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Plant Science and Biotechnology at Imperial College

Imperial College London offers a postgraduate course in Plant Science and Biotechnology. The degree programme is well-designed and tailored with the purpose of offering high standard education.

The course aims at offering quality education to students who wish to attend taught classes before joining a research laboratory for a full-scale twenty-four-week project. The degree course is based upon the South Kensington Campus where state of the art plant science laboratories and lately opened plant growth facilities are available for students.

The taught component of the course shall provide students background knowledge and practical skills required for successful work on the research project and also for career in academia or industry. Teaching shall be based on tutorials, lectures, bioinformatics sessions and practical laboratory. Major lecture modules shall include:

  • Molecular mechanisms of plant hormone responses and action to abiotic stress
  • Introduction to systems and molecular biology of plants
  • Medicinal plants, plant secondary metabolism and use of plant products in pharmacology and medicine
  • Shoot and root architecture, flowering, plant nutrition and systemic signaling
  • Solar energy conversion, bioenergy and biofuels crops
  • Biotic interactions: pests and pathogens

During the practical classes, students shall become accustomed to metabolomics, bioimaging platforms and main plant physiology and molecular biology techniques. Students are offered hands-on bioinformatics sessions that will help them to learn how to navigate through plant molecular-genetic databases and examine large data set comprising genome sequences and microarrays.

The taught sections of the course shall be followed by individual twenty-four-week research project on chosen topics. The project shall be evaluated by academic staff of the Department of Life Sciences and performed in their specialized laboratories. During work on the project, students will reinforce their knowledge in a selected area and hone their expertise in related methodology. Topics of the project shall cover all major elements of biotechnology/plant science such as hormonal regulation and development, mineral nutrition, responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, secondary metabolism, bioenergy and biofuel crops and photosynthesis.

During the training, students shall receive a springboard for careers in plant science within the pharma and agricultural industry, education and government research. The course shall be exceedingly helpful if students are planning further studies leading to a PhD in plant science or allied discipline. Students are expected to hold the first year degree, usually minimum an upper second from any UK university or an equivalent qualification if gained outside the UK. Students who have relevant experience shall also be taken into consideration during evaluation of the applications.

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