Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicine MRes

  • Programme duration: Full-time: 12 months  
  • Programme start: September 2023
  • Entry requirements: Applicants should have a good first degree in a relevant subject (2:1 Hons or higher). Applicants with a high 2:2 (55% and above) will be considered on a case by case basis. Please see the Entry requirements tab for further information.
Biomedical Sciences and Translational Medicince mres

Module details

This programme is currently being reviewed as part of our revalidation process.  Module choice details will follow in due course.

Pathway descriptions

Biology of Cancer

The Biology of Cancer pathway offers students the possibility of undertaking research alongside internationally recognised scientists who are performing discovery led research to understand the mechanisms of cancer and find new ways to detect and treat the disease.

The programme offers opportunities for training in both fundamental and translational research. Fundamental research includes activities such as dissecting the roles of specific oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, identifying novel biomarkers or genomic profiles that provide new insight into the mechanisms of disease and cancer progression. Translational research is more patient oriented, and includes activities such as examining patient samples for the presence of known diagnostic or prognostic signatures in patient samples DNA, RNA or protein biomarkers) to enable early detection of cancer or allow predictions of which patients are likely to respond to particular treatments.
Students in this strand are allocated research projects that maximise their skills in the key research techniques of molecular biology, protein biochemistry, microscopy, and the statistical analysis of patient data sets.

Examples of research projects include fundamental and translational research of pancreatic cancer, head and neck cancers, blood cancers, such as leukaemias and lymphomas and tumours affecting the eyes.


Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing

The Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing pathway offers students an opportunity to work with world renowned researchers who are using biomedical imaging and sophisticated image analysis techniques to answer basic physiological and biological questions for addressing clinical problems.

Expertise is available in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Multi-Spectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT), which is a novel imaging method utilizing pulsed-laser light and ultrasound to generate imaging data. Investigators are also developing sophisticated image segmentation and registration methods for analysis of imaging data to solve major clinical and research questions. Ongoing research projects include MRI for applications in neuro-imaging, brain cancer, kidney function and liver regeneration; MSOT imaging for assessing kidney and liver function; tissue pH and electrical conductivity measurement of tissues using MRI.

Students will have an opportunity to develop skills in data acquisition, analysis and interpretation of biomedical imaging, a rapidly progressing field in the modern world of clinical research. Specific skills sets may include a combination of the following: (1) developing animal models of diseases (2) image processing and analysis (3) statistical analysis of imaging data (4) basic MATLAB programming and hands on experience in image processing software like AMIRA, FSL, ImageJ and (5) critical interpretation of imaging data.


Cancer Medicine

The Cancer Medicine pathway offers students the possibility to undertake research alongside internationally recognised basic and clinical scientists.

Both fundamental and translational research is offered. Fundamental research includes activities such as dissecting the role of stroma in cancer progression and DNA repair mechanisms. Translational research includes development of biomarkers for early detection of cancer and treatment options.

Students in this strand are allocated to research projects that match the main strategic research areas of the newly formed Liverpool Cancer Research Institute, such as basic mechanisms underpinning cancers and pancreatic, lung, eye, haematological and head and neck cancers.

Examples of research projects include fundamental and applied research of the role of stromal cells, such as macrophages, in pancreatic cancer progression.


Medical Sciences

Projects in areas of medically relevant research can be drawn from any of the wide range of research areas covered by staff within the Institute of Systems, Molecular and Integrative Biology (ISMIB).

As with the other pathways, projects will be allocated after consultation with students about their research interests. This pathway is primarily designed for intercalating medical or dental students, but is also available to non-clinical students.


Molecular and Clinical Gastroenterology

The Department of Gastroenterology provides excellent opportunities for laboratory and clinical research focusing on the pathogenesis of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract in humans and animals (www.liv.ac.uk/gastroenterology). Our focus is on “translational” research that will take advances in basic medical research out of the laboratory and into the hospital or veterinary clinic ‘from the bench to bedside’ in order to improve the health and welfare of people and animals world-wide.

