King's College London, University of London: Genetics and Molecular Medicine

InstitutionKing's College London, University of London
Department Biomedical Sciences
Telephone +44 (0) 207 848 7000
Study type Research


Course detail
The Division consists of four Departments, all of which focus on investigation of the molecular basis of human disease, and how such knowledge can be applied to improved diagnosis and therapy.As an indication of the quality of our research programme, of the four KCL researchers named in the 2014 global list of the most highly cited researchers, 3 are members of the Division. This prestigious list, published by Thompson Reuters, recognises ‘the best and brightest scientific minds of our time’, by determining which researchers have produced work that is most frequently acknowledged by their peers. Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Christopher Mathew, Professor of Molecular Genetics, and Tim Hubbard, Professor of Bioinformatics, are included in the list which identifies them as being among the world’s leading and most influential experts in their respective fields.

The Department of Medical & Molecular Genetics aims to identify genes, their functions, and variants, implicated in both Mendelian and complex common disorders, with a strong emphasis on translational medicine. Current studies use new-generation high-throughput DNA sequencing and genotyping technology to identify genetic variants associated with common inflammatory disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis and systemic lupus erythematosus, and to find causal mutations in a range of rare and severe genetic syndromes.

There is also a strong cancer genetics group studying the molecular origins of breast cancer, leukaemia and oesophageal cancer. Further substantial research programmes exist in neurogenetics, including basic and translational aspects of Huntington's disease, while other work explores epigenetic effects such as imprinting, the control of gene expression, and epistatic interactions between genes. Several research groups are involved in development of statistical approaches to whole genome association studies and the integration of emerging biological databases with genomic studies. The Department has close links with our NHS Department of Clinical Genetics and its associated diagnostic laboratories, which provide genetic services to a large patient base in the south-east of England.

The Department has state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment, including a core Genomics facility, which, in partnership with our Biomedical Research Centre, houses next-generation DNA sequencers and microarray facilities for high-throughput DNA sequencing, genotyping and analysis of gene expression. There is also a substantial computing infrastructure for bioinformatics, and an imaging laboratory for confocal and laser dissection microscopy.

Graduates work with a particular research group, under the guidance of a primary supervisor. They also have a second supervisor, who follows the work closely and is involved in upgrades, thesis writing, and scientific mentoring. They meet regularly with their supervisor(s), usually on a weekly basis, and his/her group, and will attend weekly laboratory meetings, where they will be expected to participate and present their work.

All students are required to produce six-monthly progress reports, which are submitted to the School's Postgraduate Research Committee. All graduate students are expected to attend the regular laboratory and Divisional meetings and the annual Graduate Research Showcase Event held by the School. These are intended to develop new collaborations, strengthen selected areas of research (particularly in areas given high priority by the government, research councils, the Wellcome Trust and NHS), implement further translational research between academic and clinical colleagues, and develop facilities for new technologies.

MPhil (Res)

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