Skip to content
Duration

One year, full time

Application Deadline

30 June 2020

Location

St George's, University of London

UK, EU and non-EU (international) citizens may apply

Start dates

September 2020

Biomedical scientists work at the cutting edge of research and medicine, helping to solve some of the most threatening diseases and conditions facing mankind. St George’s boasts a renowned heritage in this field, constantly developing new and innovative ways to diagnose, prevent and treat numerous diseases. Edward Jenner, the ‘father of immunology’ who successfully performed the first vaccination against smallpox, was based at St George’s. More recently, our research has included a focus on tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV in low and middle-income countries.

This pathway will give you the opportunity to study antimicrobial resistance, with a focus on healthcare impact, genetic technologies, and interventions to reduce antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Specific topics will include AMR in tuberculosis, MRSA, sexually transmitted infections and HIV. There will be an opportunity to learn bioinformatics techniques and the enormous impact that genetics is having on understanding epidemiology, selection, and evolution of AMR pathogens. There will be a series of sessions focusing on strategies to reduce AMR, such as rapid diagnostics, stewardship, dosing, new drugs, vaccines, and phage.

This course will provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experience for a rewarding career in biomedical science or to progress on to a fulfilling research degree such as a PhD. 

Open all Close all

Highlights

  • Excellent Image Resource and Biomedical Research facilities to help you develop strong research knowledge and skills

  • Shared campus with St George’s Hospital, one of the largest teaching hospitals in the UK

  • Expertise in clinical, epidemiological and laboratory research within the university and the hospital

Tuition fees

2020 UK/EU: £13,250

2020 Non-EU (international): £23,000

Fees are reviewed annually.

For more information, see our fees and funding pages.

Funding your study

We have a range of funding opportunities available for students. You may be eligible for the following.

  • A postgraduate loan from the UK government of up to £10,609. Find out more information about postgraduate loans at fees and funding.

  • An alumni discount – if you're a former St George’s student you can qualify for an additional 10% discount from this course.

For more information, see our fees and funding pages.

Read more information about our courses and university services terms and conditions.

To be considered for this course, you will need to:

  • meet the entry criteria

  • write a personal statement

  • provide two suitable references.

View all Close all

Undergraduate degree or equivalent

You should have or be expected to achieve, a minimum of a second class degree (2:2). For healthcare graduates, a pass is required. All degrees must be awarded before 1st August on the year of entry.

We welcome applications from individuals from a range of backgrounds, including humanities, science and healthcare. 

We may invite you to interview if are unable to make a decision directly from your application. If you are invited for an interview you will be asked to write a short paper (no more than half a page) on a subject associated with biomedical research.

Alternative professional qualifications, or previous related experience, may be considered and we encourage you to apply

International qualifications

We accept equivalent qualifications gained in other countries and use UKNARIC to assess. Please see our International Student Support pages for more information. If you have any questions, you can contact us at study@sgul.ac.uk

English language requirements

For details on English Language requirements, please see here. This is a Group 2 course.

Personal statement and references

You will be asked to outline your reasons for applying for the course in a brief personal statement on the application form. You will also need to provide two satisfactory references. See the ‘Apply’ tab for more information.

On the Antimicrobial Resistance pathway you will be taught the essentials of conducting high quality research through a range of core modules, and will gain a detailed knowledge of antimicrobial resistance before undertaking your research project. 

The MRes is made up of 180 credits. All modules are compulsory, and will equip you with the skills and knowledge to conduct high quality research. 

View all Close all

Core modules

Research methods

15 credits

Statistics

15 credits

Research project planning and management

15 credits

Research project

105 credits

Specialist module - Antimicrobial Resistance

The 30 credit specialist module will give you the opportunity to study antimicrobial resistance (AMR), with a particular focus on healthcare impact, genetic technologies, and interventions to reduce AMR. You will explore the major AMR problems, and the strategies needed to reduce the current and future AMR burden.