Examples of research projects include: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – role of bacterial factors, the development and assessment of novel therapies, and Gastrointestinal Cancers.

We employ the whole range of cutting-edge experimental techniques from mechanistic studies involving cell-lines and gastrointestinal tissues through to patient studies and clinical trials.


Pharmacology and Therapeutics

This pathway offers projects in 3 main areas, molecular and clinical pharmacology, drug safety and nanomedicine. In Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology, students are provided with the opportunity to acquire research skills and knowledge across modern pharmacological issues. This encompasses fundamental mechanistic studies, clinical analyses and mathematical modelling to understand the mechanisms that underpin pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, for the treatment of infectious diseases, cancer, immunological and CNS disorders. Students will have a choice of research projects that will provide training in methodologies to address key questions in these areas and opportunity to test a number of hypotheses.

Drug Safety is an exciting branch of experimental science that combines Pharmacology and Toxicology, which informs how to design safer drugs through knowledge of the mechanisms of adverse drug reactions. Drug safety research themes include: Development of novel preclinical test systems to identify toxicological potential in new drug candidates; Development of novel clinical genotyping screens to identify susceptible individuals and inform their therapeutic management; Informing the drug design process at an early stage to avoid incorporation of potentially toxic chemical motifs.

Nanomedicine research projects will cover a variety of ambitions, from development of novel methodological tools for evaluation of nanomaterials, to implementation of pharmacological techniques to accelerate the translation of bespoke materials towards clinical applications. Expertise available predominantly relates to drug delivery applications and includes methods for developing nanoparticles as drug delivery vehicles, which spans solid drug nanoparticles, lipid-based materials, or polymer nanoparticles. Expertise for in vitro and in silico characterisation of nanoparticle interactions with biological systems as they relate to the efficacy and safety of nanomaterials is a local strength, which is complemented by in vivo models to confirm nanoparticle pharmacokinetics and distribution.

Examples of techniques that may be acquired on the Pharmacology and Therapeutics pathway include: molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, mass spectrometry, genetic analysis, in silico approaches and/or cloning/transfection. Projects take place in research labs with strong international reputations in general areas such as hypersensitivity, drug safety and personalised medicine.

Example drug safety related projects include: Development of novel preclinical test systems to identify toxicological potential in new drug candidates; Development of novel clinical genotyping screens to identify susceptible individuals and inform their therapeutic management, and informing drug design at an early stage to avoid incorporation of potentially toxic chemical motifs.

Nanomedicine-based projects include: Synthesis of nanotechnology-enabled medicines for the treatment of diseases; Pharmacological evaluation of route-dependent nanoparticle pharmacokinetics, and early evaluation of nanomaterial safety (e.g. interactions of drug nanoparticles with the immune system).


Neuroscience

The Neuroscience pathway covers a wide spectrum of research interests, encompassing studies of the basic cellular and molecular properties of neurons and neuronal signalling, analysis of the neurobiological basis of health and disease, exploration of the structure and function of the human nervous system, and investigation of the characteristics and underlying mechanisms of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders in clinically-orientated research projects.

Projects are based in laboratories in multiple academic departments in the Institute of Systems Molecular and Integrated Biology. They can also be conducted in collaboration with brain imaging scientists at the MARIARC facility and with clinical neuroscience researchers at the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in North Liverpool. Major areas of active research include epilepsy, demyelinating disorders, neuro-behavioural disorders, neuro-degeneration and MRI-based brain imaging.

Techniques utilised within this strand are highly varied and project-specific but are typically drawn from the broad disciplines of structural and molecular biology, protein biochemistry, pharmacology, electrophysiology, microscopy, genomics and epigenetics, structural and functional MRI neuroimaging, neuropsychological assessment, and clinical disease phenotyping.


