Research course

Molecular Mechanistic Toxicology

University of Birmingham · School of Biosciences

Entry requirements

A 2:1 class Honours BSc. Degree in a biochemical or pharmacological subject with substantial molecular or cell biology components.

Months of entry


Course content

One of the most rapidly developing areas of toxicology is the use of molecular and cell biology to develop an understanding of chemical toxicity at the cellular and molecular level. This is not only of fundamental interest (i.e., understanding the mechanism of action) but it also relates to an increased need for a mechanistic component in chemical risk assessment and development of high throughput screens for chemical toxicity.
The MRes in Molecular Mechanistic Toxicology is a one-year full-time programme that provides students with a research-orientated training in a lively, highly interactive teaching and research environment.
Programme content
The programme is coordinated by the School of Biosciences, which is recognised internationally as a major centre for both teaching and research in Toxicology. Molecular Toxicology is a major component of the School of Biosciences research activities along with interactions with other departments including Chemistry and the Medical School.
Specific areas of active research include:
  • Mechanisms of cell toxicity
  • Cellular proliferation and differentiation
  • Environmental genomics and metabolomics
  • Molecular biomarkers of genotoxicity and stress responses
  • Non-genotoxic carcinogens and intercellular communication
  • Role of environmental and genetic factors in neurological disease
Learning and teaching
Two five-week taught modules are held in conjunction with the taught MSc in Toxicology programme. Training in generic and laboratory research skills is also an important element of the programme. An extended library project provides an opportunity for students to explore and critique a chosen area of toxicological research in detail. The programme also includes a six-month research project, which provides students with an opportunity for further research training and hands-on experience of molecular and cellular biology techniques. Research projects can take place either in academic or industrial institutions and collaborations are encouraged where possible.
You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, coursework, practical classes, student seminars and placement in a research laboratory. The taught component is assessed by a combination of examinations and coursework. The dissertation component is assessed by a thesis and oral presentation.
Skills gained
After completing the course you will have gained a detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of chemical toxicity (e.g. polymorphisms and metabolism, genotoxic and non-genotoxic carcinogens, mechanisms of apoptosis, cDNA microarray and other high throughput screening strategies). You will also be able to critically evaluate and interpret available scientific literature, and effectively present the results of your research to peers using both written reports and oral communications. The programme will help you to develop laboratory skills and enable you to effectively interact in a research laboratory setting.
Examples of next destinations for graduates of this course include further research training at PhD level and employment as research scientists in an industry/clinical setting.

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Department specialisms

Environmental Genomics; Molecular Biomarkers of Genotoxicity and Stress Responses; Non-genotoxic Carcinogens and Intercellular Communication; Environmental and Genetic Factors in Neurological Disease.

Fees and funding

UK students
£4,121 FT
International students
£17,910 FT

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Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate enquiry service
0121 414 5005