Bioinformatics with Systems Biology (MRes)

Year of entry


Start date

October 2018


Central London


Fully Approved


One year full-time or two years part-time


Two afternoons and two evenings a week full-time or two evenings a week part-time, October to September

This specialist postgraduate degree provides high-quality training in bioinformatics, including a major research component, and an introduction to the emerging field of systems biology.

The programme is ideal if you are from a scientific background and want to pursue research training in bioinformatics and systems biology, or if you are seeking a future career in both academia and industry. Bioinformatics and systems biology have grown dramatically in the last two decades and this programme has been designed to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical, chemical and biotechnology industries for research and development.

It covers the core concepts and statistical fundamentals underpinning bioinformatics, most notably in the area of sequence analysis. You will learn how to program in Python and design and query databases using SQL, and gain experience in more advanced programming practices such as software testing and application development. You will also explore core biological concepts such as genes and genomes, protein structure and function, and growth areas such as Next Generation Sequencing and systems modelling.

Our research areas include:

  • computational structural bioinformatics, with a focus on the characterisation of macromolecular assemblies relevant to disease
  • analysis of next-generation sequencing data, both genomic and transcriptomic
  • immunoinformatics, in particular virus-host interactions and immune responses to protein therapeutics
  • developing bioinformatics and chemoinformatics methods to analyse metabolic pathways
  • structure-thermodynamic relationships, molecular simulation and inhibitor design
  • developing new computational methods that exploit data produced using various experimental techniques (eg cryo-EM, mass spectrometry, NMR and tomography).
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  • Part of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, a joint initiative with University College London and a major biology research hub in the heart of London.
  • Access to online learning material, computer and visualisation laboratories and multimedia seminar rooms, equipped with graphics workstations.
  • In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), in a joint submission with UCL, Biological Sciences at Birkbeck were ranked 11th in the UK, with a research environment supporting world-leading and internationally excellent research.
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Course structure

Over half of the programme is devoted to a practical project which includes programming and method development as well as the use of existing techniques such as genome analysis, analysis of next-generation sequencing data, molecular simulations and molecular modelling.

Training is also provided in searching and evaluating data in literature and online databases, and the analytical and presentational skills required by the successful research scientist.

You take four course units selected from a list of eight options.

Read more about modules
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