Research Projects

MSc (Research) project areas

Sports and exercise science

Supervisors: Mr Nairn Scobie, Dr Ole Kemi and Ms Victoria Penpraze

Sports Performance:

These opportunities typically arise within professional sporting organisations and allow applicants to carry out research in an applied environment as well as gaining experience and learning the skills required to be a practitioner, often at an elite level. Typical studies have encompassed sports such as rugby, hockey and football.

Exercise Physiology:

The study of the physiology of exercise, training and physical work, including the study of the acute responses and chronic adaptations to a wide range of exercise conditions including under the influence of various environmental factors such as temperature, pressure and altitude. Typical studies may encompass investigations of the effectiveness of different training protocols, the potential advantages of ergogenic aids, control of exercise intensity, and the underlying physiologic responses to these interventions, and may be undertaken both in the laboratory and in the field.

Physical activity for Health:

The study of physical activity and/or sedentary behaviours in different sections of the population, e.g. children, school leavers, clinical groups. Typical studies can encompass investigations of how much physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour is carried out by the cohort of interest and may also include the effectiveness of different interventions designed to improve health-enhancing activity related behaviours. There are opportunities to conduct research in this area in a lab, field or applied setting.

Recent publications

  • White AD and MacFarlane NG. (2015) Contextual effects on activity profiles of domestic field hockey during competition and training. Hum Mov Sci. 40:422-31
  • Scobie,N. et al (2014) The comparison of coconut water, sports drink and plain water on rehydration and potential for endurance based performance. Journal of Sports Sciences, 32(Supp.2),s78-s86
  • Devlin J, et al. (2014) Blood lactate clearance after maximal exercise depends on active recovery intensity. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 54:271-8.

Cancer biology / Cancer and inflammation

Supervisors: Dr Joanna B Wilson

Research in our laboratory concerns the analysis of viral oncogenes:

  • how do they work to disturb the normal function of the cell?
  • how does this lead to an abnormal cell state?
  • how does this proceed to tumour formation?
  • how does the virus avoid immune eradication?

By understanding these issues, we can then go on to design possible therapeutic treatments. Our study revolves around a cancer associated virus called Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).  What we learn from the action of the viral oncogenes, tells us a great deal about the cancer process in general and about the normal action of cellular proteins that are disrupted by the virus.

A new area of study in our lab is focusing on chronic inflammation and the role it plays in the development of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

MSc research projects will explore the action and therapeutic targeting of a viral oncogene or an important cellular gene involved in the tumourigenic process, using a range of molecular, genetic and cellular approaches.

Recent publications

  • AlQarni, S. et al. (2018) Lymphomas driven by Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA1) are dependant upon Mdm2. Oncogene 10.1038/s41388-018-0147x
  • Wilson, J.B. et al. (2018) EBNA1: Oncogenic Activity, Immune Evasion and Biochemical Functions Provide Targets for Novel Therapeutic Strategies against Epstein-Barr Virus-Associated Cancers. Cancers 10, 109 doi:10.3390/cancers10040109
  • Gao, X. et al. (2017) N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) ameliorates Epstein-Barr virus latent membrane protein 1 induced chronic inflammation.PLoS-ONE 12 (12) e0189167 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189167 dpi:10.1371

Cell signalling

Supervisors: DrĀ Elaine Huston

We are particularly interested in the interaction of lysine methylation with key molecules in cell signalling pathways and the implications of this for novel cancer therapies. Lysine demethylases are integral to the regulation of histone and non-histone methylation and thus play an important part in the control of gene expression and stability.  Deregulation of these enzymes and the resultant modification of epigenetic landscapes has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a number of cancers including prostate cancer, colon cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia. 

More recently it has become increasingly clear that lysine methylation is important in the control of key signalling pathways implicated in cancer progression.  This indicates that drugs which target lysine methylation may offer promising novel therapeutics to these disease states. 

MSc research projects will investigate the roles that various signalling proteins and lysine demethylases play in the proliferation of cancer cells.  The interaction between lysine methylation, signalling molecules and resultant modulation of signalling pathways will be investigated to assess potential novel targets for cancer therapeutics.

Recent publications

  • Brown, K. M., et al (2013). Phosphodiesterase-8A binds to and regulates Raf-1 kinase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110: E1533-42.
  • McCahill, A.C. et al. (2008). PDE4 associates with different scaffolding proteins: modulating interactions as treatment for certain diseases. Handb Exp Pharmacol, 125-66.
  • Tanaka, M. et al (2017). Aggregation of scaffolding protein DISC1 dysregulates phosphodiesterase 4 in Huntington's disease. J Clin Invest, 127: 1438-1450.

