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Experimental and Translational Immunology MSc/MRes

This flagship MSc/MRes programme provides insight into state-of-the-art immunology research, current issues in immunity, immune dysfunction and immune-based therapeutic approaches.

Experimental and Translational Immunology MSc

The content spans the range from basic science to translational clinical research and culminates in a full-time research project, providing excellent training and preparation for a research career. Students will develop advanced knowledge of all aspects of immunology, including immune regulation, immune deficiencies, immunology of transplantation, gene therapy, cancer immunology, and immune therapeutics.

After completing the core modules, students will be able to focus on one or two research areas within the IIT, including Immune Regulation, Transplantation, Cancer Immunity, and Immune Deficiency.

 

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Experimental and Translational Immunology MRes

This new MRes programme provides insight into state-of-the-art immunology research, current issues in immunity, immune dysfunction and immune-based therapeutic approaches. The main emphasis of the programme is a 9 month original research project (5 months part-time and 4 months full-time) which provides excellent preparation for a PhD and a career in research.

 

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Career Opportunities

Graduates are exceptionally well prepared for a career in research. The combination of research-informed teaching and practical research training provides ideal preparation for a PhD and is equally applicable for clinicians seeking specialist training or wishing to pursue the clinical academic career track. Additionally, opportunities for networking with UCL senior investigators with international reputations and their worldwide collaborators can provide the inside track for career development.

More broadly, a rigorous grounding in the scientific method, critical analysis, data interpretation and independent thinking provides a pallet of marketable and transferable skills applicable to many professional career paths. These could include careers in the public healthcare sector, in industry and biopharma, government and research councils, biomedical charities, and scientific publishing.

A Range of Programme Options

The Experimental and Translational Immunology MSc has a flexible programme structure. It is offered as a one-year full-time programme, and as a flexible part-time option allowing students to complete the programme within a five year period. The Experimental and Translational Immunology MRes is only available as a one-year full-time programme. 


 

New Immunity-based Treatments

"In the past 10 years Cancer Immunology has made tremendous progress and the development of immunotherapy has revolutionised the treatment of certain types of cancer. We now have the exciting opportunity to learn from the progress in cancer therapy and develop new immunity-based treatments for chronic infections, autoimmunity and for patients after transplantation" - Professor Hans Stauss, Director UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT).

  • 1 in every 16 people in the UK has an autoimmune condition
  • In the UK, more than 400,000 people have Type 1 Diabetes (of which approx 30,000 are children), 400,000 have rheumatoid arthritis, and 100,000 have MS
  • One-third of the world have been infected with HBV and approximately 350 million remain persistently infected, causing around 600,000 deaths a year.
  •  Around 6 million people live with a primary Immunodeficiencies worldwide but between 70-90% are undiagnosed.  

    War in the Blood - A BBC Film about UCL Scientists & UCLH Clinicians

    • War in the Blood is a BBC film that looks at the work of scientists at UCL and clinicians at UCLH working together on groundbreaking ‘first in-human’ immunotherapy trials.
       
    • These clinical trials are testing new treatments which ‘re-programme’ the immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells, providing a more efficient and less toxic way of treating cancer.

    • Between them, UCL and UCLH are leading the largest portfolio of CAR T cell studies in Europe with underpinning support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and funding by several partners including the blood cancer charity Bloodwise, and the EU 7th Framework Programme.

    Emma Morris UCL

    Prof Emma Morris, Professor of Clinical Cell and Gene Therapy, Interim Director of the UCL Division of Infection and Immunity

    • CAR T-cell therapy directs T-cells to attack cancer cells by harvesting T-cells from blood and genetically engineering them outside the body so they are reprogrammed to kill cancer cells. Once they are infused back to the patient, these CAR T-cells act as a miniature robot and find and destroy cancer cells.

    • CAR T-cell therapy has so far shown the most promise for haematological (blood) cancers, and Professor Emma Morris of the UCL Division of Infection & Immunity says the therapy represents “a real step-change in how we treat cancers. It represents a leap in medical therapies, from using small chemical molecules or proteins to using cells. The complexity of cells means that they can be engineered in highly ingenious ways, leading to treatments with specificity and activity unimaginable in conventional treatments".

    The Pears Building

    The Experimental and Translational Immunology MSc will be based at the new home to the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT), the Pears Building next to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead London. 

    The Pears Building will be a world-class research centre bringing together leading scientists, academic clinicians and clinical trials specialists to develop revolutionary treatments and therapies for patients.

    The Pears Building Hampstead

    The new facilities will provide the best possible infrastructure for research, training and clinical delivery, with state-of-the-art research labs, equipment and cleanroom facilities to adapt research protocols for production of clinical-grade therapeutics for trials in patients.

    The IIT at the Pears Building will be one of the top five advanced clinical research centres on immunity in the world.

    Learn from World Leading Experts

    The 9 modules within the programme are each taught by world leaders in the various elements of Immunology. No other university is able to offer such a range of expertise.

    You will be taught by world leaders with a wide range of expertise in the field of Immunology. From Professor Emma Morris, working on developing treatment using gene-modified T cells for patients with cancer, infection and immune system disorders to Professor Lucy Walker, world expert in the mechanisms of type 1 diabetes, to Professor David Sansom, a professor in Transplant Immunology working on understating the role of check point molecules in T cell activation.

    More info about the programme structure and module content 

    A Uniquely Translational Approach

    The IIT is one of only a few centres in the world dedicated to collaborative immunity research, bringing together teams of more than 200 experts and more than 30,000 patients. This "bench to bedside" approach means that our research teams take information discovered in the laboratory and use it to work with clinical colleagues - doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals - to find new therapies for patients.

    students in pathology lab

    This research approach enables the IIT to develop new vaccines and to use cell and gene therapy to treat many serious immune-related diseases. These include Cancer, HIV, Hepatitis B, Haemophilia, Liver Disease, Leukaemia, Kidney Cancer and Diabetes. It also enables them to improve the long-term outlook for transplant patients. 

    Our Immune Tolerance Research

    Sometimes a person's immune system can attack their own body. This is called autoimmunity and is the basis of diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.  In addition, uncontrolled immune responses can cause rejection of a transplanted organ. Correcting defective regulation or inducing tolerance could prevent immune attack and rejection. 

    ucl research
    • Our goal is to better understand immune regulation at a cellular and molecular level, apply this knowledge to clinical conditions, and develop strategies to correct defective regulation with new biological therapies. Read more about our research studies in Immune Regulation here.
    • We study the nature of immune responses in liver and renal transplant patients. We also study immune stimulation to develop tolerance-inducing interventions to prevent immune attack and rejection