You will gain insight into how different interventions may be more effective in reducing different AMR pathogens, and will take advantage of active research at St George’s to work on specific topics, including AMR in tuberculosis, MRSA, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

There will be an opportunity to learn about bioinformatics techniques, new sequencing technologies and ‘omics’ methodologies, and the enormous impact that genetics is having on understanding the epidemiology, selection and evolution of AMR pathogens. There will be a series of sessions focusing on strategies to reduce AMR such as rapid diagnostics, antibiotic stewardship, dosing, new drugs, vaccines and phage applications.

Past research projects

The substantive research project is worth 105 credits. Here are some examples of past student projects.

Evolution in Action: How do MRSA Exchange and Lose Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Genes?

Aims: To identify environmental factors and mechanisms that influence AMR gene transfer and gene survival

Brief Overview: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a major problem in hospitals where they cause a wide variety of difficult to treat infections in immuno-compromised hosts. The major risk factor for MRSA infection is colonisation in the nose, which is the reservoir of infecting isolates. MRSA can be resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, but no isolates carry the full spectrum of resistances. MRSA clones that are highly successful in hospitals adapt to different antimicrobials by exchanging DNA at high frequency, but they must also lose these resistances at high frequency. Using a piglet model of colonization, we have confirmed the very high frequency transfer and loss of mobile genetic elements (MGEs) carrying resistance genes in vivo.

We have also shown that this may be true in colonised humans as we see evidence for high levels of within-host variation in antimicrobial resistance gene carriage in human nasal carriage populations of MRSA. Two previous MRes students have developed in vitro models that allow us to measure resistance gene transfer and loss in conditions mimicking those found in vivo. Transfer and loss of genes is dependent on environmental factors. This project aims to identify environmental factors that are necessary for AMR gene transfer and gene survival. The project will involve co-culturing two distinct isolates of MRSA, each with their own AMR gene marker, and counting the number of double resistant progeny that arise due to gene transfer. A variety of growth media conditions relevant to patient colonisation will be compared. We will then conduct genetic analysis of the pathways involved in transfer and loss, and the method chosen will depend on the preliminary results. This will likely involve gene expression analysis, such as with microarrays, or screening the new Nebraska S. aureus transposon mutant library constructed in the MRSA clonal background of USA300, to identify genes and mechanisms necessary for transfer and loss. By establishing the mechanisms of gene exchange and loss, we will improve our understanding of pathogen evolution and adaptation that can potentially be exploited to reduce the burden of MRSA and AMR, estimated to cost the global economy $100 trillion by 2050.

Modifications on Antimicrobial Peptides to Improve their Performance

Aims: This is a follow-up project and further explores lipidation and glycosylation as tools to overcome some ‘weak’ points of antimicrobial peptides

Brief Overview: With an annual production of about 100,000 tons worldwide, antibiotics have a huge impact on global healthcare and constitute an inherent part of numerous human therapies. However, their wide application, overall availability and consequent overuse has led to the development of resistant strains of pathogenic bacteria with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) being one of the most prominent examples. Short naturally derived peptides have been demonstrated to be active against a plethora of pathogenic bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Based on their inherent ability to act on various pathogenic microbes with different activities and activity spectra, they appear to be a promising strategy to efficiently target the spreading multidrug resistance. They have various virtues including a facile synthesis, high antimicrobial activity, a multiple mode of action and a fast killing profile. The overall drawback, however, is their low metabolic stability. This results in short circulation half-lifes in a lower minute range. In recent years, various modification strategies have been developed to address metabolic stability and turn peptides into therapeutic agents. Among those, the site-specific attachment of fatty acids (lipidation) and carbohydrates (glycosylation) play a superior role since they have been demonstrated to not only increase peptide stability but also to modulate their biological activity.

