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Duration

One year, full-time

Application Deadline

TBC

Location

St George's, University of London

About this course

St George’s has enjoyed an outstanding track record of research and innovation in infectious disease ever since the ‘father of vaccinology’ Edward Jenner, based here, created the world’s first vaccine (against smallpox). More recently, our research has included a focus on tuberculosis, malaria, HIV in low and middle-income countries and Covid-19.

In 2020, the global pandemic highlighted the profound and lasting impact that a devastating infectious disease can have on the human population. Research to understand how diseases like Covid-19 are contracted and spread, and what drugs and vaccines are useful in treating or preventing them, is vital to reduce suffering and try to control or eradicate the disease.

This MRes in Biomedical Science (Infection and Immunity) provides you with research training in fundamental aspects of bacterial and viral pathogenesis, with an emphasis on molecular approaches to understanding infection.

Course highlights

Established in 1752, St George’s, University of London is the UK’s specialist health university, and we are the only UK university to share our campus with a major teaching hospital, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which is both on the clinical frontline for a diverse local community and a centre of excellence for specialist conditions.

When you study this course with us you will have:

  • access to specialist expertise in clinical, epidemiological and laboratory research within both the University and the hospital.
  • the opportunity to spend up to 9 months on a research project working directly alongside high-calibre leading researchers, respected within their fields.
  • access to a dedicated Image Resource Facility which features a range of imaging analysis options which enable you to image histology samples, cells and molecules of all varieties, and model organisms using light, fluorescent and  electron microscopy systems.
  • access to excellent biomedical research facilities to help you develop strong research knowledge and skills, including tissue culture, handling of clinical specimen, flow cytometry, gene cloning and protein techniques, microbiological techniques and animal experimentation, among many others.
  • the chance to learn numerous, valuable transferrable skills including critical appraisal, problem-solving, research techniques, accessing technology for fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF), utilising large data, numeracy, and presenting skills.

Want to know more?

Find out more about postgraduate study at St George’s, University of London by clicking the button below to receive our free intro email series.

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

  • meet the entry criteria
  • write a personal statement
  • provide 2 suitable references.
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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.

English language

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.

Go to the ‘Apply’ tab for more information.

There are three core modules (15 credits each). These are common to all pathways, and most of teaching will take place in the autumn term. The specialist modules (30 credits) are specific to each of the four pathways and will continue from September till January.

The journal clubs/paper critiques organised by students will start in October and continue until March. The Research Project module will start in October and runs until July/August. Students will present a poster and submit a final dissertation in August.

The core modules provide advanced training in the practice of biomedical research across a broad range of laboratory and computer-based biomedical science, while the specialist module prepares you to conduct high-calibre in-depth research in your chosen research field.

Unlike many other courses, our Research Project offers a chance to spend up to 9 months working as part of an active research team. This may provide an opportunity to work with clinical samples or staff on our hospital sites. For example, one past research project tested a novel vaccine candidate against tuberculosis, a global health problem affecting millions of people worldwide. Another project examined a specific house dust mite allergen which has been linked to triggering asthma, while yet another project focused on the development of antibody immunotherapy against chikungunya virus.

Core modules

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Research methods (15 credits)

This module looks at a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research study designs and approaches, their advantages and disadvantages. We focus on good research practice, designing studies using tools and approaches to minimise bias and maximise scientific rigour.

Statistics (15 credits)

You are introduced to modern statistical techniques and methods so that you can analyse quantitative data and make inferences from the results when undertaking your research project. Emphasis is placed on the language and logic of statistical investigation, and not on formulae or calculations, building your confidence in interpreting and discussing the methods and statistics in biomedical, healthcare and clinical research and literature.

Research project planning and management (15 credits)

This module prepares you for conducting and managing a research project and includes ethical, legal, safety and time management aspects of research. You will learn how to identify and appropriately address any ethical and legal issues in your project, as well as safety issues when working with hazardous substances, organisms or equipment. This will also include lectures on writing up scientific work.

