[Italy] One-year Master?s Degree Program Biotechnology in Healhcare

[Italy] One-year Master’s Degree Program Biotechnology in Healhcare

For the calendar year 2011, the EuroMediterranean Institute for Science and Technology (Istituto EuroMediterraneo di Scienza e Tecnologia, hereinafter referred to as “IEMEST”) will be organizing a one-year Master’s degree program in “BIOTECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE”. The program, with the administrative headquarters located in Via Emerico Amari 123, Palermo, will be organized in association with the Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neurosciences of the University of Palermo, the Department of Biochemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Catania, the Regional Authority for the Education (“ERSU”) of Palermo and the “Accademia Nazionale della Politica”.
This statute regulates the institutional and management related aspects of the program. Enrolment and attendance to the program entail full acceptance of these regulations.
The initiative is motivated by the lack of advanced formative courses in this sector, with the growing demand of qualified personnel due to the increasing use of sophisticated equipment in studying chemical, biochemical, biological, morphologic and functional characteristics of normal and pathological cells. By instituting the Master’s program, IEMEST aims to contribute to meeting this social, scientific and educational demand.
The main goal of the course is to train highly specialized graduates in the application of biotechnology in healthcare, through learning the latest laboratory techniques for studying normal and pathological cells from a chemical, biological, genetical, biomolecular, biochemical, morphological and pathological points of view. In addition, the course is aimed to provide legal and bioethical tuition based on the current Italian and European legislation, as well as on the contents of any relevant bills under discussion in their respective Parliaments.
The Master’s program is reserved for candidates with a degree in chemistry, biology, medicine, biomedicine, biotechnology, pharmacy, pharmaceutical chemistry or other related disciplines, hoping to gain theoretical and practical knowledge applicable in public or private medical and research laboratories.
The program will have a prevalently practical approach; lectures will be followed by laboratory workshops in small groups, putting the acquired theoretical knowledge into practice. The students will learn the principal biotechnological techniques in the scientific sectors described below. Additionally, interim exams about the contents of the course are carried out, and students will be required to pass a final exam in order to graduate.
The Master’s program offers the chance to gain experience in the application of the different methodologies on the curriculum, and to acquire the cultural background that motivates the choice of one or more techniques, based on individual requirements as well as diagnostic or scientific issues.
The graduates’ future career opportunities include private and public research or healthcare structures, including pharmaceutical companies, in the euromediterranean area. In particular, the goal of the program is to enable graduates to become competitive elements in the employment market in hospitals, University research laboratories, private research entitities, CNR (National Research Council), pharmaceutical industry, as well as biotechnology companies.
Administrative office, language, duration
The course is organized by IEMEST, whose administrative headquarters are located in Via Emerico Amari 123, Palermo. The academic program will be carried out by experienced lecturers, with specific expertise in areas of interest to the program, employed in both public and/or private structures, some of them associated with IEMEST. The course will begin in February 2011. The official language of the course will be Italian for Italian students, and English for students of other nationalities.
Curriculum, incentives, final exam
The Master’s program has a duration of one calendar year, for a total of 60 course credits (CC), of which 12 are assigned for lectures (72 hours), 36 for practical and laboratory exercise (540 hours) and 12 for individual work for the preparation and discussion of the final thesis (120 hours).
Specifically, the Course Program and credit distribution will be structured as follows:
1. General and organic chemistry module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning the basics of preparing a solution. Learning the basic techniques for chemical analysis of protein and nucleic acid components.
2. Informatics, statistics and computational chemistry module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Understanding the concept of statistical analysis of biological data; learning the basics of Informatics in relation to the operation and use of some bioinformatics software.
3. Optical and fluorescence microscopy module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning the basic techniques for observing cells and tissues with the microscope. Learning cell and tissue processing techniques for fluorescence microscopy.
4. Two- and three-dimensional cell cultures and electrophysiology module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning cell isolation and culture maintenance techniques. Learning 3D cell culture techniques through the use of scaffolds. Learning in vitro electrophysiology techniques (patch-clamp).
5. Molecular Biology module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning techniques for DNA and RNA extraction from cells and tissues. Learning vector and plasmid construction techniques. Learning to perform RT-PCR and qRT-PCR.