Cellular and Molecular Physiology

The Cellular and Molecular Physiology pathway covers a wide range of different research areas, from fundamental studies of cell biology to translational work on the mechanisms of human disease. Despite this diversity, the various research areas share a common aim in trying to understand complex physiological phenomena at the cellular and molecular level. Students in this strand are therefore allocated research projects that maximise their skills in key techniques to address this, such as molecular biology, protein biochemistry, calcium imaging, genetics, microscopy and electrophysiology.

Examples of general research project areas include calcium signalling, cell signalling and ubiquitination disease related protein networks, cancer microenvironment and neuronal function/dysfunction.


Stem Cells, Tissues and Disease

This pathway is focussed on stem cell research and the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie a variety of human diseases. The research programmes span from single cell-based studies, investigating the molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, to whole organism-based preclinical studies investigating the therapeutic potential of stem cells in disease.

Depending on their chosen research project, students in the Stem Cells, Tissues and Disease strand will receive training in various key techniques, such as stem cell and induced pluripotent cell tissue culture, embryo dissection, animal handling, immunostaining, ELISA, flow cytometry, histology and biomarker analysis, microscopy (including immunofluorescence and confocal), cloning and quantitative PCR.

Examples of research project areas include embryonic stem cell and induced pluripotent cell biology, mesothelial, endometrial and neural stem cell biology, calcium signalling in disease , and the role of the tissue microenvironment in cancer, and cardiovascular disease.


Compulsory modules

Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine Research Project 1 (full-time) (BIOM703)
LevelM
Credit level40
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To provide students with training in appropriate techniques, research methods and project management in order to conduct a novel research project on aspects of biomedical and translational sciences within an active, first class research environment.

2 To provide the opportunity for students to experience cutting-edge research, and to provide an up-to-date understanding of recent developments and applications in areas of biomedical and translational sciences.

3. To enable students to develop a range of complementary research and employability skills which will provide them with the skills needed to pursue a research career or other professional employment.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Plan an original research study in the field of biomedical sciences within a specified time frame.

(LO2) Critically evaluate appropriate research techniques, when designing a biomedical sciences research project.

(LO3) Critically appraise relevant literature in the field of biomedical sciences, utilising insights when designing an original research project.

(LO4) Communicate project ideas and principles to a scientific audience.

(S1) Literacy ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning.

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

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

(S4) Self-management readiness to accept responsibility (i.e. leadership), flexibility, resilience, self-starting, initiative, integrity, willingness to take risks, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning.

(S5) Plan research within ethical, health and safety, and research governance frameworks.

Biomedical Sciences & Translational Medicine Research Project 2 (full-time) (BIOM704)
LevelM
Credit level80
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

1. To provide students with training in appropriate techniques, research methods and project management in order to conduct a novel research project on aspects of biomedical and translational sciences within an active, first class research environment.

2. To provide the opportunity for students to experience cutting-edge research, and to provide an up-to-date understanding of recent developments and applications in areas of biomedical and translational sciences.

3. To enable students to develop a range of complementary research and employability skills which will provide them with the skills needed to pursue a research career or other professional employment.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Conduct, analyse and interpret original empirical research in the field of biomedical sciences within a specified time frame.

(LO2) Apply and critically evaluate appropriate techniques when conducting biomedical sciences research.

(LO3) Communicate project findings to a scientific audience.

(LO4) Critically appraise relevant literature in the field of biomedical sciences, utilising insights when interpreting results from original research.

(LO5) Evaluate own performance and working standards by reflection, and place work in a wider scientific context.

(S1) Literacy ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning.

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

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

(S4) Self-management readiness to accept responsibility (i.e. leadership), flexibility, resilience, self-starting, initiative, integrity, willingness to take risks, appropriate assertiveness, time management, readiness to improve own performance based on feedback/reflective learning.

(S5) Manage and execute research within ethical, health and safety, and research governance frameworks.

Techniques and Frontiers in Biomedical Sciences (BIOM604)
LevelM
Credit level30
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop advanced knowledge of current and emerging techniques used in Biomedical Sciences

To provide training in critical evaluation of recent research advances in biomedical and translational research

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To demonstrate understanding of the fundamental skills and experimental methods that underpin modern research in biomedical sciences.

