MSc
1 year full time
Starts September 2017

Cancer Cell Biology

On this course, you’ll learn from research scientists at the forefront of cancer research and cancer therapy design, based in the Genome Damage and Stability Centre.

You’ll receive comprehensive training in the wide range of research skills required for a research career. This gives you a thorough understanding of the molecular basis and cell biology of cancer.

Studying in a research-intensive environment, you’ll gain laboratory, analytical and experimental experience as well as a grounding in the necessary bioinformatics and experimental theory.

Key facts

How will I study?

You will study core modules, building your understanding of laboratory techniques and theory. You’ll have access to an exciting variety of options allowing you to pursue your interests. You’ll learn in a group through:

  • lectures
  • laboratory work
  • seminars
  • student-led activities.

You also work on a more individual basis with your supervisor on the final research project, which sees you tackle real-world problems in a laboratory research group.

We use reports, unseen examinations, essays, problem sets and presentations to assess your work.

You’ll also write a dissertation as part of the research project.

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Advanced Methods in Molecular Research

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you learn about the techniques available to modern molecular genetics and molecular cell biology researchers.

      For each technique, you are required to analyse data and comment on the applicability of that technique to the biological problem being investigated.

    • Practical Techniques in Cancer Cell Biology

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module will give you hands-on exposure to a number of basic molecular techniques, with specific relevance to the investigation of some of the molecular characteristics of cancer cells.

      One important aim of this module is to prepare you to better undertake the Life Sciences Master of Science Research Project later in the course.

      By the end of the module you should have practical and conceptual understanding of some of the basic molecular techniques using in cancer cell and molecular biology, and you should be able to produce effective and professional labortory reports and protocols.

    • Fundamentals of Cancer Cell Biology

      30 credits
      Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 1

      In this module, you learn through integrated lectures and seminars presenting cancer as a disease of genetic origin in which the normal homeostatic processes of the cell become misregulated.

      The structure of the module is founded on the concept of progressive acquisitions of 'hallmark' traits as expounded by Hanahan and Weinberg.

      This model is used to relate to the various regulatory pathways that become mutated and/or misregulated as cells progress from normality to the ultimately lethal invasive metatastatic phenotype.

      These general principles which will form the first part of the module are expanded and illustrated by in-depth case studies of major forms of human cancer and familial cancer predispostion syndromes.

      You also get involved in discussions of existing therapies and the prospects for novel therapies that come from an understanding of the molecular basis of the individual cancer types.

    • Life Sciences Master of Science Research Project

      60 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Design and carry out an original piece of research on our Research Project module. Working in consultation with a research supervisor, you carry out experiments to answer questions posed at the beginning of the work.

       

       

       

    • Life Sciences Masters Research Proposal

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      On this module you will use primary literature to study the background to a biological problem in the fields of genetic manipulation and/or cell biology. You will then devise an experimental strategy by which this problem can be studied, giving details of techniques and resources that will be used to address the problem.

    • Topics in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module considers recent advances in the fields of genetic manipulation and molecular cell biology. Weekly seminars will cover topics such as genetic engineering, electron microscopy, oncogenes, protein engineering, genomics and proteomics.

      By the end of the module you should be able to describe and explain techniques used to investigate a variety of cellular and molecular processes, and to critically assess and interpret experimental data generated using these techniques. You will also learn to extract and utilise relevant information from scientific literature.

    Options

    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Genome Stability, Genetic Diseases and Cancer

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The design of new therapies for cancer depends on first understanding the molecular events that cause the disease. Genomic DNA is damaged spontaneously, by chemical carcinogens and by radiation. If unrepaired, this damage leads to mutations, cancer and other developmental disorders. All cells have evolved a sophisticated array of repair and response mechanisms to deal with DNA damage.

      The aim of this module is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control DNA repair and to appreciate how defects in genes involved in these repair processes are associated with different, in many cases cancer-prone, genetic disorders.

      Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on the review and critical evaluation of recently published experimental evidence; advances in this area rely on a combination of biochemical analysis, genetic approaches and bioinformatics.

      Lectures will be complemented by discussion groups.

    • Genomics and Bioinformatics

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will introduce the common types of genomic and proteomic data available in biological databases; including DNA and protein sequences, motifs, gene structure, protein interactions and expression profiles. The aims and methods of DNA and protein sequence analysis will be covered, including analysis of homology, identification of motifs and domains, pair-wise and multiple alignments and prediction of gene structure.

      The practical sessions will include the analysis of DNA and protein sequence data from biological databases. In these sessions you will learn how to integrate data to find the functional links between disease related genes and proteins.

