The course will allow you to expand your understanding of immunology, immunopathology and immunotherapy, to further develop skills in analytical approaches to immunodiagnosis and molecular therapeutics, as well as enhance your competence in the design and execution of a laboratory based project. You will be able to take a proactive role in research, development, evaluation and implementation of current immunological techniques while perceiving the subject in the broader perspective of health care and scientific progress.
The scope of the modules included will ensure a breadth of knowledge appropriate for the scientific and professional needs of practising immunologists, at the same time making use of your knowledge and experience. This course is designed so that you can plan your own taught programme to match your interests and experience by combining core and optional modules with emphasis on therapeutics, diagnostics, haematology or public health.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
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.
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
The module aims to investigate the role of immunological tools such as vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and cytokines in the treatment of human disease.
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.
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.
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.
INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND PUBLIC HEALTH
The module explores the factors determining the importance of infectious diseases and the role of surveillance in their control. You will develop a critical approach to contemporary literature on selected diseases, evaluating the relative importance of epidemiology, routine laboratory investigations, laboratory-based research, clinical diagnosis and control of infectious diseases.
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.
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.
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.
This module will introduce the theoretical and practical underpinnings of systems biology. The emphasis is on studies of entire systems, assisted by the use of bioinformatics and how the knowledge from these may be applied to medicine. The module will examine databases and other resources as well as discuss issues key to the studies of entire systems.