MSc by Research in Biomedical Sciences (Life Sciences)

Cancer cell biology

Study the proteins and genetic pathways that are deformed in cancer cells, how these contribute to cancer progression and how these can be targeted by novel therapeutic agents.


Cancer arises when a regular cell becomes a “rebel”, hijacking all the processes required for normal cell function and controlled cell growth to eventually invade surrounding tissue and spread throughout the organism.

Research projects in this subject area cover a broad range of basic and translational cancer studies. Students will select a 20 week practical laboratory placement in a related research specialism (including Cancer Cell Biology, Cancer Stem Cells, Bioinformatic Analysis of Cancer and Cancer Diagnostics) and complete a 10,000 word research project report. This will be underpinned by a specialised taught element providing core skills and training required for biomedical sciences research.

Topics covered within this theme include:

  • Cancer Cell Biology
  • Cancer Stem Cells
  • Bioinformatic Analysis of Cancer
  • Cancer Diagnostics

The integrated approach to this theme will consider all aspects of cancer biology including genetic susceptibility, treatment and prevention, molecular drivers of cancer initiation, growth and metastasis and new approaches to cancer drug discovery.

Our aim is to give a sound introduction to the most up to date information on this subject area and to cutting edge approaches for investigating molecular changes in cancer cells such as super resolution imaging, proteomics and metabolomics.

The laboratory placement will provide a sound introduction to the most up to date information on these subject areas and to current and advanced approaches for investigating molecular pathways in cancer, such as super resolution imaging, proteomics and metabolomics.

Skills covered

  • You will be stimulated to learn how to critically evaluate high impact research papers at the cutting edge of investigation into cancer biology and treatment.
  • Students will develop their ability to communicate science effectively.
  • By performing a detailed research project with eminent scientists working in the cancer field, you will learn how to plan, carry out, analyse and present experiments using a range of techniques at the forefront of Biomedical Research.
  • We aim to give you an appreciation that an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of normal cell function is essential for understanding how these processes are dysregulated in cancer.
  • The communicative and scientific skills that you will develop in this Theme will be invaluable and fundamental for your career development, and transferable to any branch of Biomedical Sciences.

Further information

The majority of research projects offered will be hosted by the School of Molecular, Genetic and Population health Sciences within the research laboratories of the Institute of Genetics and Cancer.

Projects may also be available within other Centres and Research groups within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Contact the organiser for further details about the Course and possible research projects ( and ).