This course will focus on the physiology and pathology of blood and its use as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. A variety of areas of molecular and cellular bioscience will be covered with an emphasis on new technologies and developments in Haematology and related disciplines such as Transfusion Science. You will expand your knowledge of the basic science and analytical techniques relating to Haematology and gain an up-to-date understanding of the application of Haematology in bioscience / pharmaceutical research, as well as in diagnostic and therapeutic medicine.
There will be an emphasis in the course on development of critical analysis skills in the assessment of scientific literature and laboratory data. In addition you will have the opportunity to design and execute your own research project. The course team is supported by visiting lecturers who are practising scientists in the field, which helps ensure that taught material is current and relevant.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.
This module will enable you to understand how blood cells are produced and how they function in normal and pathological situations. You will consider the causes, consequences and laboratory features of a range of red cell disorders and haematological malignancies, and be able to evaluate and interpret the relevant diagnostic testing procedures.
IMMUNOHAEMATOLOGY AND HAEMOSTASIS
This module will cover clinically important blood group systems and laboratory techniques used to identify blood group antigens and antibodies, and to ensure safety of blood components for transfusion and transplantation. In addition you will examine the various components of the haemostasis system together with clinical disorders leading to increased risk of bleeding or thrombosis. Anticoagulant therapy and relevant laboratory techniques for investigation of haemostasis will also be covered.
MOLECULAR SCIENCE AND DIAGNOSTICS
This module is designed to make you aware of the impact of molecular biology on the diagnosis of human diseases. You will critically review the technologies and determine the advantages and disadvantages associated with each diagnostic strategy. Issues of accuracy, implementation, ethics and safety will be addressed.
POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH METHODS
You will be able to develop your skills in information retrieval, critical analysis and presentation relevant to your research topic, and form a clear plan for your project.
This module aims to enhance your skills of self-management, experimental design, critical analysis and interpretation of data, enabling you to present and justify your research.
ADVANCED CANCER BIOLOGY
This module will explore the role of common signalling pathways and other molecular mechanisms implicated in carcinogenesis, including the role of cancer stem cells in disease progression and metastasis. Recent advances in diagnostic methods and therapeutic strategies will be discussed as well as ways in which public health initiatives can lower the risk of cancer development, and how issues related to cancer are reported in the media.
AUTOMATION IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES
This module will explore the current and potential impact of laboratory automation on the practice of biomedical science in the context of diagnosis and research. You will explore automation from the perspectives of technology, quality, impact on skill requirements, cost/benefit and laboratory organisation. The module will include site visits to laboratories using state-of-the-art automation.
CELL SIGNALLING AND GENETICS
This module provides up-to-date information on cell signalling processes coupling surface receptor engagement to changes in gene expression. Transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms are discussed in relation to selected cell-signalling pathways responsible for controlling cell functions such as cell cycle, cell differentiation and cell death. Examples of defective cell signalling through inherited and somatically acquired mutations in signalling components will be highlighted in relation to human disease.
Introducing you to key concepts in science communication, its challenges, rewards and applications, this module is designed to incorporate scenarios related to your interests, such as health, drug discovery and water science. The roles of science and scientists in society and how the public perceives, interacts with and responds to the information produced by scientists are explored, with the history of communicating science used to contextualise current issues in disseminating information.
EXTENDED POSTGRADUATE PROJECT
This module gives you the opportunity to investigate an appropriate research topic, generate and critically analyse data, and present your results and discuss findings in the context of previously published work. The project proposed and undertaken must include rigorous and critical analysis of data with a high level of initiative. This module is intended for students wishing to gain greater research experience and includes an extended period of research activity and extended assessment regime.
You will analyse and discuss cellular and molecular aspects of innate and adaptive immune responses, and advances in modern methods for disease diagnosis and treatment. This will include strategies available for the diagnosis of inherited and acquired immunological disorders, normal and pathological immune responses to extracellular and intracellular pathogens, transplantation of organs and tissues, immune surveillance of tumours, autoimmune and immunodeficiency disorders.
MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR THERAPEUTICS
This module reviews and discusses the ways in which molecular biology has been used to treat inherited and acquired diseases. You will investigate the ethics and legislation involved in the use of novel therapies in humans.
PRINCIPLES OF MOLECULAR MEDICINE
The module provides you with a critical appreciation of the human genome, its regulation, functional significance of gene mutations and current approaches of identification of human genetic disorders. Topics covered include: molecular basis of host-pathogen interaction; molecular pathology of disease with simple genetics; molecular genetics of disease; complex systems, immunogenetics and disease; and molecular genetics of cancer.