Translational Neuroscience

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time
Start date: September 2019
Campus: Hammersmith
ECTS: 90 credits
Apply nowRegister your interest

Overview

This course is designed to provide high-quality training to tomorrow's neuroscientists, who will play a vital role in not only understanding what causes neurological and psychiatric disorders but also developing better treatments and cures. The course will be delivered by world-leading expert clinicians and neuroscientists working across the spectrum in Neuroscience.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently listed Neurological disorders as a global emergency with the numbers of people affected by such disorders predicted to markedly increase over the next 25 years as life expectancy globally increases. For the vast majority of neurological disorders, there are no effective treatments. Uniquely, this programme will provide theoretical and practical training to you in the various methodologies utilised in translational research for the development of novel therapeutic approaches to treat neurological conditions.

During the first term, you complete four core modules. You then choose two elective modules (modules 5 and 6 or modules 7 and 8) which make up two different streams:

  • Brain imaging and Computational Neuroscience
  • Neuro-inflammation, Neuro-trauma and Neuro-regeneration

Both components carry equal weighting for your final grade.

The taught component of the course will be delivered by academics/clinicians at the forefront of research and clinical practice, and will equip you with an excellent foundation in neuroscience, particularly in how the different cellular components in the central nervous system physiologically work together to control brain function, and how this malfunctions in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders.

The research component will allow you to explore a particular neurological or psychiatric disorder in greater depth, and apply cutting-edge research techniques to help determine the causes and assist in the development of novel therapies for such disorders.

This course will consequently provide excellent training for students, whether they wish to pursue an academic or industrial research career, in which they can play a vital role in better understanding the causes of neurological disorders, or developing better treatments or cures.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Please note that the curriculum of this course is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for your year of entry. We therefore recommend that you check this course page before finalising your application and after submitting it as we will aim to update this page as soon as any changes are ratified by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about changes we have made.

You study four core modules and two elective modules (specific to the stream you choose).

  • Stream 1: Brain imaging and Computational Neuroscience – you must complete modules 5 and 6
  • Stream 2: Neuro-inflammation, Neuro-trauma and Neuro-regeneration – you must complete modules 7 and 8

You also complete a research project (module 9).

Structure

Core modules

There are four core modules, each taught over a two-and-a-half week period. The first two weeks consist of lectures, practical classes, group workshops and tutorials, whilst the remainder of the time is set aside for consolidation of what you have learnt during the module and for completion of assignments.

Module 1: Functional Neuroanatomy

You will investigate the basic structure and function of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems; how these systems interact in normal physiological function; and the consequences of their impairment in neurological conditions.
Module Leader: Professor Steve Gentleman

Module 2: Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

You will learn which cells make up the nervous system; how they interact during brain and spinal cord development; and the neuronal networks they form in the developed brain. This module also covers mechanisms of neuronal damage and the potential for neuroregeneration.
Module Leader: Dr Kambiz Alavian

Module 3: Neurodegenerative Disorders

You will build on the knowledge gained in Modules 1 and 2 to then investigate the clinical and pathological features of the principle neurodegenerative disorders and how they are clinically treated. This module will also cover how drugs for CNS use are designed, tested utilising in vitro and in vivo models, and their translation in clinical trials.
Module Leader: Dr Magdalena Sastre

Module 4: Addiction and Neuropharmacology in Psychiatry

This module covers the clinical features of key psychiatric disorders, including addictions, and how such disorders are clinically treated. You will explore the neurobiological and neuropharmacological basis for psychiatric disorders, and gain a good understanding of what experimental approaches are available to characterize such disorders, including neuroimaging (PET, MR), ‘first-into-man’ and clinical trials.
Module Leader: Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes

Elective modules – Stream 1

Stream 1: Brain imaging and Computational Neuroscience

This stream contains two elective modules and students choosing this stream will study both of the modules below:

Module 5: Brain Imaging

This module covers the fundamental physical principles underlying various brain imaging techniques, and how to identify brain anatomical structures. You will acquire theoretical and practical experience with common analysis approaches and software packages used for the analysis of MRI and PET images, and also investigate the role of neuroimaging in the clinical diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders and psychiatric diseases, as well as their role as biomarkers in disease progression and in drug development.
Module Leaders: Professor Paola Piccini and Dr Tony Goldstone

Module 6: Computational Neuroscience

You will learn the theory and develop the practical skills to apply a wide variety of computational analytical techniques to complex data sets obtained from a wide variety of sources, such as fMRI, EEG/MEG, cognitive task data, genotypes and endophenotypes
Module Leader: Dr Adam Hampshire