(LO2) To evaluate current experimental limitations and appraise future technical developments

(LO3) To demonstrate understanding of the fundamental concepts underpinning modern ideas in biomedical sciences

(LO4) To show independent learning ability to access, synthesise and discuss, in writing, the subject literature.

(LO6)

(S1) Literacy application of literacy, ability to produce clear, structured written work and oral literacy - including listening and questioning

(S2) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing, presentations

(S3) Numeracy (application of) manipulation of numbers, general mathematical awareness and its application in practical contexts (e.g. measuring, weighing, estimating and applying formulae)

(S4) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

Transferable Skills (BIOM603)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterWhole Session
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To provide students with appropriate key skills relevant to careers in biomedical science-related areas

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To demonstrate understanding of how to obtain funding for research and the relevance of biomedical research to business opportunities and the commercial sector.

(LO2) To be able to communicate science to both specialists and no specialists.

(LO3) To demonstrate understand of the complexity of ethical issues in biomedical research

(LO4) To show team working and self-reflective skills

(LO5)

(S1) Team (group) working respecting others, co-operating, negotiating / persuading, awareness of interdependence with others

(S2) Business and customer awareness basic understanding of the key drivers for business success – including the importance of innovation and taking calculated risks – and the need to provide customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty

(S3) Communication, listening and questioning respecting others, contributing to discussions, communicating in a foreign language, influencing, presentations

(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

Optional modules

Cellular Biotechnology and Biological Imaging (LIFE749)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterFirst Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To enhance the core skills acquired , including both scientific (presentational and communication) and employability skills, and to provide advice on careers and career development in imaging technologies for cell analysis on the microscopic level as well as for cell imaging and functional analysis in animal models.

To enable students to evaluate the latest scientific literature and technologies in imaging technologies for cell analysis on the microscopic level as well as for cell imaging and functional analysis in animal models of disease and topical issues of particular concern to biotechnologist.

To enhance problem solving skills by data analysis exercises in relation to experimental methods in imaging and cell biotechnology, and develop a deeper understanding of topical issues in the subject.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Compare various mammalian cell culture and cell analysis techniques.

(LO2) Critically review the molecular details of various technologies for the genetic manipulation of mammalian cells .

(LO3) Critically evaluate a broad range of imaging techniques and modalities to analyse cellular features and cell behaviour at different scales, from microscopic analysis to imaging in animal models of disease.

(LO4) Appraise the translational impact of cellular biotechnology approaches and justify their application in medical research.

(S1) Scientific Communication

(S2) Scientific Technical Ability

(S3) Digital Fluency

(S4) Critical Thinking

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

This module is aimed at postgraduate students in the Life Sciences, wishing to learn about methods for use in data-intensive research. The module provides a broad introduction to the use of Python coding for performing basic tasks in the biological sciences. The module will give students practical experience in writing their own Python scripts for basic bioinformatics tasks, such as manipulating DNA, RNA and protein sequences, file input/output and working with other programs, such as BLAST. There is also an introduction to data visualisation using Python, and simple techniques used in data science, including a basic introduction to machine learning.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Use Python for basic scripting

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

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

(LO4) Write Python code for performing simple bioinformatics tasks

(LO5) Use Python to plot and analyse simple data

(LO6) Understand 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

Cancer Clinical Trials (LIFE726)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module is designed to provide the students insights into how cancer clinical trials are designed and what strategies are to be considered whilst designing and executing a clinical trial. In order to achieve this, the students will be introduced to key concepts in this field, followed by lectures on how translational research is linked to clinical trials, with respect to study design, as well as regulatory requirements. The assessments in this module will enable students to critically appraise published clinical trials and systematic reviews. The module will have several case-based learning tutorials and workshops, all of which will enable the students to independently design a clinical trial to address a clinically important question.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Assess the different cancer clinical trial strategies and designs