Infection and immunity (30 credits)

This pathway module covers the broad area of infectious disease. It will demonstrate how an understanding of the pathogenesis of infection and virulence mechanisms drives vaccine development, antibiotic treatment and immunotherapy. You will learn cellular and molecular responses to infection, including innate and adoptive immune responses, and responses that are deleterious. You will investigate 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.

While studying this module, you will learn how to appraise and critically evaluate scientific papers, through a series of journal club sessions and presentations. Appraisal of scientific literature is essential in guiding your own research strategies and objectives, as well as peer reviewing other researchers’ works in your specialist area, for example, reviewing manuscripts submitted for publication in scientific journals.

Research project (105 credits)

This is the main module of our MRes course. Dissertation projects will involve the assembly, analysis and interpretation of substantial research data, primarily lab generated, although some projects may involve metanalyses of theoretical data. 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 postdoctoral 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, and you will be welcomed into our small specialist research community, with all the advantages that brings for personal input and development. 

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. Project titles and areas for research will be identified by module leaders and will relate to the pathway selected. Broadly speaking, your topic should be within the fields of biomedical sciences, healthcare, or health services and use appropriate scientific methods. You will choose your research project and start with laboratory work from mid-October, completing your research by the following August.

Teaching for core modules is concentrated in the autumn term, while 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.

Teaching is delivered through a variety of methods, such as lectures, course-specific seminars and small group sessions. You will also participate in self-directed study and wider reading, as well as individual and group practical sessions. 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.

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Our expertise

For over two centuries, St George’s has been at the forefront of developing new and innovative solutions to enhance the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of disease. We enjoy a global reputation as experts in population health, infection and immunity, and molecular and clinical sciences thanks to our four world-class research institutes – Molecular and Clinical Science, Population Health Research, Faculty of Health, Social Care and Education and Infection and Immunity.

From pioneering genomic studies of bacterial pathogens, to innovative developments of plant-derived biopharmaceuticals, our Institute of Infection and Immunity remains at the forefront of global efforts to diagnose, prevent and treat infectious disease.

In recent months, clinicians and researchers from across the University and Hospital have been leading urgent public health studies and trials into Covid-19 as part of the Oxford Vaccine trial and testing different treatments as part of the national recovery trial. St George’s is also leading on studies to develop rapid antibody tests for the disease and understand whether pregnant mothers can pass coronavirus onto their babies in the womb.

Assessment methods

Assessments are designed to help you with preparation for your 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. Following the research project, you will be asked to present a poster on your research.

The course provides excellent preparation for PhD study, which around a fifth of our students complete here at St George’s or elsewhere, and this can lead to a research career within academia or pharmaceutical industry.

Alternatively, on completion, you could pursue a career in the biomedical and medical sector in roles where some research background is required but not necessarily at PhD level. This may include job opportunities as research support staff, technicians, medical laboratory assistants, specialist services provision, equipment operators and laboratory management.

This course is also effective in accelerating the development of your career in healthcare and NHS. 

Facilities

St George’s University of London is the UK’s only university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research. We share our site with a major London teaching hospital which is both on the clinical frontline for a diverse local community and a centre of excellence for specialist research. You’ll study in a clinical and academic research setting with like-minded individuals, mixing with the many different healthcare professionals you will go on to work alongside throughout your career. We also have the latest research equipment and resources including state-of-the-art advanced bio-imaging technology and cutting-edge laboratory facilities. 

We have a range of specialist health and academic facilities to support your learning, listed below. 

Laboratories

Our teaching laboratories are fully fitted with equipment for biological, chemistry, biomedical, molecular biology and pharmacy practicals. This includes microscopes, spectrophotometers, DMA amplifiers, organ baths and specialist glassware. We also have audio visual equipment installed, so that microscope images can be projected on to large screens. Furthermore, the students will have on their disposal tissue culture facilities, flow cytometry, use of pathogen containment facilities and well animal research facilities.

Image Resource Facility (IRF)

First established in 1979, the IRF has developed to encompass Light Microscopy, Electron Microscopy, and sample preparation for both, all housed in a single department providing a range of imaging analysis options and the expertise to compliment them. Users of the IRF have the ability to image histology samples, cells and molecules of all varieties, and model organisms such as zebrafish using any of the light microscope, slide scanning, or electron microscope systems we maintain, supported by experienced staff at all stages of analysis.