    • Protein Form and Function

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Protein Form and Function provides a sense of how protein structures are related to each other and of how these structures relate to protein function. On this module you will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to learn about and appreciate this class of molecule. This module covers aspects of protein structure in detail and introduces computational and experimental techniques that are essential for studying proteins, and provides the basis for the in depth discussion of more topical issues such as protein engineering and design, protein folding, chaperones and protein folding diseases.

Find out about studying cancer cell biology at the University of Sussex

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in a relevant science subject such as biology, cell biology or genetics

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa


Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?

Fees

Home: £9,250 per year

EU: £9,250 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £9,250 per year

Overseas: £18,750 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans

Scholarships

Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Faculty

Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Biochemistry and Biomedicine faculty

    Prof Bugewa Apampa
    Professor of Pharmacy Education
    B.Apampa@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Dementia, Education, Pharmaceutical care, Pharmacy

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    Dr John Armstrong
    Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry
    J.Armstrong@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Genetic manipulation

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    Mr Kevin Clark
    Teaching Fellow
    Kevin.Clark@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Neil Crickmore
    Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics
    N.Crickmore@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Bioinformatics, Biological control, Insecticides

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    Dr Taravat Ghafourian
    Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutics & DrugDelivery
    T.Ghafourian@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Georgios Giamas
    Reader in Cell Signalling
    G.Giamas@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cancer (Human disease), Cancer cell biology, Cell signalling, Drug resistance, Estrogen Receptor, LMTK3, molecular biology, Phosphorylation, Protein kinase, Proteomics, SILAC, Transcription, Xenograft models

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    Dr Geeta Hitch
    Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice
    G.Hitch@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Erika Mancini
    Reader
    Erika.Mancini@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Sabita Menon
    Teaching Fellow
    S.R.Menon@sussex.ac.uk

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    Prof Anthony Moore
    Professor of Biochemistry
    A.L.Moore@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Plant physiology

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    Prof Simon Morley
    Professor of Signal Transduction
    S.J.Morley@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Pathology

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    Dr Mark Paget
    Reader in Molecular Genetics
    M.Paget@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Antibiotic resistance, Antibiotics, Biofuels, Gene expression, Metabolic engineering, Microbiology, Renewables, Streptomyces, Transcription

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    Dr Prabha Parthasarathy
    Teaching Fellow in Microbiology
    P.Parthasarathy@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Frances Pearl
    Bioinformatics Academic Research Manager
    F.Pearl@sussex.ac.uk

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    Mr Michael Pettit
    Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice
    M.Pettit@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Roger Phillips
    Fluorescence Microscopy Academic Research Manager
    R.G.Phillips@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Animal developmental biology, Cell biology, Cell signalling, Fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), Fluorescence markers, Fluorescence Recovery After Photobleaching (FRAP), Fluorescence-based analytical techniques, Gene action and regulation, Genetics and development, Immunofluorescence, Innate immunity, Insects, Microscopy - Optical, Neurodevelopment, Optics - Imaging, Photonics

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    Dr Chrisostomos Prodromou
    Senior Research Fellow
    Chris.Prodromou@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: 3D Structure, Chlamydomonas, Drug discovery, Dynein, Hsp90, molecular biology, Molecular chaperones, Protein expression

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    Dr Mark Roe
    X-Ray Crystallography Collaborative Research Facility Manager
    M.Roe@sussex.ac.uk

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    Prof Louise Serpell
    Professor of Biochemistry
    L.C.Serpell@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Alzheimer's Disease, Biomedical neuroscience, Cell biology, Dementia, Drug discovery, Neurodegeneration, Neurodegenerative disease, Protein misfolding, Structural biology, Synthetic biology

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    Prof Alison Sinclair
    Professor of Molecular Virology
    A.J.Sinclair@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Burkitt lymphoma, Cancer (Human disease), Cancer cell biology, Cell biology, Cell cultures, Chromatin, DNA binding proteins, Expression systems, Gene expression, Gene silencing, Genomics, Microbiology, Molecular virology, mRNA, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, next-generation sequencing, Oncogenes, Protein complexes, Transcription, Transcription factors, Transcriptional regulation, Virology, virus, virus replication

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    Dr Lorraine Smith
    Teaching Fellow
    L.C.Smith@sussex.ac.uk

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    Prof Michael Titheradge
    Professor of Biomedical Sciene
    M.A.Titheradge@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Appetite, Flavour, Learning

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    Prof Michelle West
    Professor of Tumour Virology
    M.J.West@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: B cells, Cancer cell biology, Cell cycle, Chromatin, Epigenetics, Transcriptional regulation, Translational regulation, Virology

