Biomedical and behavioural sciences

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Biochemistry Molecular Biology

Biochemistry

In Biochemistry, you will explore the chemical components, reactions, structures and processes that form the foundation for all living matter. This investigation is vital to our understanding of the molecular events that underlie biological processes.

Monash's Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is recognised as one of the world-leading departments in the field. Our researchers have made strong contributions in the fields of structural biology, molecular cell biology, infection and immunity, and cancer biology and metabolic disease. Given the unrivalled standing of Monash Biochemistry, students receive an exceptional education by world-class researchers and educators.

Biochemistry draws on biology, chemistry and physics, providing a key interface between these fields, opening up our understanding of the causes of disease and providing the basis of the development of effective treatments. It also interacts with cell biology, biotechnology, bioinformatics and mathematical modelling, and has many applications in leading-edge research and technology.

Your study will provide you with a broad understanding of biomolecules, machinery and information flow within living cells, and an appreciation of how these underpin all biological processes. In addition, you will learn about a range of specialist areas of biochemistry, and the role of biochemistry in health, and in diseases such as cancer. You will also develop the technical skills needed to work in biochemical laboratory settings.

Biochemists find employment in many areas including the following: national and international university or research-institute laboratories; hospitals and diagnostic laboratories; the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food manufacturing industries; media communications and publishing; government departments and agencies.

Dev Biology

Developmental biology

The fast-moving discipline of developmental biology is one of the most exciting and fulfilling fields in modern biomedical science.

Studying the process by which an adult organism develops from a single cell can lead to myriad crucial findings, such as discovering the causes for disease and birth defects.

Monash is a renowned leader in human anatomical sciences, and is internationally recognised for its outstanding research in developmental biology. For decades, the University has led the world in research on fetal development, reproductive biology and in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The study of Developmental biology covers complex topics such as classical embryology, body structure and design, gene expression and molecular mechanisms of development, causes of birth defects, stem-cell biology, tissue engineering, regenerative biology and medicine.

Cutting-edge laboratory work will provide optimum learning conditions under some of the world's leading researchers.

A major in Developmental biology will equip you with a broad understanding of the key cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying normal and abnormal human and animal development. You will also acquire the practical and laboratory techniques that are integral to the study of developmental biology, incorporating cellular, molecular and imaging techniques.

Developmental biology prepares graduates for a diverse range of careers. You might pursue a role as a biomedical research scientist, science educator, policy advisor, IVF scientist or forensic scientist, to name a few rewarding options.

human pathology

Human pathology

Human pathology is the fascinating study of disease processes, particularly cell death, inflammation, disorders of immunity and neoplasia. This discipline delves into the body's responses to the disruption of normal tissue structure and function by injurious agents.

Your studies will draw upon key disciplines such as biochemistry, microbiology, immunology and developmental biology. You will develop skills commonly used in the laboratory, such as microscopy, histological staining techniques, diagnosis and problem-solving.

You will be taught by academics and clinician-scientists working at the forefront of translational medicine at, for example, Monash's world-renowned Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) at the Alfred Monash Research and Education Precinct (AMREP).

You will be exposed to the study of disease from a clinical and research perspective. Research has always been the foundation of this discipline, since understanding disease provides answers on how to test for a disease in the clinic or laboratory, and on how a specific disease can be prevented and treated.

A comprehensive understanding of cell injury, inflammation, wound healing, fluid and vascular disorders, growth disorders, and immunopathology are fundamental to all clinical and research disciplines. This knowledge helps define how organ systems fail during disease and injury – critical for diagnosis, prognosis and therapeutic intervention.

As a graduate with a major in Human pathology, you will be equipped for employment in biomedical research in: diagnostic laboratories; hospitals or private pathologies; the biopharmaceutical industry; clinical trials; or commercial and patent law.

immunology

Immunology

Immunology is the study of the immune system and its defence mechanisms against harmful pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. This field is of immense value to human health, as it provides the basis of why vaccination against deadly diseases works, and also plays a vital role in treating disorders such as allergy, autoimmunity, cancer and transplant rejection.

The study of Immunology at Monash involves both theory and practical class experiences, and lessons are delivered by active researchers or teachers with a deep understanding of the immune system. Upon completion of your studies, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to make significant contributions to this important field.

This major provides a solid grounding in the key aspects of the immune system and its role in health and disease.

You will learn the principal features associated with the structure, development and function of the immune system through a combination of theory- and practice-based work. You will also develop your understanding of the physical, cellular and molecular processes associated with the development of pathologies, including inflammatory, immunological, haematological and neoplastic disorders. Throughout your studies, the role of science and the scientific process in identifying the key questions and challenges associated with immunology will be emphasised.

Immunology can be a standalone subject but also complements many other areas of the biomedical sciences. The knowledge or application of immunology is useful across many areas including the following: academic research; medicine; biotechnology; teaching; government or patent offices dealing with scientific matters. As a graduate you will also be able to educate others in the community about important social issues related to immunology such as vaccination.

Microbiology

Microbiology

Microbiology is the study of microorganisms, their diversity and structure, molecular biology, and how they interact with humans and other living organisms in both harmful and beneficial ways.