6. Biochemistry module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning techniques for protein extraction from cells and tissues. Learning northern and western blot techniques. Learning to conduct ELISA assays.
7. Proteomics, flow cytometry and microarray module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning to apply proteomic, flow cytometry and microarray investigations in diagnostics and research.
8. Electron microscopy module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning cell processing techniques for observation with scanning and transmission electron microscope. Learning immunogold electron microscopy techniques.
9. Preventive agricultural biotechnology module (5 CC, of which 4 for practical exercise)
Main aims: Learning techniques for rapid diagnosis of viroids, viruses, bacteria and fungi (yeasts and molds) pathogens to ensure adequate plant health and food hygiene.
10. Legal and bioethical aspects in the field of biotechnology (3 CC)
Main aims: Studying the legal regulations in bioethics in force in Italy and the European Union, as well as any relevant bills under discussion in their respective Parliaments.
11. Preparation and discussion of a final thesis (12 CC)
Main aims: Learning to draw up a scientific paper, using international bibliographic and bibliometric databases, software for managing bibliographic entries, as well as learning to review a paper and respond to reviewers’ comments.
For each module, a final assessment will be carried out by a special Commission appointed by the Organizing Committee, with the modality chosen by each Commission (multiple choice test, interview or essay). The assessments will be carried out in Italian or English, at the discretion of the student.
The final exam, required for graduation, will consist in the preparation and subsequent discussion of a written thesis, in Italian or in English, on a topic related to one or more modules of the course. The topic will be chosen in collaboration with one of the lecturers, who will be appointed as the thesis supervisor. The discussion of the thesis will be carried out in a special session, in the presence of a Commission formed by members of the Organizing Committee, the thesis supervisor, other lecturers of the course and chaired by the Course Coordinator.
The final exam can take place only after the student has passed the final assessments of all the course modules, and will conclude with an assessment of merit (fair/good/very good/excellent) that will be recorded on the “IEMEST 2ND LEVEL MASTER’S DEGREE IN BIOTECHNOLOGY IN HEALTHCARE” final certificate, signed by the President and Director General of IEMEST and the Coordinator of the course.
The lectures and the final exam will be held at the administrative headquarters of IEMEST in Via Emerico Amari 123, Palermo, unless otherwise agreed with the students of the course for practical reasons. The laboratory activities will take place in Palermo within facilities associated with IEMEST. Students will be offered the possibility to apply for accommodation with reduced rates for the duration of the course at the facilities of “ERSU” Palermo. Canteen membership is also available. Students will also be offered the opportunity to take part in an internship program at the University of Catania (Department of Biochemistry, Medical Chemistry and Molecular Biology), the University of Malta (Department of Physiology and Biochemistry), the University of Southampton, UK (School of Medicine) and/or the University of Cardiff, UK (School of Medicine), with funding possibilities to limit the cost of the mission.
The students can also attend, for free, the cultural activities of the Palermo seat of the Accademia Nazionale della Politica (Courses, Art Exhibitions, Health Promotion and Education Seminars, other Conferences and Meetings, as well as further activities as described when enrolling). The schedule of the activities and events is available on the website
Enrolment, insurance and attendance
The maximum number of students permitted to be enrolled in the Master’s degree program is 30. The course will not be activated unless a minimum of 10 students have enrolled. Exceptionally, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee may authorize the attendance of a larger number of students, subject to availability of lecturers, structures and equipment needed to ensure full attendance and optimal implementation of the theoretical and practical activities of the course for all students.
The qualifications required for admission to the course are one of the following: MD degree, Master’s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, Master’s degree in Biomedicine, Master’s degree in Molecular Biology, Master’s degree in Biotechnology, Master’s degree in Pharmacy, or other equivalent degrees. Candidates with qualifications in different fields may be admitted subject to approval by the Organizing Committee.
The announcement for selection for the course will be published on the website of the IEMEST. The announcement will contain, in addition to key information on the Master’s degree program, information on requirements, enrolment procedure, admission and participation fees, as well as information regarding the required documentation and due dates. Number of available places, evaluation methods for previous qualifications, obligations of students and a detailed description of the obtainable degree will also be included.
The enrolment period will take place from the 1st of November to the 31st of December 2010. The selection procedure will take place from the 10th to the 21st of January 2010. The selected candidates shall register by the 31st of January 2011.