The genetics of cell cycle

Supervisors: Dr Chris McInerny

We use the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe to study the cell cycle and basic cancer biology. We focus on cytokinesis and cell separation, and the role of anillin and ESCRT proteins in this process. Anillin proteins play a prominent function in controlling the deposition of the actin ring that predicts the site of cell separation, and ESCRT proteins control membrane formation and changes.

The MSc (Research) project will focus on the interactions of these two protein types and the role of this interaction in cytokinesis. This is of medical importance as the cell cycle and cytokinesis are disrupted in human cancers with, for example, anillin proteins known to be deregulated. The research will use a wide range of molecular techniques, working in both yeast and human cells to address this important area.

Recent publications

  • Bhutta M.S. et al. (2014) A complex network of interactions between mitotic kinases, phosphatases and ESCRT proteins regulates septation and membrane trafficking in S. pombePLoS ONE 9: e111789.
  • Bhutta M.S. et al. (2014) ESCRT function in cytokinesis: location, dynamics and regulation by mitotic kinases. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 15: 21723-21739. 

The genetics of rare disorders

Supervisors: Dr Mark E Bailey

Molecular therapies for rare genetic disorders

We investigate disorders of the brain and study the genetics of rare disorders, with a view to developing molecular therapeutic approaches (gene therapy, RNA-trans-splicing, genome editing).

We have completed a large amount of work on Rett syndrome, an X-linked dominant disorder that affects only girls.  And leaves them with severe dyspraxia, motor disabilities and possibly cognitive disabilities lifelong, as well as related health problems. It is caused in most cases by de novo mutations in MECP2, a gene that encodes a protein that participates in epigenetic regulation of genome function and gene expression. Other X-linked dominant disorders of the brain are also being studied ie. CDKL5 disorder and DDX3X disorder.

Our MSc (research) project will be in an area that contributes to these molecular therapy approaches to tackling such disorders.

Recent publications

  • Hector R.D.et al. (2017) CDKL5 variants: improving our understanding of a rare neurological disorder. Neurology: Genetics 3: e200. doi: 10.1212/NXG.0000000000000200.
  • Gadalla K.K.E. et al. (2017) Development of a novel AAV gene therapy cassette with improved safety features and efficacy in a mouse model of Rett syndrome. Molecular Therapy: Methods and Clinical Development 5: 180-190. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2017.04.007.

Genetics of common human traits and disorders

Our lab investigates the genetics of common human complex traits and disorders, particularly those based on:

  • brain function
  • body composition and diabetes
  • physical performance
  • an ear/balance disorder called Ménière disease
We have access to the world-leading UK BioBank dataset and we do big data analysis of the relationships between phenotypes, the underlying genetics, and gene-gene and gene-environment interactions. We have recently made discoveries in the area of circadian rhythmicity and its relationship with depression and other mood disorders.

Our MSc (Research) project will be in an area that contributes to these genetic analysis investigations, and is appropriate for students who want a dry project with no experimental work, and which involves statistical analysis.

Recent publications:

  • Morrison G.A.J. et al (2009). Familial Ménière’s disease: clinical and genetic aspects. J. Laryngol. Otol. 123: 29-37. doi:10.1017/S0022215108002788
  • Ferguson A. et al (2018) Genome-wide association study of circadian rhythmicity in 71,500 UK Biobank participants and polygenic association with mood instability. EBioMedicine xx: 1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.08.004

Marine ecology

Our lab focuses on two areas of research:

  1. what controls the diversity and biomass of microalgae?
  2. how do microplastics and light affect marine bivalve populations?

Besides their potential to address longstanding ecological questions on the functioning of marine ecosystems, both questions have important implications for the biofuels and aquaculture industries respectfully.

To address these questions we conduct controlled experiments in the aquatic ecology lab, within the Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine (IBAHCM) and we also have connections with industrial partners for carrying out field work in their facilities. Depending on the research question, we analyse samples with a range of techniques available within the aquatic ecology lab or in collaboration with the metabolomics department of the University of Glasgow polyomics facility and labs carrying out genetic analyses within IBAHCM and the Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology.

Recent publications

  • Papanikolopoulou L. et al. (2018). Interplay between r- and K-strategists leads to phytoplankton underyielding when the resources are pulsed. Oecologia, 186: 755-764
  • Sakavara, A. et al (2018) Lumpy species coexistence arises robustly in fluctuating resource environments. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 115: 738-743.
  • Smeti, E. et al. (2016) Spatial averaging and disturbance lead to high productivity in aquatic metacommunities. Oikos, 125: 812-820. (doi:10.1111/oik.02684)

Overview

MSc (Research) students work on a selected project for a full year. Depending upon training needs, a student may take approved credited taught courses throughout this period. Following the research period, students will write a thesis (under the supervision of the principle investigator), presenting data and analysis for the degree examination.

