MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology

Lead Research Organisation: Imperial College London
Department Name: Life Sciences


Aims and objectives: - To train students for a research career in bioinformatics and systems biology in academia, industry or the public sector. - Develop understanding of the fundamental disciplines underlying bioinformatics and systems biology. - Develop broad research and analytical skills necessary to conduct original research in bioinformatics and systems biology. - Enable discipline hopping for talented mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists. - Provide mathematical, statistical and computational skills to biologists. and biomedical scientists. - To equip students with the general skills for effective research in academia and industry the fields of bioinformatics and systems biology. The MSc in Bioinformatics and Theoretical Systems Biology addresses the need for highly trained individuals at the interface between the life, medical and physical sciences. The course offers an important and highly sought after opportunity for biologists and medical scientists to acquire numerical and computational skills, and for people from mathematics, physics, computer science or engineering to enter the life- and biomedical sciences. We provide a modern introduction to molecular and cellular biology, genomics and proteomics as well as the recent developments in integrative systems biology; furthermore students receive in-depth introductions to mathematical and statistical methods for bioinformatics and systems biology, as well as training in a range of relevant programming languages. Graduates of this course are able to engage with complex biological systems. They learn how to generate and test hypotheses from large and integrative biological datasets, and how to draw functional inferences from comparisons of different biological systems in different species. Students are exposed to a broad range of topics in bioinformatics and systems biology. Teaching of the course involves academics from all faculties (Medicine, Natural Sciences, Engineering) at Imperial College as well as industry representatives. The breadth in basic training - essential to ensure successful discipline hopping or interdisciplinary training - is complemented by in-depth research projects (in total 75% of the time are spent on three research projects); good students typically manage to get a peer-reviewed research publication out of one of these projects. Bioinformatics and Systems Biology and the structrue of the MSc has changed to reflect these developments. The course has increasingly moved into the area of mathematical modelling of biological systems and processes and now has substantial components covering these areas. This has been in response to student feedback, external examiners as well as from colleagues in academia, industry and research funding bodies.


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