After graduating from Oxford University with a first degree in Physics in 1980, William rose from Developer for an IT company to Head of IT for a major bank in the City. After coaching his son through A-levels, he decided to do an MRes in Bioinformatics with Systems Biology at Birkbeck starting in 2008.
Having gained a Distinction for his MRes, William has done a part-time PhD at Birkbeck (which he finished in the summer of 2013) and now does research on influenza A part time while continuing as a partner in an IT company.
Introduction to the MRes Bioinformatics with Systems Biology
Course Director: Dr Irilenia Nobeli
Aims and objectives
The MRes Bioinformatics with Systems Biology course combines high-quality postgraduate training in bioinformatics with a major research component.
The specific aims of the course are to provide graduate students with:
- An understanding of bioinformatics together with the analytical skills (both theoretical and practical) relevant to this field.
- An introduction to the field of systems biology.
- A general training in bioinformatics that meets clear industrial and academic needs to support and advance biotechnology and bioinformatics research and development.
- The ability to apply the tools and techniques of computer science, biology, chemistry and statistics to obtain information from the vast wealth of biological data that can be accessed via the internet. The key emphasis is on acquiring generic skills (e.g. programming and database design), rather than on individual pieces of software.
- Personal and transferable skills (e.g. IT, communication, analytical and problem-solving, interpersonal, organizational, presentation, time-management, etc.).
Teaching on the course involves a mixture of lectures, and practical sessions in a dedicated PC lab. For more information about the eight taught modules on the course, click here.
Who is it for?
This MRes course is particularly suitable for students wishing to progress to do a PhD in computational biology (in the last few years nearly all of our graduates went on to funded PhD studentships). We welcome part-time students on our MRes and we note that a significant number of computational biology PhD students in our department are enrolled part time.
Students on the course may have first degrees in a wide range of subjects, including: biology, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, physics. All prospective students regardless of their educational background are required to undertake a short aptitude test before their interview.
Students take four of the eight 15-credit taught modules, giving a total of 60 credits. Typically students will be expected to select two computational/statistical modules and two biological modules, although there may be some flexibility for students with a strong background in either area.
The remaining 120 credits are awarded for the MRes extended project module. This module comprises a literature survey (dissertation) and oral presentation (20%) that are assessed together at an intermediate stage of the course, and a thesis and viva ( 80%) that are assessed together at the end of the course.