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The MRes in Maternal and Fetal Health is a unique course designed to train those who wish to pursue a research career in pregnancy and related disciplines or to work in associated areas in health and other public services or in the charity sector.
Students will enjoy an exceptional teaching and learning experience, an opportunity to participate in high quality research at an early career stage and contribute to public-domain research output. They are encouraged to develop ambitious career aspirations in the clinical and laboratory sciences.
Course aims The MRes in Maternal and Fetal Health is a unique course designed to train those who wish to pursue a research career in pregnancy or related disciplines or to work in associated areas in health or other public services, or in the charity sector. Special features * Opportunity for research experience at the clinical-scientific interface
* Gain theoretical knowledge and an understanding of human pregnancy
* Hands-on experience of cutting-edge technologies applicable to pregnancy and research, and transferable to other areas of medical research
* Six-month research project providing students with an opportunity for in-depth analysis of a specific area of pregnancy research
* Seminar and tutorial series gives students a grounding in a wide range of pregnancy related issues
* Provides training and experience in scientific writing and developing a research proposal
Additional course information Maternal and fetal health research addresses the causes, diagnosis and treatments of disease in pregnancy. The Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre aims to find solutions through a holistic approach to understanding, managing and treating diseases affecting mothers and babies, and through training the next generation of researchers in an interdisciplinary research environment.
Diseases of pregnancy are major causes of mortality and morbidity in mothers and infants. Knowledge of causative mechanisms is poor, while treatments are conspicuously lacking. 60,000 women suffer pre-eclampsia (PE) world-wide per year, with many deaths. Following a pre-eclamptic pregnancy, a woman is at greater risk of cardiovascular disease. The lowest weight babies die; those that survive suffer neonatal illnesses, developmental delay and much higher risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic ailments later in life. Metabolic settings established in the womb are highly influential in determining lifetime health profile.
Obesity is increasing and is associated with poor pregnancy outcomes and programming effects later on. Teenage pregnancy is higher in the UK than any other European country and is associated with high rates of FGR. Stillbirth occurs in 1 in 200 pregnancies, amounting to 17 a day in the UK, mainly of unknown cause.
The WHO Commission on Socioeconomic Determinants of Health reports that children born in families of lower socioeconomic status suffer greatly increased health risks and have lower life expectancy. While prioritising women's health and childhood issues, the report does not overtly acknowledge in utero programming. This emphasises the need for raising this issue on the agenda of international public health politics. The contribution made by in utero programming is undeniable; while political debate focuses on the relative contributions of environment and lifestyle, the fetus is not in a position to make choices.
Graduate Training Programme (GTP)
A series of lectures and training workshops that provide an introduction to research and transferable skills such as experimental design and statistical assessment, IT skills, epidemiology, health and safety, scientific writing and communication and career development.
These workshops provide training and experience in a wide range of molecular, histological, physiological and cell biology techniques applicable to pregnancy research. The format will be small group learning, hands-on in the laboratory with an experienced tutor. Students prepare a laboratory write-up documenting the approach, methods, results, interpretation and area of application.
Tutorial course unit
Here students have an opportunity to learn about and discuss research in MFH and the clinical problems and basic science areas that are central to the discipline. Tutorials use a range of teaching styles, including taught elements, discussion groups and critiques of research papers. Assessment will be brief written summaries, essays or reports.
Monthly seminars will be given by visiting and internal speakers. Students will complete short precis of 3 selected seminars in the first semester.
Literature review and research proposal
In week 1-2, students select a topic from a list of available options and meet with their supervisor. They then spend 13 weeks researching this area in depth, write a review of the current state of knowledge and how this was arrived at, and prepare a research proposal.
Students undertake a 29-week laboratory-based research project, formulating and then addressing a problem that has emerged from their literature project. Results are presented orally as `work in progress¿ to an expert audience. A proposal for follow-up research is produced. This is the largest component of the course.