Dissecting room

The dissecting room is where present and future healthcare professionals and scientists in the hospital and University learn or refresh their anatomy knowledge directly from the human body, through access to cadaveric material and models, and plastinated (preserved) specimens. 

Please note: The Dissecting Room is currently closed while we complete extensive improvement works. We hope we will be able to resume practical teaching in our facility in early 2023.

Pathology museum

Our on-site museum houses a collection of over 2,000 pathological specimens, including a number of original specimens donated by Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie in 1843. This space is used for small group tutorials by students across all of our courses as an educational tool to help you understand the mechanisms of disease. 

Library and learning technology

Our modern health sciences library offers a wide range of books, e-books, academic journals and other resources to support you. You will also have access to online resources, such as the Canvas virtual learning environment

and our Hunter discovery service to help you find the information you need. The library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and comprises silent, quiet and group learning areas, as well as four group discussion rooms.

IT facilities

We have five computer suites housing 260 workstations. Three of these suites are accessible 24 hours a day. It’s easy to find a free space with our handy real-time computer locator. We also have 75 self-service laptops available. Free Wi-Fi covers the whole campus, including all accommodation. You can use these resources to access your course materials, discussion boards and feedback through Canvas.

Student support

Whether you are an existing healthcare professional, returning to education after a break or joining us after graduating from an undergraduate degree, we want to ensure your experience is positive from the outset. At St George’s, you’ll be welcomed by a multicultural student and staff body of different ages, ethnicities, nationalities and backgrounds, all with one thing in common – an interest in healthcare, science and medicine.

Students frequently tell us they greatly appreciate the diversity of our student and staff body, as well as the patients who access healthcare services in the borough of Tooting. The University attracts a substantial number – over two-thirds – of ‘mature’ students, aged 21 or over when they start; many have family and caring responsibilities.

We offer a full range of academic support and student services across all institutes, departments and faculties, some of which are listed below. We take pride in offering a transformative educational experience underpinned by cooperation and collaboration between staff and students.

Personal academic tutor

On arrival, you will be allocated a personal tutor – someone with whom you can have regular contact, who you ask questions and discuss problems with, both academic and personal. The main purpose of a personal tutor is to monitor your progress, pick up and help you resolve any problems, whether academic or welfare related. Even if they don’t have the answer they will point you in the right direction towards the best people to deal with specific problems.

Induction programme

The main goal of induction is to make sure that you are set up for your studies and start to feel part of the University and our community. As well as course-specific activities, we run an online ‘Get Started’ module which provides lots of information about social and enrichment activities, student safety, wellbeing and learning support, including study skills, a library induction and guidance about our careers and employability services. Additional information is provided for international students.

Academic staff support

You’ll have access to your lecturers, usually by arrangement via email.

Student Life Centre

Our Student Centre team can help you with every aspect of student life: finances, accommodation, exams and assessment, academic procedures, admissions, international queries, disability and wellbeing, even finding your way around – whatever it takes to make you feel at home. Each course has a designated contact within the student centre to link to and your personal tutor can signpost you to relevant support, including a confidential counselling service.

Careers service

Our careers service works to support current students and recent graduates to find and maintain the career of their dreams. We work with careers tutors from each course area to ensure that careers activities specific to your programmes and future profession come to you.

In this tab you will find the financial information for this programme of study, including available financial support and scholarships.

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Funding your study

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

Tuition fees

2022 UK: £14,000.

2022 International (including EU): £24,500.

Fees are reviewed annually.

Additional costs

The following table gives you an indication of additional costs associated with your course.  These costs are not included in your tuition fees.

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Technology requirements

Find out more about technology requirements associated with online learning.

At the moment there are no changes to our programmes due to Covid-19.

If you start at St George's in 2023 your course will be delivered in the normal way and you can expect the full university experience from us.

If you started prior to this and would like to see the changes that were made to your programme, please visit this webpage.

Apply now

Duration

One year, full-time

Application Deadline

TBC

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