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MSc Biomedical Sciences (Intercalated) for Medical Students

MSc Biomedical Sciences (Intercalated) for Medical Students

Course Title MSc in Biomedical Sciences (Intercalated)
Eligibilty Entry to the course is restricted to TCD Medical students
Qualification MSc.
Duration One Year
Next Intake September 2021

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Course Description

For TCD Medical students who wish to pursue a career in medical or bio-medical research, the School of Medicine offers an Intercalated MSc in Biomedical Sciences. This one-year intercalated taught programme is designed for students with 180 ECT from their undergraduate medicine degree programme and graduate entry medicine students with a primary degree in a science-based discipline.
Scientific knowledge and discovery are at the heart of medical advances. The programme is designed to expose students to advanced fields of research in each of the 5 tracks in addition to original research that enhances their understanding of the molecular mechanisms of disease.

Course Structure

Year 1 - Full-time

Choose from the following specialist track:

  • MSc in Molecular Medicine
  • MSc in Neuroscience
  • MSc in Translational Oncology
  • MSc in Healthcare Infection
  • MSc in Immunology

Students enter via the M.Sc. register. All students take a core compulsory module (5 ECTS) in Clinical Research based in the Clinical Research Facility, St James’s Hospital and the School of Medicine and concurrently follow one of the above specialist tracks. Students undertake a three-month research project and submit a dissertation based on this research work (30 ECTS). A summary of the module titles in the various tracks is given below. A detailed course handbook will be provided by the coordinators of the respective Masters courses and may be obtained from the course Administrators (see web-links below for contact details).

Applicants will be notified when the course application is open (April). Enquiries should be addressed to Henry Windle (hjwindle@tcd.ie), Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James Hospital, Dublin 8.

Outline of the specialist tracks available:

Compulsory modules:

  • Research Skills (15 ECTS)
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Human Diseases I (5 ECTS)
  • Project Work and Dissertation (30 ECTS)
Modules to the total value of 35 credits should be chosen from the following:
  • Human Genetics (5 credits)
  • Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics (5 ECTS)
  • Precision and Translation Nanomedicine (5 ECTS)
  • Infectious Agents Biological and Clinical Applications (5 ECTS)
  • Introduction to Genetics and Development (5 ECTS)
  • Cell Biology and Cell Signalling Mechanisms (5 ECTS)
  • Molecular and Cellular Immunology (5 ECTS)
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease II (5 ECTS)
  • Molecular Oncology (5 ECTS)

For detailed information and contacts see: https://www.tcd.ie/medicine/msc-molmed/

Students will be required to complete eleven taught modules (5 ECTS each) and a research project with dissertation worth (30 ECTS). All core modules are compulsory:

  • Cellular and molecular basis of cancer
  • Disease-specific cancers: Scientific and clinical perspectives
  • Tumour Immunology
  • Radiation, chemotherapy and molecular targeted therapies 
  • Cancer epigenetics, gene regulation and stem cells
  • Clinical trials and health economics
  • Clinical statistics and medical ethics
  • Molecular oncology research skills 

Students will choose two of six optional modules below (5 ECTS each)

  • Obesity, metabolism and physical activity
  • Drug development from discovery to commercialization
  • Therapeutic targeting of cellular instability in childhood and adult cancers
  • Tumour microenvironment
  • Clinical pharmacology and therapeutic toxicity
For detailed information and contacts see: https://www.tcd.ie/medicine/surgery/postgraduate/msc/

  • Form and Function of the Nervous System
  • Biochemical Basis of Neuropharmacology
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Drug Development
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Experimental Neuroscience
  • Cellular Neuroscience
  • Neural Engineering
  • Neuroimaging
  • Current Experimental Techniques
  • Experimental Research Skills
  • Research Project

For detailed information and contacts see: https://www.tcd.ie/Neuroscience/education/postgraduate.php

  • Basic and Molecular Microbiology (15 ECTS)
  • Antimicrobial Therapy and Resistance (15 ECTS)
  • Epidemiology and Infection Control (15 ECTS)
  • Multidisciplinary Management of Infection (10 ECTS)
  • Research Project (30 ECTS)

For detailed information and contacts see: https://www.tcd.ie/medicine/clinical_microbiology/postgraduate/msc/

