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Life Sciences | Biotechnology

Research in the School of Medical Sciences

The University of Aberdeen School of Medical Sciences is a centre of excellence for the molecular cell biology of a range of important biomedical problems ? from bacterial and fungal pathogenesis to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinson?s disease

At the University of Aberdeen School of Medical Sciences, research from gene to whole animal is supported by staff with international reputations for their leadership on key issues in cell and developmen- tal biology, whole tissue physiology and pharmacology and studies of the pathogenesis of disease both in the affected host and in the causative organism. International assessments of research and teaching have scored the School as Excellent.

Recruitment of 20 new principal investigators and independent research fellows over the last five years gives the School a vibrant research environment that is world-leading for training young scientists. Research takes place in first-class laboratories, recently built thanks to a £30m investment in the creation of the Institute of Medical Sciences. The Institute provides core facilities for advanced microscopy (fluorescence, confocal, electron, light), FACS, proteomics, mass spectrometry and gene expression microarrays & RT-PCR. Specialised shared laboratories have been created for histology, microscopy, radioactive work and animal facilities. Close collaborations are maintained with specialist clinical research groups in auto-immune diseases, biomedical imaging, ophthalmology and musculoskeletal and bone metabolism.

The growing tip of a spinal neuron. Dynamic reorganisation of microfilaments (red) and microtubules (green) direct it toward an appropriate synaptic target

Research is focused on four main programmes:

Teaching and Learning in the School of Medical Sciences

The School provides the core teaching in molecular, cellular and physiological areas of biology and medicine and provides specific degree and masters level courses in: biochemistry, biomedical sciences, biotechnology, cell biology, developmental biology genetics, immunology, neuroscience, microbiology, molecular biology, physiology and pharmacology, sports and exercise science and sport and society.

Students have recognised that the flexibility provided by our degree structures enables them to gain first-hand experience of a range of disciplines in the first two years before committing themselves to in?depth study of a specific subject in their final years. The University has recently completely refurbished the teaching laboratories to provide opportunities for gaining experience in a range of experimental approaches in the biomedical sciences. In addition, all students have the option of a final year project in the fully equipped research laboratories of the Institute of Medical Sciences. We have well-established, funded systems for enabling students to gain experience of research environments either for a full year or for three months in summer.

Cell death identification (red) in hippocampal tissue. Neurones are counter stained with a Neurofilament (green)

Our undergraduate programmes are designed to enhance the student learning experience so that all students can reach their full potential. Students are supported by active tutorial systems with senior academic staff and small?group learning in practical skills. Our students graduate with a solid background of discipline-specific knowledge, across a whole range of subjects relevant to Biotechnology as well as generic skills and life skills that will enable them to pursue a lifelong engagement with education.

We are particularly committed to ensuring the confidence and competence of our students in the critical core skills of numerical manipulation, data interpretation, data handling, experimental design and scientific literacy that are needed to become autonomous and effective learners in the biosciences.

We are dedicated to delivering high-quality teaching and learning in an excellent research environment. Our courses encourage the interaction between internationally recognised researchers and undergraduates so that students can be exposed to and inspired by exposure to cutting-edge developments in research.


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