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Stem Cell Neurobiology (MRes)

Working with global leaders in research into stem cell neurobiology, this MRes gives you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the ways in which stem cells are utilised in contemporary neuroscience. The programme will provide a solid foundation for further study or a research career in a field where ground breaking discoveries can translate into major improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of conditions.

Stem cells are utilised in various ways in modern biosciences. Especially in Neuroscience, use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients and genome engineered pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) has recently provided us with a new complimentary human brain disease model system. In addition, this provides researchers with the ability to follow human neural development in a dish, and possibilities of generating cell sources for regenerative therapies. The Master of Research (MRes) in Stem Cell Neurobiology is designed to provide you with greater knowledge, understanding, experience, and skills in this fast developing and innovative field.

Cardiff University has internationally recognised stem cell scientists and neuroscientists who will deliver lectures to this programme and will also offer research project opportunities. In addition, the programme includes advanced practical training in the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI). Moreover, you will develop key skills such as scientific writing, research presentation, statistics and bioinformatics that are essential skills required by modern scientists.

The MRes in Stem Cell Neurobiology is suitable for those:

  • Wishing to gain Stem Cell Neurobiology relevant research skills before embarking on a PhD.
  • Those who require Stem Cell and/or Neuroscience related research qualifications but not necessarily a PhD to become a more competent and employable researcher.
  • Those that want to experience research before deciding on whether or not to undertake a PhD.

Programme aims

This programme aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of techniques used in Stem Cell Neurobiology.

You will be encouraged to further your understanding of experimental design, the importance of quality data and of appropriate statistical analysis.

You will develop a range of key scientific skills, including data collection and analysis, practical laboratory skills and techniques, scientific writing, and critical evaluation.

Distinctive features

  • Practical training in the culture of human pluripotent stem cells in modern research facilities within the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI).
  • An opportunity to carry out a seven month research project in the laboratory of a specialist researcher in Stem Cell Neurobiology based in the School of Biosciences, School of Medicine, or the affiliated NMHRI.
  • Lectures delivered by internationally recognised Cardiff University academic staff.
  • An opportunity to attend a research seminar series given by internationally recognised researchers in the field of Stem Cell Neurobiology from Cardiff University, the UK and international laboratories.

Key facts

Mode of study Full-time
Qualification MRes
Full-time duration 1 year
Start dates September

The MRes in Stem Cell Neurobiology is a research programme that consists of two stages:

Stage one

Stage one comprises three taught modules, running from September to January.

Stem Cell Techniques in Neuroscience

This module will showcase how human pluripotent stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, are used in modern Neuroscience. Research seminars will be given by Cardiff University academic staff who are internationally recognised and who are currently researching stem cells. Each topic will have a tutorial session to help you with unanswered questions and difficulties arising from the topic.

This module will also include practical sessions culturing human pluripotent stem cells. You will present a journal article as part of this module that will give you the most up-to-date information about the current Stem Cell Neurobiology research and also a chance to practice your presentation skills.

Data Handling, Statistics and Bioinformatics

This module is designed to equip you with the skills to understand and undertake high-level statistical and bioinformatics analysis, and to interpret and evaluate your analyses in a biological context. This module will be delivered by a set of interactive practical workshops consisting of teaching and practical exercises, computer base demonstrations, and class discussion.

Key Skills in Research Practice

This module sets out to provide knowledge, understanding and experience of a range of foundation skills necessary to be a professional scientist. The module considers various ways in which information collected and analysed can be reported and presented. In particular, the module provides training and experience of creating science presentations, writing a scientific paper and preparing a research proposal. The module will be delivered by lectures, workshops, tutorials, and supervised self-directed teaching. Some group work will be integrated into the teaching and learning approaches.

Stage two

Stage two comprises two modules (Research Dissertation and Oral Presentation) running from February to September. During Stage two, you will undertake an independent research project relevant to Stem Cell Neurobiology. You will be provided with a list of possible research supervisors and possible projects during Stage one. In addition you will have opportunities to listen to their research as part of the Stem Cell Techniques in Neuroscience module, and you are welcome to arrange meetings with relevant academics to choose your research project. This module will be supervised by a module lead and the allocated project supervisor.

Academic and practical support will be available from the members of the individual labs that you will be a part of for seven months. Your module lead will arrange discussion sessions to provide formative advice and ensure the assessments are being completed. Teaching will be via this support network and learning will be largely independent using the skills taught in Stage one.


Assessment in Stage one will be coursework based, through a mix of portfolio work, oral presentations and poster presentations. In Stage two the research project will be assessed as a 15,000-33,000 word dissertation, a poster presentation and an oral presentation.

Research in the School of Biosciences tackles key grand challenges faced by the world in health, food and sustainability, seeking to provide knowledge of the underlying mechanisms and developing the tools for finding innovative solutions. Neuroscience is one of the School’s key research themes, and the MRes will be delivered in collaboration with the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute. The Institute brings together expert neuroscientists and researchers to further the understanding and treatment of major psychiatric and neurological disorders, which represent some of the greatest challenges to society.

Research environment

The Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute is based in the University’s Hadyn Ellis Building, which houses state-of-the-art research facilities to accommodate ground-breaking world-class collaborative research for the neuroscience community.

Winners of the BREEAM Award for world leading design and sustainability, all our laboratories have been purpose built to ensure all current and future research needs can be met whilst remaining environmentally friendly.

Our facilities provide an important cross-translational unique research environment allowing research opportunities not just within the NMHRI but other related schools across the University.

Our current facilities include:

  • Core stem cell facility
  • Core systems neurobiology infrastructure
  • Core genetic and life course imaging infrastructure
  • Core molecular neurobiology infrastructure

Our state-of-the-art equipment includes:

  • Zeiss Axio Scan Z1 Slide Scanner
  • Fluidigm C1 single-cell prep system
  • Cell Insight CX7 High-Content Screening Platform
  • LEICA DM6000B fully automated Upright microscope system
  • LEICA DMI6000B fully automated Inverted microscope system
  • Macro and Micro imaging set
  • Amnis Flowsight
  • Neon Transfection system
  • Hypoxic Suite

Those that successfully gain their degree will have essential skills for entry onto a PhD. The knowledge and experience gained during this programme will be attractive to those supervisors looking for future PhD students with human stem cell culture experience - a rapidly expanding field in biomedical research. Other appointments include positions in laboratories whether academic or industrial. Again, experience gained working with human stem cell culture will be seen positively by potential employers.


Master's Excellence Scholarships

Scholarships available worth £3,000 each for UK/EU students starting a master’s degree in September 2018.

Find out more

You can search our studentships or find out more about funding.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Students from outside the EU

Get the latest information on postgraduate fees.

Applications must be made using the University’s Online Application Service.

Admission process

Applicants will be expected to attend a face-to-face interview or a Skype interview.

You should have an equivalent of an undergraduate degree at level 2:2 (or higher) in a relevant biological, biomedical or biomolecular science subject. Students with alternative qualifications will be looked at on a case by case basis.

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to obtain an overall IELTS score of 6.5 (with no less than a score of 6.0 in each of the four bands).

Please read our English language requirements for more details.


Administrative contact(s)

Eleanor Breeze

Eleanor Breeze

MRes Course Secretary

+44 (0)29 2087 5278


Apply now
Join us from 09:00 - 12:00 on Wednesday 29 January to find out more about postgraduate study in a relaxed, informal setting.

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