Methods used for data collection: The current project aims are the synthesis and in vitro testing of innovative antimicrobial peptides to assess the effect of site-specific lipidation and glycosylation. Different highly active antimicrobial peptides will be chosen from an extensive library, which has been generated by our group, and synthesized by automated solid phase peptide synthesis. By applying orthogonal side-chain protection strategies, different positions within the sequence will be selectively lipidated or glycosylated on-resin via manual coupling. After peptide cleavage from the resin and chromatographic purification the modified peptides will be characterised using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. To investigate their antimicrobial activity against different species as well as their cytotoxic profile against human cells, standardised 96-well plate high throughput assays will be used. Additional biological evaluation will focus on comparative mode of action studies using eg flow cytometry. The project provides a highly interdisciplinary work encompassing peptide synthesis and analysis as well as microbiological and human cell culture experiments.

St George’s is the only university in the country to give you the opportunity to undertake a nine month research project in this topic. This will give you time to immerse yourself in detailed research, generating high quality data that could be impactful enough for publication. It’s incredibly valuable work and has led to many exciting discoveries and important breakthroughs.

You will have the freedom to choose from a wide-ranging list of projects, and to work in a vibrant research environment with world-renowned researchers. You will also work with their research teams, PhD students and post-doctoral scientists to gain insight and experience over the course of your project.

At St George’s, you will benefit from working as part of a small, close-knit team. Students, clinicians and researchers work happily and effectively together. St George’s is more a small community than a large anonymous institution, with all the advantages that brings for personal input and development.

View all Close all

Teaching and learning methods

During the first term you will meet potential supervisors to familiarise yourself with the research activity within each pathway and to identify an appropriate project. Broadly speaking, your topic should be within the fields of biomedical sciences, healthcare, or health services and use appropriate scientific methods.

The self-directed component of your course includes the in-depth study of an area of interest, developing research and presentation skills, and gaining insight into possible careers.

Teaching for core modules is concentrated in the autumn term. Teaching for specialist modules takes place over the year. Throughout this time you will either be attending lectures or laboratory sessions on most days of the week. Students choose their projects and start with laboratory work from mid-October, and complete their research by September.

Dissertation projects will involve the assembly, analysis and interpretation of data. Project titles and areas for research will be identified by module leaders and will relate to the pathway selected by the student.

Assessment methods

Assessments are designed to help students with preparation for their dissertation. They help you review published work critically, use appropriate experimental design, and analyse experimental data. They also enable you to develop scientific writing and presentation skills.

All modules are assessed through written assignments or an oral presentation, with the exception of the statistics module which is assessed via examination. The optional modules require the submission of written reports. Following the research project, you will be asked to present a poster on your research.

If you want to pursue a career in biomedical research – whether in academia, industry or government – this course will open up a world of opportunities. Many St George’s graduates have gone on to work in a variety of exciting and fulfilling careers in the biotech industry.

This course is highly effective in accelerating your development within your general healthcare career. The depth and quality of the academic research that you will undertake on your nine month project will also put you in a good position to apply for a PhD.

All applications must be submitted through our online application system.

View all Close all

How to apply

Biomedical Science MRes - Antimicrobial Resistance application link

  1. Click the application link above.

  2. Create an account.

  3. Complete the application form and upload any relevant documents. You can save a partly completed form and return to it later. Please make sure you complete all sections. Please make sure that the information you provide is accurate, including the options you select in menus.

  4. Add pgadmissions@sgul.ac.uk to your address book to ensure you do not miss any important emails from us.

  5. When you have checked that your application is complete and accurate, click ‘submit’.

You can track your application online.

References

When completing your application, you will be asked to provide contact details of two referees. Please ensure these details are accurate. As soon as you have submitted your application, your referees will be contacted by the university asking them to upload a reference to your online application.

One must be a recent academic reference. The other should be either a second academic reference or a professional/employer reference. They should cover your suitability for the course and your academic ability.

Your referees should know you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. We do not accept references from family, friends, partners, ex-partners or yourself.

We will send reminder emails to your referees but it is your responsibility to ensure that contact details are correct and referees are available to submit a reference. References should be uploaded within two weeks of making your application.

Apply now

Duration

One year, full time

Application Deadline

30 June 2020

Find a profileSearch by A-Z