(LO2) Justify appropriate courses of action to ensure good practice is set out and adhered to in given cancer clinical trial situations

(LO3) Analyse and interpret cancer clinical trial data

(LO4) Critique and appraise published cancer clinical trials and systematic reviews

(S1) Scientific communication

(S2) Develop critical thinking

(S3) Digital fluency

Frontiers in Cancer Research and Treatment (LIFE724)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

This module aims to allow students to: develop the knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of cancer biology and the current challenges in both diagnosis and treatment of cancer; gain an understanding of different treatment modalities used against cancer including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy along with their advantages and disadvantages; understand the mechanisms of cancer resistance to treatment; understand the role of cancer biomarkers in patient stratification for optimal treatment strategies as well as the challenges in diagnosis of cancer and critically appraise scientific literature and seminars in the cancer field and to analyse and interpret tumour tissue samples.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To assess and critique the current topics of research in cancer

(LO2) To identify unmet screening, diagnostic and therapeutic needs in cancer.

(LO3) To analyse and interpret research areas focussing on the fundamental mechanisms of cancer growth and resistance to therapies

(LO4) To appraise state of the art technologies used in cancer research and interpret results

(S1) Problem solving

(S2) Presentation of scientific data

(S3) Critical assessment of scientific data

Immunology (LIFE728)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To develop principal skills in presenting immunological interactions and responses using graphics, posters and verbal communication that are transferable and key for employability.

To aid critical evaluation of current topics, problems and developments in immunological research through advanced scholarship

To evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of approaches used for interrogating the host immune response and integrating functions and evasion mechanisms of pathogens

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) To evaluate critically  the current concepts of host immunity and defence against viral, bacterial and parasite infections

(LO2) Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of innate and adaptive immune responses and their interactions

(LO3) Critically evaluate methodologies for the study of key effector immune cells in host immune tissues, their migration and functions

(LO4) Demonstrate a systematic understanding of immune function knowledge, and a critical awareness of the mucosal immune system relevant to the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts and selected exemplar pathogens

(LO5) Demonstrate critical awareness of current problems from immunological threats posed by infectious diseases and the potential of vaccines

(S1) Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and communicate their conclusions clearly to audiences

(S2) Develop transferable skills; exercising initiative; independent-learning ability; digital fluency

Proteomics Metabolomics and Data Analysis (LIFE754)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

To illustrate the value of proteomics and metabolomics towards unbiased, quantitative and high-throughput analysis of biological systems. To offer demonstrations in the design and synthesis of proteomic and metabolomics experiments, including practical demonstrations within the metabolomics and proteomics facilities.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Appraise proteomic and metabolome techniques.

(LO2) Evaluate analytical methods and design proteomics or metabolomics experiments to address a given biological problem.

(LO3) Critically appraise data analysis tools and strategies and interpret the experimental data in the biological context

(S1) Problem Solving Skills

(S2) Communication Skills – Professional Report Writing

(S3) Coding and Statistical Analysis

Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology (LIFE756)
LevelM
Credit level15
SemesterSecond Semester
Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
Aims

The module aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the grand challenges in biotechnological applications and the primary design principles of synthetic biology. The module also aims to teach tools and strategies being developed and applied in the rapidly expanding field of synthetic biology and train students in practical
experience by demonstrating the University’s research facilities and providing research and industry-based projects encompassing green biotechnology.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Critically appraise concept and research evidence relating to current grand challenges and industrial needs, and how biotechnological methods are developed and exploited to address the problems

(LO2) Critically evaluate key theoretical and practical knowledge in a diverse range of synthetic biology and biotechnology techniques and applications

(LO3) Design and evaluate appropriate approaches and processes for synthetic biology and biotechnology techniques

(LO4) Evaluate the public concerns and ethical issues in the fields of synthetic biology and biotechnology

(S1) Scientific communication

(S2) Analyse, synthesize, evaluate and interpret information from a variety of sources in a critical manner

(S3) Critical thinking

(S4) Team work