The MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine is a new blended-learning programme that details how diagnostics and therapeutics are revolutionising healthcare and medicine by providing the right person with the right therapy at the right time.
Recent advances in the understanding of normal and diseased states has led to revolutionary new treatments for conditions such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and inherited diseases. Furthermore, advances in science and technology have resulted in the development of new biomedical assays to (a) diagnose diseases and conditions more accurately (b) classify disease more precisely (c) approach treatment more individually and (d) identify who is at risk of developing a disease or condition.
Such advances in diagnostics and therapeutics have ushered in an exciting new era known as Precision Medicine, which refers to prevention and treatment strategies that takes patient variability into account (people's genes, environment and lifestyles) by providing the right patient with the right medicine at the right time. As an example, the treatment of several cancers have shifted away from the "One-Size-Fits-All" approach of treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) to a more focused and tailored strategy where targeted therapies are matched according to the molecular profile of a patient's tumour. In this situation, variations in the sequence, structure or expression of that person's DNA, RNA or protein (i.e. biomarkers) are analysed using clinically-validated diagnostic assays (commonly referred to as Companion Diagnostics) and used to stratify patients so that those who are likely to benefit from these therapies are identified and treated, while who are unlikely to benefit (and may experience unnecessary side effects) can receive alternative treatments. Similarly, molecular diagnostic assays are increasing used to predict the outcome of a patient's disease (prognosis), and therefore medical treatments can be tailored accordingly.
The MSc in Diagnostics and Precision Medicine provides structured module-based training at postgraduate level on the latest advances in diagnostics and therapeutics and their relevance for Precision Medicine.
The programme is aimed at:
•Life scientists (including newly qualified graduates)
•Professionals from the diagnostics, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries
•Medical Practitioners (including General Practitioners and clinicians-in-training)
Who wish to:
•Develop and broaden their knowledge of how new therapies including targeted therapeutics, cell-based therapies and gene modulation technologies are revolutionising the treatment of diseases such as cancer, inflammatory diseases and inherited diseases
•Understand how the integration of diagnostics and therapeutics are changing the landscape of healthcare and medicine through Precision Medicine
•Pursue a career in the biomedical diagnostics, biomedical science and biopharmaceutical industries
•Develop/consolidate their research skills with a view to undertaking further research (e.g. PhD or MD)
•Develop their critical analysis skills and enhance their professional development
The programme has been designed with flexibility in mind by enabling students to:
•Access course material at a time and a place that is convenient to them;
•Register Full-time or Part-time (Part-time students must complete all modules within a maximum period of four years);
•Tailor their education and training by offering exit routes at MSc (90 ECTS credits), Diploma (60 ECTS credits) and Certificate (30 ECTS credits).
The programme is delivered through blended learning which is comprised of:
•Online (recorded) lectures;
•Face-to- face tutorials at DCU (tutorials will also be recorded for those who would like to attend remotely);
•A 12-week research project (May – July).
In addition, several modules on the programme will be delivered by our partners at Arizona State University as part of the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics. Assessment is through continuous assessment and primarily consists of submission of online assignments throughout the year. Formal written examinations are not used for assessment of student learning.