Elective modules – Stream 2

Stream 2: Neuro-inflammation, Neuro-trauma and Neuro-regeneration

This stream contains two elective modules and students choosing this stream will study both of the modules below:

Module 7: Neuroinflamation and CNS Trauma

You will build on the knowledge gained in Modules 1 and 2 to then investigate the clinical, immunological/pathological features and clinical treatment of neurological conditions where neuroinflammation plays a key role e.g. Multiple Sclerosis etc. and in CNS trauma. This module will also cover how in vitro and in vivo models are used in translational research to develop novel therapies for such disorders, plus how clinical trials are run.
Module Leader: Professor Paolo Muraro

Module 8: Brain Plasticity and Neuroregeneration

You will investigate the fundamental molecular, cellular and system biology aspects of the principles of brain plasticity and neuro-regeneration. You will then cover state-of-the-art concepts of regenerative bioengineering and biomaterials, how they can be tested as potential treatments in neuro-regeneration models, and ultimately translated into clinical trials.
Module Leader: Professor Simone Di Giovanni

Research project

Module 9: Laboratory-based research project

In module 9, you will complete a six-month laboratory-based research project.

The laboratory-based research project will be offered from the Division of Brain Sciences. Students will learn how to generate an original piece of research that shows an innovative and creative approach to a specific neuroscientific challenge. This module is strongly practical and is characterised by a notable vocational focus, and every student will be assigned to one or more research supervisors.

Teaching is delivered in the form of lectures, interactive workshops and practical sessions. Topics covered will include, among others:

  • dissertation days
  • managing students’ expectation
  • dissecting the dissertation
  • tips on how to write the dissertation
  • delivering a Flash Presentation
  • presenting a scientific poster
  • preparing for the viva

Module Leader: Dr Stefano Sandrone

 

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

In addition to the lecture format, and in line with the updated guidelines on inclusive learning and teaching, teaching delivery methods may include the following:

  • Practical/computational sessions (i.e. neuro-histology sessions around a multi-head microscope, on immunohistochemistry, examination of sections under the microscope; cadaveric and living anatomy sessions; practical computational workshops in the computing hub and hackathon space)
  • Laboratory tours/demonstrations (i.e demonstration of a brain dissection)
  • Interview with a patient
  • Class tutorials and small group tutorials
  • Group discussions and group workshops

Please note that details of the teaching methods might change depending on the intake year and that some of these delivery methods are stream-specific.

Assessment

Assessment methods include the following:

  • Custom anatomy assessment app to test functional neuroanatomical knowledge (Module 1)
  • Virtual research project, a group exercise with research question, hypothesis, experimental procedures, hypothetical results, possible conclusions and alternatives and pitfalls (Module 2).
  • Journal Club presentations
  • Analysis and write up of go/no-go task data (Module 4)
  • Interactive grant writing workshop (Module 4)
  • Literature review: a format to compare and contrast published reports and to summarise the state of current scientific understanding on a specific neuroscientific topic (Module 5)
  • Hackathon: to plan and implement ‘big data’ pipelines and apply computing skills and computational techniques for analysis of data from a variety of cognitive and neuroimaging sources (Module 6)
  • Practical write up (Module 6)
  • Research grant concept: a single day session including group exercises, peer review, teacher review and elevator pitch with slides (Module 7)
  • Design of a research question on Neuroplasticity and Regeneration (Module 8)
  • Live debate workshops (Module 8)
  • Flash presentation, poster presentation, dissertation, viva (Module 9)

Please note that some of the aforementioned assessments are stream-specific.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in an appropriate biological science subject.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirement (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the higher College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

How to apply

You can submit one application form per year of entry, and usually choose up to two courses.

How to apply

Making an application

All applicants to our Master's courses must apply online.

For full details on the online application process, please visit the admissions website.

ATAS certificate

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

Tuition fees and funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

For more information on the funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2019 entry
£11,300 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.

Tuition fees (Overseas and Islands students)

2019 entry
£34,500

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2019 will apply to fees for the academic year 2019–2020.

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,906 from the UK government. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.

There are a number of external organisations also offer awards for Imperial students, find out more about non-Imperial scholarships.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Medicine

Got a question?

Dr Patricia Cover:
T: +44 (0)20 3311 7275
E: p.cover@imperial.ac.uk

Read more about the department and our research on the Department of Brain Sciences website

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