Further information and course structure
The fascination and importance of reproduction and embryonic development is unparalleled. Tremendous advances have been made in our understanding of gonadal development and fertilisation, the development of pluripotent embryonic stem cells into the myriad of specialised cells and tissues that form a fetus, and the processes of pregnancy and parturition, but there is much to learn. The application of cellular and molecular biology together with genetics provide the keys to the study of reproduction, but many of the problems associated with fertilisation, fetal growth and development, pregnancy loss and maternal complications are still poorly understood. There is also good evidence that adult disease may have its origins during fetal development but we have little molecular insight into this fetal programming. Recently there has been an explosion in research into stem cell biology since this will not only provide insights into cellular differentiation, but may also lead to important therapeutic opportunities.
This MSc will focus on the cellular and molecular basis for human reproduction and embryonic development, as well as associated clinical problems. The course is based in the Institute of Reproductive & Developmental Biology. The teachers conducting the course are internationally recognised for their contribution to reproductive science and developmental biology. We regard it as important that there should be maximum opportunity for close and regular contact between these experts and the students. This course is designed to fill a growing demand for individuals who are specialists, either scientifically or clinically, in the field of Reproductive & Developmental Biology.
The course is divided into two six-month components. During October to March students attend taught modules in:
- Molecular medicine
- Reproductive endocrinology
- Gametogenesis and preimplantation development
- Implantation and pregnancy
- Hormone receptors
- Reproductive medicine
- Stem cell biology
- Fetal development
Formal examination of the taught element occurs in March upon completion of these modules. In parallel with the teaching programme, students are required to complete four essays of approximately two thousand five hundred words, and one oral presentation, on topics that complement the subject matter of taught modules.
Method of delivery
The lectures will be given by staff of the Institute of Reproductive & Developmental Biology, and by specialists from other Imperial College London departments and London institutions. Lectures will be accompanied by laboratory-based practical classes. Students will also be expected to attend regular departmental seminars and lectures by invited distinguished scientists. Tutorials will be used to provide a forum for more detailed discussion of topics. As training in presentation techniques, students will be required to make short presentations on papers or relevant topics at regular intervals. During the six month research project, students will receive tuition and close supervision from their project supervisor and other laboratory staff.