Master’s in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine

Molecular biology has revealed the mechanisms that regulate the functioning of cells in living organisms and in particular in humans. Moreover, it has changed the way research is done in various fields, especially in biomedicine, and thish has brought great benefits to society.

The departments of Biology and Medical Science at the University of Girona, with the collaboration of IdIBGi (Girona Biomedical Research Institute), offer the Master’s in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine as they are persuaded that the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and veterinary science fields need professionals who go beyond the knowledge acquired in their degree. This programme is aimed at training students from an interdisciplinary perspective, while adding a broader look at the traditional specializations in fields such as molecular biology and biomedicine. The combination of expertise makes the students achieve not only theoretical knowledge but also skills in both laboratory practice applied to the industry or hospitals, and in the basic research done in the biotechnology and biomedical fields.

Combined efforts
The knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate the functioning of cells in living organisms and in particular in humans has opened a vast area ranging from the possibility of addressing diseases for which a cure has not yet been found, to the improvement of the quality of the processes that are relevant for the industry and which are related with the functioning of biomolecules, cells or their interrelationships. Opportunities for experts in molecular biology are immense and the branches of this new tree of knowledge are becoming more and more dense.

Maria Vilanova, coordinator of the master’s, thinks that the combination of expertise offered by the participation of biologists and physicians in the course, “provides students with a practical background  not provided in other master’s programmes, because in the latter  they are no asked to go into the laboratory and play”. Vilanova refers to the fact that more than half of the course credits can be done on a rotating basis in laboratories of research or belonging to businesses of this industry.

Students can enter research groups in the different centers participating in the master’s,  which work in resarch lines such as the typing of microorganisms; the study of metabolic, cancer, neurological and cardiovascular diseases; protein engineering; GM obtention; sperm quality analysis; cellular differentiation; trial of new anticancer agents, or population genetics. The main goal is to acquire skills in various techniques and the ability to tackle the learning process of others they may  find in their careers. These techniques can be applied to the academic area but also to any business or facility  related to the biotechnology sector.

How it is organised
The sixty credits of the course are divided into a theoretical module covering both compulsory and optional subjects and a practical one which also includes the master’s final project. Both modules take from the expertise of researchers from different research groups in the departments of Biology, Medical Sciences and the IdIBGi, which, each year, are joined  by several international experts who are invited to participate in it thanks to the funding provided by the MEC.

The coordination unit of the master’s has signed agreements with laboratories and firms of the industry so that students can perform their practical work in their facilities. Students will have to choose the place where they do them based on their interests. When more than one student wish to carry out their practicals in the same laboratory,  they will be assigned the laboratory based on academic background, their interests and the previous experience they may have. In each laboratory students will get advice from a supervisor who will monitor their practicals, either in a research laboratory or a company. As for practicals in companies, students could have the possibility of becoming their employees, since as Vilanova explained, “it seems that companies are beginning to revive their departments of R & D and create jobs, precisely, for experts with the profile of our students.”

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