UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


MRes Synthetic Biology Research Project

Course Code
Level M
Credits 120
Module Tutor
Professor John Ward
Written report 15,000-18,000 words, presentation.


The aims are to give students intensive hands-on experience in all aspects of original scientific research from the initial planning of the project and practical experiments to the analysis and written and oral communication of the findings. This Research Project is 8 months of full time laboratory work and involves project supervisors from across UCL in order for the students to gain the benefit of internationally recognized researchers in the field of Synthetic Biology.

Learning Outcomes

1. To gain in depth knowledge of the theoretical basis underlying the selected research topic.

2. To understand the nature of good experimental design.

3. To know the experimental techniques applicable to the selected research topic

4. To gain hands-on practical experience of laboratory research

5. To understand how to analyze original data critically and place it in the context of what is already known

6. To gain an understanding of advanced scientific writing in the form of a dissertation.

7. To understand how to deliver an oral presentation of research findings.

This module consists of an extended laboratory based research project. Students will select a project from a range of topics offered in the various areas of Synthetic Biology. They will be allocated two supervisors from different disciplines and carry out an extended research project in the laboratory of the main supervisor. Within the specified research area, each student will be given hands on experience in experimental design, the relevant experimental techniques, data acquistion and analysis, together with guidance on the theoretical background underlying their project and the preparation of a dissertation and an oral presentation based on their findings.

Projects are chosen from a large range of synthetic biology research topics provided by research groups across UCL and the MRes students work in those research groups for the 8 months of their project.

The project will be assessed by submission of a dissertation and all dissertations will be double marked internally and be subject to Viva examination by an External Examiner to maintain quality standards. An oral presentation will be delivered by the student.

Learning Hours

Independent laboratory project work 1100 hours

Private reading 400 hours

Required written work 200 hours

Presentations 8 hours

Seminars 20 hours