This course consists of five taught modules (75 credits): four core modules and one of two further option modules. All five will prepare you for the research project (105 credits).

 MG 5116

Core modules are completed by all postgraduates studying a Master's of Research (MRes), and include:

Research methods 15 credits
Critical appraisal 15 credits
Statistics 15 credits
Research project planning and management 15 credits

There are two further specialist option modules and you will choose one most suitable for your research area. The specialist option modules provide the theoretical basis for the broad area in which you will conduct your laboratory or clinical research project. Your project will be supervised by a specialist researcher from one of our Research Institutes.

Option module 1 Infection and Immunity 15 credits
Option module 2 Molecular Mechanisms of Development and Cancer  15 credits

Option module 1 Infection and Immunity (15 credits)

This optional module will give you the opportunity to study the broad area of infection, with a particular focus on HIV, malaria and tuberculosis; immunity with emphasis on the cellular and molecular responses to infection, including innate and adoptive immune responses and those responses that are deleterious. The module will also provide you with insight into therapeutic approaches to infection and how new sequencing technologies and ‘omics methodologies are providing novel insights into the human microbiota, susceptibility to infection, tracking of infectious disease and mechanisms underlying resistance to antibiotics.

Option module 2 Molecular Mechanisms of Development and Cancer (15 credits)

If you choose to study this optional module you will have the opportunity to develop your theoretical knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that regulate cellular development and differentiation and contribute to the development and progression of cancer.  The module will cover common signalling pathways in development and cancer.  It will include signalling pathways regulating puberty and fertility, pregnancy and foetal development and the role of the cilium in vertebrate development and disease. It will also provide you with insight into how genome instability, changes in metabolism and angiogenesis, cell invasion and metastases and cell senescence affect the development of cancer.  This module also benefits from the inclusion of the role of the immune system in cancer and how the latest sequencing technologies and ‘omics methodologies are contributing novel insights to this field of research.

Research project areas

Research Project 105 credits

Indicative research project areas include:


Human genetics at St George’s has been at the forefront of gene discovery in the clinic and in genetic isolates. Our research staff have identified over 20 genes including genes for hereditary spastic paraplegia, epilepsy, lymphoedema, and malformation syndromes such as Robinow syndrome and Noonan syndrome. Our key themes are: cardiac genetics; lymphoedema; neurogenetics; and disease gene discovery in genetic isolates.

Example prospective projects:

  • Human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as a model to investigate underlying genetic mechanism of drug-induced arrythmias
  • Functional analysis of gene candidates for cardiovascular phenotypes
  • Identifying the candidate gene responsible for genetic cases of Worster Drought syndrome
  • Genetic investigation of yellow nail syndrome

Papers from past students include:

Infection and immunity

Infection and immunity at St George’s aims to discover new knowledge and treatments for some of the world’s most devastating infectious diseases and pathogens including HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile. We focus on the following themes in particular: Microbe (Medical Microbiology Collaborating Unit and Applied Genomics - microbial and host); Immunity (Vaccinology and Immune responses in Infection); and, Human (Translational international infectious diseases and Clinical infection). Our major strength lies in integration genomics and translational research. We work collaboratively with colleagues from within St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, on a number of infection and immunological research interests. This clinical-research synergy underpins our strength in addressing infectious diseases at the molecular level through to phase III clinical trials.

Example prospective projects:

  • Functional characterisation of a malarial parasite iron transport protein
  • Glucose and respiratory infection
  • Evaluation of antimicrobial peptides in vitro
  • Lung-targeted vaccination for tuberculosis
  • Evasion of innate immunity by paramyxoviruses

Papers from past students include:

Molecular mechanisms of cancer

Cancers occur when the cellular pathways controlling cell proliferation and growth break down. The exact cell activity that is compromised varies between cancers, and cancer causing defects have been identified in many basic cellular processes such as DNA replication, DNA repair, cell division, growth factor metabolism, apoptosis, senescence and surface contact responses. Laboratories at St George's are currently pursuing research in a wide variety of processes which are compromised in cancer, and the projects on offer will reflect this diversity. Projects will be mainly aimed at basic mechanisms, although there will be an opportunity for some projects to be more closely related to clinical applications. This project area is aimed at those interested in understanding how basic cell pathways can be subverted during cancer development.

Example prospective projects:

  • Validation of diagnostic markers for malignant brain tumours
  • The role of the human TTC4 protein in apoptosis and cancer
  • Mechanisms of Prostate Cancer Metastasis: An investigation into the mechanisms regulating the metastasis of epithelial ovarian cancer
  • Characterisation of novel antiapoptotic proteins

Papers from past students include:

Reproduction and developmental biology

Our focus is on ovarian function, and maternal and fetal events in early pregnancy, as well as subsequent embryonic development with a particular emphasis on the cardiovascular aspects of these events. Building on already successful clinical collaborations and advancing translational research is a priority. Research projects will have an emphasis on reproductive endocrinology and cellular signalling in reproduction and development. Examples include: cellular aspects of ovarian function (including anovulatory infertility and wound healing), steroid hormone synthesis and metabolism, germ cell maturation and fertilisation, integration, parturition, pre-term labour, development of germ cells and gonads, developmental genetic disorders that affect reproduction and control of embryo development.

Example prospective projects:

  • Reproductive endocrinology - polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Impact of pre-natal androgens on glucocorticoid metabolism in an animal model of polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Regulation of the maternal-fetal interface in early pregnancy
  • Ovulation, wound repair & ovarian cancer

Papers from past students include:

Last Updated: Thursday, 08 October 2015 16:34

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