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MOAC and Biology

[PHOTO] Biology is the focus of MOAC and students are thoroughly exposed to molecular aspects of the biological sciences throughout their time with MOAC. Module 1 (Cellular Systems and Biomolecules) explores the underlying principles and properties of life. Teaching places an emphasis on understanding principles, providing students with the skills necessary to step into any research area within the biological sciences. The Statistics and Bioinformatics Module introduces bioinformatics and is taught by staff from Warwick HRI. The biological relevance of taught material is highlighted throughout subsequent modules, culminating with the Networks and Pathways module, which is taught jointly by staff from the Mathematics Institute and the Department of Biological Sciences.

If you are considering MOAC but are worried by your lack of biological knowledge, then don’t be. MOAC expects no prior biological knowledge from its students. The basics of biology are presented throughout the first year taught modules, with an emphasis on understanding, rather than factual knowledge. Most teaching methods employed are highly interactive, allowing us to gauge what support each student requires, and enabling us to provide it. Proof of the success of such an approach is provided by the research undertaken by the first cohort of MOAC PhD students, none of whom had a biological background prior to taking the MOAC MSc (2003 student intake).

[PHOTO] If you do have a degree in one of the biological sciences, you may be wondering what you would get from MOAC. Students with biological backgrounds enrolling on the MOAC MSc course will find the opportunity to enhance their existing skills, but also to extend them by applying them in an inter-disciplinary environment. The MOAC MSc will provide you with all the skills required to interface biological research with that undertaken in other disciplines, and which will be highly beneficial for your subsequent career. Thus, you will be trained in the latest physical and chemical techniques, statistical methods with bioinformatics, and methods of computational and mathematical analysis. The skill sets that MOAC provide are highly desirable and under-represented in the current biological research environment.

All of the MOAC teaching staff from Biological Sciences and Warwick HRI, have established inter-disciplinary research programmes, and are ideally placed to guide students wishing to enter an inter-disciplinary research arena. One of the major strengths of MOAC is the diversity of backgrounds that the MOAC biologists possess.

MOAC director Colin Robinson is a molecular cell biologist, researching protein translocation and is responsible for the MOAC seminar programme. Module 1 has been taught by both Dave Whitworth (a microbiologist researching signalling networks) and Corinne Smith (a structural biologist studying clathrin). Dave Whitworth also teaches Module 8 (Networks and Pathways), while Corinne Smith contributes to Module 3 (Data acquisition II) alongside Svetla McPhie (electron microscopist). Helen Bird (manager of the molecular biology service in Biological Sciences) teaches the theory, practice and analysis of microarrays, within Module 5. Andrew Mead and James Lynn are from Warwick HRI and have provided instruction in statistics and bioinformatics in Module 5.

Many other staff from Biological Sciences and Warwick HRI, with a range of research interests have assisted with all aspects of the MOAC programme. Staff have assisted with teaching of MSc modules, provided mini-projects for MOAC MSc students, supervise MOAC PhD students and have also educated the MOAC community through the weekly series of seminars.

To ask about Biology in MOAC please contact Dave Whitworth