The students must take out a special insurance policy to cover their participation to the theoretical and practical activities. The policy must be examined and approved pre-emptively by the organizational office. On request, IEMEST can provide assistance in locating an insurance company with a suitable policy for the course activities. However, the cost of such policy is excluded from the admission and participation fees of the course.
Candidates will be selected for the available places in the Master’s degree program following an evaluation, by the Examining Committee, of the résumé and qualifications of each candidate, in addition to a personal interview. The Examining Commission consists of the Course Coordinator and two lecturers appointed by the Organizing Committee. The Commission will assess candidates’ previous qualifications, accrediting a maximum of 50 points to each candidate, divided as follows:
1) up to 15 points for the final grade of the Master’s degree;
2) up to 5 points for any further degree acquired after the above Master’s degree;
3) up to 3 points for a Postgraduate degree, University Master’s degree or specialization course with a duration of at least one year;
4) up to 9 points for a Ph. D. (Dottorato di Ricerca) degree; if the candidate is currently taking part in a Ph. D. program, but has yet to receive the degree, for each completed year of the program, 3 points will be accredited;
5) up to 3 points for postdoctoral scholarship or research grant holders who have conducted research activity pertinent to the Master’s degree program for at least one year;
6) up to 5 points for scientific publications, participations to conferences and/or seminars on topics related to the course;
7) up to 5 points for the résumé;
8) up to 5 points for other qualifications not mentioned above, that Commission considers relevant.
The maximum score for the interview is 30 points. The interview, which subject to agreement with the candidate can also be carried out in videoconference, is aimed at determining the candidate’s aptitude for laboratory activities, as well as his/her motivations for enrolling the course. The interview will be deemed as passed if the candidate achieves a score of at least 18/30.
The Commission will draw up a classification of the candidates based on their scores, and available places will be assigned in order of merit.
Attendance at lectures and laboratory activities is compulsory. The Organizing Committee reserves the right to forfeit any rights of students with an absence rate exceeding 25% of the theoretical and practical activities of the, in which case no refund of the admission and attendance fees will be made.
Article 5
Organizing Committee; Faculty
The management team of the Master’s degree program consists of the Coordinator, the Organizing Committee and the Faculty. The Coordinator of the program is Professor Giovanni Li Volti; the Organizing Committee is composed of the Coordinator, who also acts as the chairman of the Committee, Professor Bartolomeo Sammartino (President of IEMEST) and Professor Francesco Cappello (General Director of IEMEST).
The overall organization of the course is under the responsibility of the Organizing Committee, which may deliberate in the presence of the Chairman and at least one other member.
The Faculty is composed of:
1. Prof. Rita Anzalone, University of Palermo.
2. Prof. Giampaolo Barone, University of Palermo.
3. Prof. Fabio Bucchieri, University of Palermo.
4. Prof. Francesco Cappello, University of Palermo.
5. Prof. Vincenzo Crunelli, University of Cardiff (U.K.)
6. Prof. Sabrina David, University of Palermo.
7. Prof. Donna E. Davies, University of Southampton (U.K.)
8. Prof. Salvatore W. Davino, University of Palermo.
9. Prof. Febo U. della Torre di Valsassina, “Accademia Nazionale della Politica”, Palermo.
10. Prof. Valentina Di Felice, University of Palermo.
11. Prof. Giuseppe Di Giovanni, University of Malta.
12. Prof. Fabio Galvano, University of Catania.
13. Prof. Giampiero La Rocca, University of Palermo.
14. Prof. Giovanni Li Volti, University of Catania.
15. Prof. Giosuè Lo Bosco, University of Palermo.
16. Prof. Alberto J.L. Macario, University of Maryland, Baltimore (USA)
17. Prof. Everly Conway de Macario, University of Maryland, Baltimore (USA)
18. Prof. Andrea Pace, University of Palermo.
19. Prof. Bartolomeo Sammartino, “Accademia Nazionale della Politica”, Palermo.
20. Prof. Giovanni Scapagnini, University of Molise.
21. Prof. Concetta Scazzone, Università degli Studi di Palermo.
22. Prof. Luca Settanni, University of Palermo.
Application Deadline : 31 December 2010
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