  • Basic Immunology (10 ECTS)
  • Immunological Technologies (10 ECTS)
  • Communicating Science and Critical Analysis (5 ECTS)
  • Tumour Immunology (5 ECTS)
  • Immunogenetics (5 ECTS)
  • Microbe Detection and Evasion (5 ECTS)
  • Clinical Immunology (5 ECTS)
  • Parasite Immunology (5 ECTS)
  • Global Infectious Diseases (5 ECTS)
  • Immunotherapeutics and Product Development (5 ECTS)
  • Research Projects (30 )

For detailed information and contacts see: https://www.tcd.ie/Biochemistry/postgraduate/masters_immunology/

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme the participants will:

  • Understand the basic biology and advanced molecular mechanisms of various disease states.
  • Have a knowledge of current treatment strategies for disease management and treatment.
  • Have knowledge of core techniques used to answer research questions in biomedical sciences.
  • Have acquired practical laboratory skills, experience in troubleshooting, and expertise in selected methodologies to facilitate a research or research-related career.
  • Have acquired detailed knowledge and critical understanding of selected areas of biomedical sciences through independent study and the laboratory research projects.

Have acquired and developed transferable skills in:

  • Written and verbal communication
  • Data analyses, statistics, ethics and presentation
  • Critical evaluation of published information
  • Ability to work in collaboration with others

Admission Requirements

Admission to this course is restricted to undergraduate students on year 3 (and occasionally year 4) in the School of Medicine in Trinity College Dublin. The minimum entry requirement is a 2.I in 3rd year. At this point, students will have qualified for a B.A. which is normally awarded when the students are conferred with their final M.B. The intercalated Masters will also be conferred at this point. The course is coordinated through the Department of Clinical Medicine, TCD, St James Hospital Dublin.

Testimonials

I applied for the intercalated M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences to follow the Neuroscience track as I have an interest in psychiatry. The course covered a fairly broad range of topics, from basic anatomy and physiology, to the process of drug development, to more clinically focused topics such as neuroimaging and neuropharmacology. In particular, I feel that the statistics, literature review and lab technique components were great because they equipped me with some general skills applicable to many fields. I finished my medical internship earlier this year and, even at this early stage, can already state that the M.Sc. has helped with my career. It was a major factor in securing a psychiatry registrar position above other candidates with more clinical experience. It provided a boost to the CV and lots of discussion points at interview. In particular, I was able to highlight the relevance of my M.Sc. research project to clinical practice. Feedback from after the interview specifically mentioned that the interviewers were impressed with this. Finally, it was a great year socially. Trinity tends to attract a lot of international students for postgraduate study, and I now have friends from the M.Sc. all over Europe and North America.
Liam Kennedy
Studying for my MSc has benefitted me in many ways. I have become better equipped to examine and evaluate research papers. My academic writing was repeatedly tested and improved throughout the year, from written assignments to my literature review and thesis. We had many opportunities to develop our oral and poster presentation skills throughout the year. All of these experiences have better developed my confidence, both inside the clinic and out, and given me a taste of what I want my future career to be.
Stephen Flannery
My M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences was an incredibly rewarding experience. My background is in clinical medicine and I had limited exposure to research projects and laboratory techniques. The Molecular Medicine track provided me with an excellent set of skills and competencies and gave me the support I required to identify my areas of strengths and areas for improvement. As the scope of the course is broad, I gained exposure to a huge range of learning material and honed my abilities in scientific writing, reviewing literature, presentation skills, laboratory techniques, ethical considerations and original research. The range of topics available for the literature reviews and dissertation projects cater to a wide variety of interests and the ability to make this choice was a highlight of my year; for my dissertation, I researched the role of a novel neurotrophin implicated in the response to electroconvulsive therapy in rat and human samples. During and after my M.Sc., the course co-ordinators have been exceptionally kind in helping me with my career path and have been an excellent source of support since the day I started. I would recommend the M.Sc. to anyone of any background or previous level of research experience.
Gavin Tucker
The option to complete a taught and research based MSc during medical school has been invaluable. It was a great way to further explore a medical field of interest, undertake a research project of interest with the aim for publication and presentation at conferences and meetings, and additionally further develop skills which have less focus in the medical course such as writing, journal critique, and lab-based research skills. It has definitely prepared me for a future in academic medicine, and improved my resume for future applications.
Meagan Weibe
The option to complete a taught and research based MSc during medical school has been invaluable. It was a great way to further explore a medical field of interest, undertake a research project of interest with the aim for publication and presentation at conferences and meetings, and additionally further develop skills which have less focus in the medical course such as writing, journal critique, and lab-based research skills. It has definitely prepared me for a future in academic medicine, and improved my resume for future applications.
Tim Balfour