If you're passionate about making a positive impact on the world, Microbiology at Monash will provide you with the tools to make important scientific discoveries. From the creation of vaccines and the discovery of antibiotics, to the development of recombinant DNA technology, microbiologists have been responsible for crucial scientific breakthroughs.

Microbiology influences a wide range of areas, including human and animal health, the environment, food technology and safety, and the biotechnology industry. Today, like no other time in history, the importance of microorganisms can be seen from the impact of infectious diseases throughout the world, the emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, and the use of microorganisms to provide alternative sources of fuel.

In studying this major, you will learn about the range and diversity of microorganisms within the world, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that inhabit the natural environment, as well as those that colonise human and animal hosts. You will develop an understanding of core microbiological and molecular biological technical principles and methods, and utilise them in laboratory settings.

You will be well equipped for a rewarding career in the fields of biomedical sciences and biotechnology. Employment opportunities may also arise in the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture and food production, diagnostic and analytical laboratories, sales and marketing in the scientific supply industry, and education.

Pharmacology

Pharmacology

Pharmacology is the study of the effects of drugs on living organisms, where the term 'drug' can be defined as a chemical substance, natural or synthetic, which affects a biological system.

Knowledge of pharmacology and its associated concepts is fundamental to the safe and effective use of medicines by health professionals. It's also essential for the identification of new therapeutic targets and their pharmacological modulation, and can lead to increased understanding of human physiology.

An understanding of the way in which drugs produce their effects is becoming increasingly important as the use and abuse of drugs becomes more widespread in society.

Pharmacology at Monash provides students with an understanding of the major pharmacological concepts and how they can be applied to the development and use of drugs in the treatment of specific diseases.

A range of teaching modes is used to provide you with opportunities to learn how a wide variety of chemicals and drugs produce their effects on living organisms, and to apply this knowledge to critically evaluate information relating to drugs.

You will be taught by academics who are experts in their fields, and the units you study include the most recent advances in pharmacology, along with ideas about future developments in the discipline.

As a graduate with a major in Pharmacology, you will have a foundation for a career in drug discovery and development, either as part of a research program in a university, a research institute within the biotechnology or pharmaceutical industries, or in government regulatory bodies.

Physiology

Physiology

Physiology is the study of the way the body functions normally, and in dysfunction and disease. It provides the answers to questions such as how the body works, what happens when we are born and develop, how our body systems adapt when challenged by stresses such as exercise or environmental extremes, and how body functions change in disease states.

The Department of Physiology at Monash is recognised both nationally and internationally as a leader in the field. Undertaking studies in this discipline presents an exceptional opportunity to learn from some of the finest researchers in the world.

From nerves to muscles, from the brain to hormones, physiologists are concerned with functions at all levels. This spans from the molecular and cellular, to the organ and body systems levels, to ultimately provide understanding of the integrated function of the whole body.

Through your studies you will be exposed to research underway at Monash focused on areas that address modern-day issues of health and disease, including:

  • obesity and diabetes
  • cardiovascular and kidney physiology
  • cognitive neurosciences
  • integrative neurosciences, including the peripheral nervous system
  • neuroendocrinology, in relation to reproduction, stress and homeostasis.

The emphasis in the major is on human body function – both normal function, as well as common examples of adaptation to unusual environments (such as high altitude) and of dysfunction (such as heart disease, infertility and ageing). The aim is to provide you with greater insight into body function and an understanding of the basis of many common dysfunctions.

As a graduate with a major in Physiology you will be prepared for a wide range of careers in the biomedical sphere. This may involve research or further studies in medical or allied health areas (such as audiology or health informatics). You may also use the general skills and knowledge you have acquired to pursue a career in a wide variety of workplaces, including education and the public service.

psych

Psychology

If you'd like to understand how the mind works and what's behind our behaviours, Psychology at Monash is the ideal starting point, providing up-to-date thinking on the human brain, thought and behaviour.

At Monash you'll benefit from one of the best scientist-practitioner models of psychological education that Australia has to offer, emerging with deep insight into the human mind, and a suite of highly valued professional skills.

You will be in a position to make informed choices about whether you want to pursue training as a psychologist or apply your current psychological expertise in other psychology-related professions.

There are two majors open to you: the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) accredited 10-unit extended major, which provides the essential foundation for practicing psychologists in this country; or the standard major for those wishing to develop psychological expertise, but not necessarily practise as a registered psychologist. There is also a minor for those wishing to broaden their personal understanding of mind and behaviour.

The extended major will train you in all essential areas of modern psychology, including units on abnormal psychology, cognition and perception, social psychology and personality, and the design and analysis of research. You will also develop an understanding of the ethical standards and legislative frameworks governing research and practice in psychology, and an appreciation of the role of ethics in maintaining the integrity of the profession.

The standard major covers fewer of the mandatory areas of psychology, and offers greater flexibility to choose electives such as Addiction Studies and Forensic Psychology, which complement other fields such as Criminology, Behavioural Studies, Physiology, Developmental Biology, Behavioural Commerce and Human Resource Management.

Rewarding careers in psychology, public-health policy, drug and alcohol counselling, education and other vital areas are all open to you.