Study options

MSc (Research)

Duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time [with the option to register for a further year to write up your thesis]

Taught courses may form part of the programme, tailored to individual student needs and topic requirements.

Specifying your research project area

In your application, please select your research project area and your project and supervisor in the 'research' section of the application form.

Entry requirements

Awarded or expected First-class or Second-class Honours BSc degree or equivalent in a relevant subject.

English Language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English.

Fees and funding

Fees

2019/20

  • £4,320 UK/EU (to be confirmed by UKRI)
  • £21,020 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Re-submission by a research student £500
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,250
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £320
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £730
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period) £300

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

2018/19 fees

  • £4,260 UK/EU
  • £20,150 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Submission by a research student £480
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,200
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £300
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period) £270

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our overarching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search.


Check our entry requirements

Entry requirements for postgraduate research vary.

All Postgraduate Research applicants should normally possess one or more of the following:

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent qualification (2:1 in the case of UK Research Council supported students).
  • In some cases a Masters qualification or equivalent is required

Candidates whose first language is not English must show evidence of appropriate competence in English. You can find the specific requirements on our international students pages.

Please check the relevant entry in the Research opportunities A-Z to find out any specific entry requirements and application documents.


Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document
  3. Two references on headed paper (academic and/or professional).
  4. Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area.

Submitting References

To complete your application we will need two references (one must be academic the other can be academic or professional).

There are two options for you to submit references as part of your application.  You can upload a document as part of your application or you can enter in your referee’s contact details and we will contact them to request a reference.

Option 1 – Uploading as part of the application form

Your references should be on official headed paper. These should also be signed by the referee. You can then upload these via theOnline Application form with the rest your documents to complete the application process.

Please be aware that documents must not exceed 5MB in size and therefore you may have to upload your documents separately. The online system allow you to upload supporting documents only in PDF format. For a free PDF writer go to www.pdfforge.org.

Option 2 - Entering contact details as part of the application form

If you enter your referees contact details including email on the application form we will email them requesting they submit a reference once you have submitted the application form.  When the referee responds and sends a reference you will be sent an email to confirm the university has received this.

After submitting your application form

Use our Applicant Self Service uploading documents function to submit a new reference. We can also accept confidential references direct to rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk, from the referee’s university or business email account.  


Apply online

Once you have all your supporting documentation you can apply through our Online Application System


I've applied. What next?

If you have any other trouble accessing Applicant Self-Service, please see Application Troubleshooting/FAQs.

If you are requested to upload further documents

Log into the Applicant Self Service and scroll down to the Admissions Section. The screenshot below indicates the section on the page, and the specific area you should go to, highlighted in red:

Applicant self service

Documents must be uploaded in .jpg, .jpeg or .pdf format and must not exceed 5MB in size.  There is a maximum 10MB upload size for all documents with the application.

Decisions

Once a decision has been made regarding your application the Research Admissions Office will contact you by email.

If you are made an unconditional offer

You can accept your offer through the Applicant-Self-Service by clicking on the ‘Accept/Decline link’ for your chosen programme under the ‘Admissions Section’ at the bottom of the Applicant Self Service screen.  You can access the Applicant Self Service by using the link, username and password you used to apply and selecting the “Self Service” button below your application.

Please make sure you accept your unconditional offer within 4 weeks of receiving your offer. If you are an international student your CAS will not be issued until you have accepted an unconditional offer.

If you are made a conditional offer

If you accept a conditional offer then the offer status on Applicant-Self-Service will change to ‘incomplete’ to indicate that the application is incomplete until such time as all the conditions are met.

Your offer letter will list all the conditions that apply to your offer and you can upload the required document(s) through Applicant Self Service. If you have met the conditions satisfactorily, you will automatically be sent an unconditional offer.

If your application is unsuccessful

If your application is unsuccessful then we will send you an email to inform you of this which will outline the reason why we have been unable to offer you a place on this particular programme. Please note that your application status will be updated to 'Cancelled' on Applicant Self Service if the offer is rejected.

Deferring your offer

If you want to defer your start date, please contact us directly at rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk. We need authorisation from your supervisor before we confirm your request to defer. Once we have this we will contact you by email to confirm.

How to register

After you have accepted an unconditional offer you will receive an email nearer to the start of your studies to tell you how to register online using the University's MyCampus website, the University’s student information system. That email will provide you with your personal login details and the website address. Please ensure that your email address is kept up to date as all correspondence is sent via email. You can update your email address through the Applicant Self Service Portal under the Personal Information section.


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