Examples of recent research projects (2020-21)

  • Assessing the impact of targeting the beta2-adrenoceptor on alpha-synuclein mediated inflammation and neurodegeneration
  • Molecular determinants of behavioural performance in animal models of Rett Syndrome
  • The role of γδ T cells in immunity against SARS-CoV-2
  • Soluble urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (SUPAR) in ANCA vasculitis
  • Analysis of the development of haemophilic arthropathy in a new transgenic mouse model of Haemophilia A
  • Identifying novel roles for the IL-1 family in driving inflammatory diseases.
  • PITX2, DNA methylation and Resistance to Enzalutamide in Prostate Cancer
  • Investigating the use of epigenetic modulators for enhancing the efficacy of radiotherapy to synergise with anti-tumour immunity in oesophageal adenocarcinoma patients.
  • Investigating the clinical applicability of immune checkpoint blockade in the immediate post-operative setting in oesophageal adenocarcinoma patients
  • Elucidating a role for XRCC6BP1 in DNA double-strand break repair and mitochondrial function in chemotherapy-resistant non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Diet-induced metabolic re-programming of inflammation in oesophageal cancer.
  • Systemic macrophage dysfunction in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
    The phenotypic and genotypic investigation of patients with the VWF c.4414G >C;p.Asp1472His variant.

Recent Publications

Recent publications (2019-21) by alumni arising from the course (Literature review and/or research project)

  • The Cancer-Immune Set Point in Oesophageal Cancer R. Power, M. A. Lowery, J. V. Reynolds, M. R. Dunne. Front Oncol. 2020; 10: 891.
  • Chemotherapy regimens induce inhibitory immune checkpoint protein expression on stem-like and senescent-like oesophageal adenocarcinoma cells M. Davern, N.E. Donlon, A. Sheppard, F. O’ Connell, C. Hayes, A. Bhardwaj, E. Foley, D. O’ Toole, N. Lynam-Lennon, N. Ravi, J. V. Reynolds, S. G. Maher, J. Lysaght. Transl Oncol. 2021; 14(6): 101062.
  • Radiation and Immunotherapy in Upper Gastrointestinal Cancers: The Current State of Play N. E. Donlon, R. Power, C. Hayes, M. Davern, J. V. Reynolds, J. Lysaght. Int J Mol Sci. 2021; 22(3): 1071.
  • Cellular immunotherapies for cancer C. Hayes Ir J Med Sci. 2020 Jul 1 : 1–17.
  • Esophageal Adenocarcinoma—An Emerging Role for Chemokines N.E. Donlon, A. Sheppard, M. Davern, F. O’Connell, J.J. Phelan, R. Power, T. Nugent, K. Dinneen, J. Aird, J. Greene, P. Nevins S. Bhardwaj, E. K. Foley, N. Ravi, C. L. Donohoe, J. V. Reynolds, J. Lysaght, J. O’Sullivan, M.R. Dunne Cancers (Basel) 2020; 12(11): 3356.
  • Methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 mediates overlapping mechanisms across brain disorders S. Bach, N. M. Ryan, P. Guasoni, A.P. Corvin, R.A. El-Nemr, D. Khan, A. Sanfeliu, D. Tropea. Sci Rep. 2020; 10: 22255.
  • Congenital diaphragmatic hernia: current management strategies from antenatal diagnosis to long-term follow-up. Kirby E, Keijzer R. Pediatr Surg Int. 2020;36(4):415-429.
  • First steps in the development of a liquid biopsy in situ hybridization protocol to determine circular RNA biomarkers in rat biofluids. Kirby E, Tse WH, Patel D, Keijzer R. Pediatr Surg Int. 2019; 35(12): 1329-1338.
  • Ovarian Follicles Rescued 3 Days after Cyclophosphamide Treatment in Adolescent Mice: An Experimental Study Aiming at Maximizing Methods for Fertility Preservation through In Vitro Follicle Culture. Anastácio A, Waterstone M, Hao X, Poirot C, Rodriguez-Wallberg KA. Int J Mol Sci. 2019;20(24): 6190.

Contact Us

Co-ordinator:

Dr Henry Windle

Course Email(s): gradapps.hs@tcd.iehjwindle@tcd.ie,
Course Tel(s): +353-1-896 2211/4924
Next Intake: September 2021
Closing Date: 16th July 2021