MSc
1 year full time
Starts September 2017

Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology

Most biological disciplines rely on analyses at the molecular level and the use of molecular biology to manipulate genes and proteins. Our MSc will give you the training necessary to become an active and engaged researcher in this field.

You’ll spend a large part of your course researching real biological problems in a research-active laboratory, relying on close interaction with your supervisor and becoming part of their research group.

You’ll benefit from our state-of-the-art facilities, including the Sussex Centre for Advanced Microscopy.

“I learned a range of new skills including cell culture, cloning, electroporation and TIRF microscopy. I now pick up new techniques very quickly in my current role.” Hannah TeehanResearch Transfer Scientist at Bioline

Key facts

How will I study?

You’ll take a variety of formal taught research and study skills, laboratory-based and seminar modules across the autumn and spring terms.

The core of the course is the research project, which begins in the spring term and continues into summer.

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods including:

  • examinations
  • problem sets
  • essays
  • a dissertation
  • oral presentation of your work.

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 Cell and Molecular Biology

      30 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Learn the techniques used in modern molecular cell biology.

      In this module, you learn how to make sound judgements on the appropriateness of using incomplete data sets to generate hypotheses.

      You also learn how to present research findings to the standard of a junior research scientist.

    • 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.

    • Skills for Research Bioscientists

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will prepare you for some of the challenges that you will meet as a professional research bioscientist. These will include scientific writing and other presentational skills, effective use of various software packages, training in the use of radioactivity and specialised equipment, and the preparation of CVs and grant applications.

    • 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.

    • Introduction to Genes and Biochemistry

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module will provide background knowledge of five basic units of Biochemistry and the relationship between genes and proteins within the cell.

      Unit 1 of the module deals with the molecules of life, DNA, RNA, nucleotides and the central dogma of molecular biology.

      Unit 2 covers the decoding of the genetic code through the processes of transcription and translation.

      Unit 3 deals with proteins, their structure properties and amino acid building blocks.

      Unit 4 deals with enzymes and simple enzyme catalysed reactions.

      Unit 5 covers metabolism and uses glycolysis and Krebs cycle as examples of typical pathways bioenergentics is briefly introduced.

    • Molecular Genetics

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will cover the application of molecular genetics to the study of processes in model systems and higher eukaryotes.

      Particular topics will include cell cycle and checkpoint control, recombination and mating type switching in lower eukaryotes, gene mapping and cloning disease genes in higher eukaryotes and the production of transgenic plants and animals.

    • Regulating the Transcriptome

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module takes an up-to-the-minute look at the molecular mechanisms controlling RNA expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, focusing largely on gene transcription but also examining RNA processing events in eukaryotes.

      We will examine the way in which bacteria control gene expression in response to different environmental cues through precisely coordinated transcription regulatory networks, and investigate the way in which eukaryotic transcriptional regulators control RNA polymerase recruitment and retention and modulate chromatin structure during transcriptional activation and repression.

      Understanding these processes and mechanisms is fundamental for the study of health and disease, for example to aid the development of new antibiotics and decipher how gene regulatory networks are perturbed during cancer development.

    • 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.

    • Post Transcriptional Control of Gene Expression

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This lecture series investigates what happens to a mRNA from the time it is synthesised, its subsequent processing, remodelling, export into the cytoplasm and ultimate use to make protein. Whilst the processing of mRNA molecules is highly regulated particularly at the levels of transcription and splicing (in eukaryotes), it is the translational machinery which allows the cell to:

      • select whether to use the mRNA to make protein at all;
      • decide which proteins to make;
      • decide how much protein to make and at what time in the cell cycle.

      This regulation is crucial to enable gene expression to be finely tuned with growth and allow cells to respond to environmental cues derived from hormones and nutrients.

      This module, comprising of a mixture of lectures and seminars, takes an in-depth look at the molecular mechanisms controlling mRNA utilisation and degradation in eukaryotes focussing largely on translational control and what happens if the cell gets it wrong.

      Those delivering the lecture series are active researchers in these subject areas, providing their up-to-date interpretation of an active and interesting research area that is relevant to the fundamental understanding of growth control and cancer.

    • 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.

Entry requirements

A lower second-class (2.2) undergraduate honours degree or above in a relevant science (such as genetics, cell biology, biology), computing or mathematics subject.

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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This MSc teaches students how to use molecular techniques to solve biological problems. It complements the outstanding work already being done at Sussex in understanding the causes of various cancers.”Neil Crickmore
Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics
Convener of the Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology MSc

Careers

With a focus on learning and practicing laboratory skills, this MSc is a perfect platform for a research career.

Many graduates continue their studies as PhD students, often at Sussex, while others follow careers in the pharmaceutical industry and research institutes.

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