MSc in Translational Oncology
Cancer research is a significant strength at Trinity College Dublin and is a major focus at the associated teaching hospitals, including St. James's Hospital. Global cancer incidences are rising rapidly each year and research exploring the underlying causes, mechanisms of tumour progression and response to treatments are vitally important. This M.Sc. in Translational Oncology will give both scientists and clinicians an in-depth understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects of the causes and treatment of cancer. This course will explore the cellular, molecular and genetic basis of cancer and will cover both the scientific and clinical challenges pertinent to the management of tissue-specific cancers. All aspects of cancer treatment from diagnostic imaging, to standardised and ‘individualised’ molecular targeted therapies will also be explored. All students will undertake a three month research project in a designated oncology research laboratory, where they will receive training in cellular and molecular oncology.
Why undertake this M.Sc?
This innovative M.Sc. programme in Translational Oncology is aimed at scientists and clinicians in training who wish to:
- Develop their research skills
- Broaden their expertise in oncology
- Develop advanced knowledge in specific areas of scientific, translational and clinical oncology.
The proposed course will offer an opportunity for graduates from a variety of backgrounds to specifically train in translational oncology in advance of undertaking an MD or PhD.
The course is run by the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin.
The course is held in the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Science campus in St. James's Hospital, Dublin.
The M.Sc. in Translational Oncology consists of eight compulsory taught core modules. The students will also choose four of six optional modules. Each student is also required to undertake a twelve week research project and submit a dissertation based on the outputs from this research project. The twelve week research project will begin in April once all the taught modules have been completed.
The core modules (5 ECTS each) have been designed to provide in-depth training in the translational oncology areas listed below.
- Module 1: Cellular and Molecular Basis of Cancer
- Module 2: Disease-Specific Cancers: Scientific and Clinical Perspectives
- Module 3: Tumour Immunology
- Module 4: Radiation, Chemotherapy and Molecular Targeted Therapies
- Module 5: Cancer Epigenetics, Gene Regulation and Stem Cells
- Module 6: Molecular Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging
- Module 7: Clinical Statistics and Medical Ethics
- Module 8: Molecular Oncology Research Skills
- Module 9: Research Project with Dissertation
Students choose four of the six optional modules (5 ECTS each). The optional modules are designed with the view to covering the interests of both scientists and clinicians.
- Module 10: Obesity, Metabolism and Physical Activity
- Module 11: Drug Development from Discovery to Commercialization
- Module 12: Cellular and Genomic Instability
- Module 13: Tumour Microenvironment
- Module 14: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutic Toxicity
- Module 15: Surgical Oncology and Health Economics
Research Project with Dissertation
The aim of this module is to give students the opportunity to take part in a specifically designed oncology research project, enabling them to put into practice what they have learned during the taught modules, the research skills module and workshops. Each student will be provided with a unique cancer-related research project, which will be closely supervised for the duration of the project by an expert in their respective field. These full time 12 week research projects are a major part of the M.Sc. programme and will provide students with the unique opportunity of being trained by leading experts in the field of oncology research.
On successful completion of this course, each participant will have gained considerable knowledge and understanding into the causes and treatments of cancer; will have learned how to critically review relevant literature, present data and have the ability to undertake independent cancer research, in addition to:
- Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the genetic and epigenetic basis of cancer.
- Identify the scientific and clinical challenges pertinent to treatment and management of site- specific cancers.
- Describe all aspects of cancer treatment from standard therapies to ‘individualised’ molecular targeted therapies.
- Appraise the role of molecular diagnostics, pathology and imaging in cancer screening and treatment.
- Discuss the role of the tumour microenvironment and the immune system in the development of cancer and in cancer therapeutics.
- Critically appraise research protocols and manuscripts, statistically evaluate data and write research reports.
- Evaluate the mechanisms linking obesity, diet and lifestyle choices with certain cancers [upon completion of optional module.
- Discuss the principles of drug discovery from target identification, to validation and commercialisation.
- Identify the cellular and genomic instability events leading to cancer progression.
- Evaluate the surgical management of cancer and the impact of health economics on cancer care.
- Assess the pharmacology of cancer therapeutics and the toxicities associated with anti-cancer drugs.
- Prepare scientific essays and reports clearly and accurately.
- Assess research hypothesis, design experimental studies and conduct quality scientific research in an ethical manner and communicate research findings in an appropriate scholarly manner to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
- Interpret experimental findings and evaluate in relation to study hypothesis and existing research.
- Critically analyse research findings in terms of experimental design and outcomes.
- Employ professional development and transferable skills such as teamwork, communication and time management skills which will be acquired throughout this course.
An induction day will be held for students in September 2016, where the course structure, timetables, assessments and content will be explained in detail to the students.
Formal lectures will take place Monday to Thursday (10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm). However it may be necessary to schedule lectures outside these times to accommodate visiting lecturers. Students will be notified of all changes to the timetable well in advance. Students will also be expected to attend tutorial sessions outside these normal lecturing hours.
Examinations for term 1 will be held the week beginning of December
Formal lectures will take place Monday to Friday (10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm). However it may be necessary to schedule lectures outside these times to accommodate visiting lecturers. Students will be notified of all changes to the timetable well in advance. Students will also be expected to attend tutorial sessions outside the normal lecturing hours.
Research skills modules will be run over 3 weeks at the end of term 2, prior to the research project.
Term 2 examinations
Research projects and dissertations (Core module 9) will begin the second week in April and continue for 12 weeks, Students are required to be in their designated laboratories at all times (9am – 6pm Monday to Friday).
This M.Sc. in Translational Oncology is open to both scientific and clinical graduates. Scientific, dental or equivalent candidates must have a minimum of a 2.1 honours degree in any biologically-related discipline. Medical graduates must have a MB, BCh, BAO or equivalent from a recognised medical school. All applicants should provide two academic or clinical references confirming their eligibility and suitability for the course, before their application can be considered. Applications for admission to the course will be made through the online system. Late applications will be considered provided places are available.
Non-EU applicants should be aware that processing visa applications can in some cases be a lengthy procedure - apply early where practicable.
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Last updated March 11, 2016