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  • Genome Damage and Stability faculty

    Dr Jon Baxter
    Research Fellow
    Jon.Baxter@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Alessandro Bianchi
    Senior Lecturer
    A.Bianchi@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: DNA replication, Telomerase, Telomeres

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    Prof Keith Caldecott
    Professor of Biochemistry 'Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder'
    K.W.Caldecott@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Ageing, Drug discovery, Mitosis, Neurodegeneration, Proteomics

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    Prof Antony Carr
    Director
    A.M.Carr@sussex.ac.uk

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    Prof Aidan Doherty
    Professor of Biochemistry
    A.J.Doherty@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cells, Crystallography, DNA, Mitochondria, Molecular chaperones, Pathogens, Polymerase, Structural biology

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    Prof Jessica Downs
    Visiting Research Fellow
    J.A.Downs@sussex.ac.uk

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    Dr Helfrid Hochegger
    Reader
    H.Hochegger@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cancer cell biology, Cell biology, Cell cycle, Cell division, Drug discovery, Kinases, Mathematical modelling, Mitosis, Proteomics

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    Dr Eva Hoffmann
    Senior Research Fellow
    eh58@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: age-related infertility, budding yeast, Chromosome pairing, Chromosomes, Cytogenetics, Genetic mapping/ markers, Genetic variation, human oocytes, infertility, Meiosis, mismatch repair, synaptonemal complex

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    Dr Penny Jeggo
    Professorial Fellow
    P.A.Jeggo@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Mitosis, Proteomics, Radiation

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    Prof Alan Lehmann
    Research Professor, Molecular Genetics
    A.R.Lehmann@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: DNA damage and repair, human genetic disorders, Replication of damaged DNA

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    Dr Jo Murray
    Reader
    J.M.Murray@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cell cycle, Chromosomes, DNA damage and repair, DNA replication, Genome rearrangements, Homologous recombination, Replication of damaged DNA

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    Dr Matt Neale
    Reader
    M.Neale@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Chromosome structure, Chromosomes, Meiosis, Recombination

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    Prof Mark O'Driscoll
    Professor Of Human Molecular Genetics
    M.O-Driscoll@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Cancer (Human disease), Cancer cell biology, Cell biology, Cell cycle, Cell Differentiation (disease), Cell division, Cell signalling, Chemotherapeutics, Dev. Origins of adult disease, DNA damage and repair, DNA double-strand breaks, DNA replication, Genetics and development, Genotype to Phenotype, Medical science and disease, Metabolic syndrome, Nervous system, Neurodegenerative disease, Neurodevelopmental Syndromes, Neuroscience (Human disease), Paediatrics (Human disease), Pathogenesis, Pathology, Replication of damaged DNA, Signal transduction, Tissue differentiation and programming

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    Dr Antony Oliver
    Senior Research Fellow
    Antony.Oliver@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Biomolecules and biochemistry, Biophysics, DNA Binding and interactions, DNA binding proteins, DNA damage and repair, DNA double-strand breaks, Drug development, Drug discovery, Kinases, Protein-DNA interactions, Replication of damaged DNA, Structural biology

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    Prof Laurence Pearl
    Professor of Structural Biology
    Laurence.Pearl@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Chromatin, Crystallography, Drug development, Drug discovery, Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular chaperones, Neurodegeneration, Protein structure, Proteomics, Structural biology

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    Dr Steve Sweet
    Senior Research Fellow
    S.M.Sweet@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: Bioinformatic tools for proteomics, Chromatin, DNA damage and repair, DNA double-strand breaks, Epigenetics, Histones, Mass Spectrometry, Protein identification, Protein-protein interactions, Proteomics, Transcription

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    Dr Felicity Watts
    Reader in Biochemistry
    F.Z.Watts@sussex.ac.uk

    Research interests: 53BP1, DNA repair, DNA replication, fission yeast, PCNA, Recombination, S. pombe, SUMO, Ubiquitin

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Careers

This MSc provides you with a range of transferable skills, knowledge and opportunities to pursue a high-level career in industry or research.

As well as going on to PhDs at Sussex and elsewhere, and to research posts, our graduates have also moved into fields such as publishing and the charity sector.

Graduate destinations

94% of students working in the Life Sciences subject groups (excluding Chemistry) were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Life Sciences students have gone on to jobs including:

  • medical laboratory assistant, NHS Trust
  • research fellow, Cancer Research UK
  • technical services representative, Sigma-Aldrich.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Contact us