Head of School: Professor Anthony Hollander
Postgraduate Tutor: Dr. Matthew Avison
The School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine is part of the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences and is based in the Medical Sciences Building.
The research activities of the school are centred on research groups, supported by grants from both national and international funding agencies, including charities, the EU, government organisations, industry and research councils. Total grant income is in excess of £3 million p.a. The school has a strong tradition of collaborative research with many other scientific and clinical schools in the University and with outside organisations such as local hospitals, the Health Protection Agency (HPA), pharmaceutical companies, government departments, as well as with colleagues in other universities in the U.K. and abroad. The research activities of the school are primarily, but not exclusively, medically oriented.
Staff in the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine are based in the medical sciences building and in the main hospitals around Bristol.
Cellular and Molecular Medicine has completed a major refurbishment of all its labs housing facilities for immunology, microbiology, cancer research, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and virology. This has created an outstanding working environment with state-of-the-art facilities for growth and FACS sorting of tissue culture cells, molecular biology, peptide and protein analysis and microbiology.
We accept post-graduate students who intend to study for the degrees of PhD, MSc or MD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine by research. These individual programmes of study may start at any time of the year, as is convenient to the student and the research adviser(s), although most students commence their study period at the beginning of October or the beginning of January.
Research training is primarily undertaken within the research group which the student joins, but access to a wide range of experimental expertise and training out with the particular research group is readily available. This is both within the school in other University schools or in an appropriate hospital diagnostic laboratory, if this is necessary. Those with veterinary interests can, if appropriate, be located in or given access to the Comparative Pathology section of the University Veterinary Field Station, situated at Langford approximately 15 miles (24 kilometres) from the centre of Bristol.
The school is well equipped to undertake basic research in many areas of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, particularly in the areas of immunology, molecular biology, molecular genetics, oncology, virology, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine and aspects of medical microbiology.
Also within the Medical Sciences Building are state of the art facilities for biological imaging, protein structure analysis, proteomics and in the wider university, transcriptomics and next generation sequencing. Most research groups work collaboratively across several schools, and use these Faculty facilities.
Students who enrol on a Cellular and Molecular Medicine research degree programme are automatically members of the Graduate School of the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences. The Graduate School offers an induction course to all new postgraduate students. At this induction new students are given information about the University and the services it offers. They are told what is expected of them throughout their programme of study and what they can expect from us and the University by way of support. They also run progress monitoring – see below.
The Graduate School also runs a programme of compulsory and optional skills training workshops, for example, those relating the health and safety, writing a thesis, time management and presentation skills, etc. The aim is to make doing a research degree easier, and provide important transferable skills.
The Medical Sciences Building possesses a network of interactive video workstations, which run automatic computer-based illustrated tutorials. This facility, although primarily for undergraduates, may be used by graduate students and provides a considerable body of basic information and is available for individual study at any time of the day. Postgraduate research students are also encouraged to attend undergraduate lectures to fill in gaps in their knowledge, and we have a large and well stocked library in the Medical Sciences Building, with access to books and journals online and in hard copy.
All students must have two research advisors. Normally, one academic will be the primary advisor about the research project and the secondary advisor will take more of a supportive and pastoral role, but sometimes with collaborative projects, both advisors are equally involved in the project. In addition, the School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has a Postgraduate Tutor, who is responsible for overseeing progress monitoring of research students in the school, and also provides another layer of pastoral support and advice.
The progress of all research students is carefully monitored. Students registered for a PhD and MD degree have to prepare a project proposal, summarising the background and aims of their project after 4.5 months of study. And after 9 months, the student must write a research report detailing experimental progress that has been made to date. Both reports are assessed by two members of staff (neither of the student’s two advisors, nor the postgraduate tutor can act in this capacity), and there is a formal interview at which each report is discussed. The aim here is to confirm that progress is satisfactory, and to get external validation that the project is on track and the student has the appropriate background knowledge to proceed. In most cases, things go smoothly, but sometimes, measures to provide extra support to some students is needed. In order to ensure progress is maintained similar progress assessment exercises are conducted towards the end of the second (PhD and MD) and third years (PhD only). In all cases, the deadline for submission of a thesis is four years from initial registration for a PhD, and five years for an MD, and these deadline is very strictly enforced.
MSc by research students only work in the lab for a maximum of one year, so they only have to write one written progress report, at 6 months, which is assessed as for the research reports submitted by PhD students. For this degree programme, a thesis must be submitted within three years of initial registration, though the University encourages all students to submit a thesis within two years of registration.
Each year, PhD students are asked to give a talk to the school about the research they have undertaken. This gives useful practice for presentation of results at national or international research conferences. In addition students will present their results regularly at more restricted research group meetings. MSc by research students have to give a short talk about the aims of their project three months after initial registration to their progression panel.
Access to the Medical Sciences Building is strictly regulated and only authorised persons are permitted entry. Accordingly, if you wish to visit the school it is necessary to make a prior appointment and not turn up unexpectedly. Prospective postgraduate research students from the UK will be invited to the school as part of the application process, (see applications page), where they will have the opportunity to see the facilities and talk to prospective research advisers. Visits can be arranged at any time of the year, but a visit is generally easier to arrange during the academic session (October - June) and particularly during term time.
A small number of graduate research students live in Student Houses owned by the University; the remainder live in rented private accommodation, usually within a 2 mile (3 kilometre) radius of the University. Further details can be obtained from:
The Accommodation Office, 4th Floor, Students Union Building, Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1LN. Tel: +44 (0)117 954 5740 e-mail: email@example.com
The University Accommodation Office is open throughout the year and staff are experienced in helping with every kind of student accommodation problem.