international settings; value diversity of language and culture

Post-genomic Bioinformatics (LIFE708)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop in students a critical understanding  of the origin, valueand limitations of the types of data generated by different omic technologies and of appropriate tools for analysis of the data.  To introduce students to  how bioinformatics is used to solve real-world research questions at post-graduate level, with reference to postgraduate research projects and beyond.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Apply bioinformatics tools to address a wide range of real-world analytical tasks involving biological information

(LO2) Analyse critically the principles underlying the current generation of research tools

(LO3)  Exploit the information available in a wide variety of biological databases to address current research questions

(S1) Students will also develop independent learning and self-evalution skills

(S2) Critical thinking

Geographic Information Science (ENVS609)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

Understand how digital representations of the real world can be created within a GIS including the referencing of geographic features;
To gain familiarity with the unique properties of geographic data including spatial autocorrelation and modifiable areal units;
Appreciate that there are uncertainties in the creation of geographic representations;
Develop skills in the basic use of GIS to create digital representations and understand their constraints within a framework of GIScience

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Gain a sound understanding of the function, concepts  and features of a Geographic Information System

(LO2) Understand those constraints and considerations that are required when implementing a GIS to build geographic representations

(LO3) Develop practical skills in the application of a GIS to those data types often associated with a student's disciplinary area

(S1) Numeracy, GIS ans spatial modelling skills

(S2) Problem solving skills

(S3) IT skills

Advanced Conservation Biology (ENVS423)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The aim of this module is to provide students with an appreciation of the variety of approaches used in conservation and the value of a long-term perspective;
Specifically the module aims to provide students with:
An understanding of changes in paradigms underlying ecology and conservation;
An understanding of the strategies used in conservation management, insitu, ex situ, and from global to local;
An insight into the science of restoration ecology and enable students to develop specific skills including essay writing, presentations, critical evaluation;
Help students to gain both team-building skills but the ability to plan and execute work independently.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Understand and summarize how ecological andconservation paradigms have changed over time

(LO2) Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and approaches used in conservation management

(LO3) Critique and analyse published materials and synthesize into appropriate argument

(LO4) Design, orally communicate and critique approaches to conservation management.

(S1) Teamwork

(S2) Organisational skills

(S3) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, influencing, presentations

(S4) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

(S5) Problem solving skills