BRC Molecular Pathology Starter Programme

The BRC Molecular Pathology Starter Programme offers training to histopathology specialty registrars in the fundamental aspects of Molecular Pathology.

Histopathology forms a major cornerstone for clinical and laboratory based research, and has a major interface with molecular pathology which is playing an ever increasing role in guiding personalised therapy in cancer patients. Histopathologists increasingly need to have a comprehensive understanding of molecular pathology, to be able to fully integrate their practise with molecular medicine both for diagnostics and research.

This programme offers histopathology specialty registrars an opportunity to gain hands on experience and obtain a practical understanding of the main molecular techniques by undertaking a structured research project. All participants will complete a molecular pathology-based research project, gaining foundation skills in academic writing and research methodology. 

Each research project covers different areas of interest, however, all participants gain an understanding and practical knowledge of:

  • various laboratory, molecular and molecular cytogenetic techniques such as DNA, RNA and protein extraction, cell culture methods, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, fluorescence in situ hybridisation and other in situ hybridisation methods, and next generation sequencing strategies
  • the principles of molecular diagnostic techniques and their application to diagnostic pathology, the basis of molecular pathology in personalised medicine and approaches to translational medicine

Who can apply?

We are looking for candidates with an interest in molecular pathology and an open and enquiring mind, previous laboratory experience is not essential. We can provide sound scientific training in molecular pathology while undertaking an interesting project in a world-leading cancer treatment and research centre. 

Successful candidates will take a six-month out of programme experience (OOPE) from the Histopathology Training Program to perform a structured, supervised research project under the supervision of an ICR/Royal Marsden Team Leader.  

Applicants should be histopathology specialty registrars with GMC registration, MBBS (or equivalent), an NTN training number and ideally be ST2 - ST4 level, with FRCPath Part 1.

How to apply

The programme runs annually.  Applications open in November/December each year, interviews are held in the New Year and research projects start in August. Potential candidates are strongly advised to discuss their application with their training programme director.

Submit your application via the link on The Royal Marsden's Jobs website.

Application deadlines

  • Opening date: December 2017
  • Application deadline: 28 January 2018
  • Interviews: w/c 12 February 2018
  • Programme starts: 1 August 2018

Case study

Research Fellowship Registrar, Matthew Clarke, joined the programme in February 2016.

"The BRC Molecular Pathology Starter Programme provides a fantastic opportunity to learn and understand the basics of molecular pathology over a six-month period. Having started the programme with very little research experience and knowledge of molecular pathology, I have been taught the theory and practical techniques of PCR, DNA extraction, FISH, sequencing, and immunohistochemistry. I have also been able to culture cancer cells in preparation for drug experiments.

I have received training in bioinformatics, an essential requisite for the construction of graphics for paper submission. There are also plenty of opportunities to develop further research opportunities after the programme finishes, depending on how you would like your career to progress.

Having completed less than two months of the programme, I feel more confident in my ability to interpret a molecular pathology based report, which is something that is going to be an essential skill to have for all subspecialties of histopathology. The team at The Royal Marsden and the ICR have been extremely friendly, welcoming and supportive. They have also been very receptive to the huge number of questions I have been asking. However, as a histopathology trainee, there are also opportunities for you to bring something to the team. The skills you have acquired for the interpretation of histology images are very valuable and can support the molecular research.”

Further information 

For further information please contact Professor Nicholas Turner, BRC Theme Lead ([email protected]) or Dr Khin Thway, Histopathology Educational Lead (0207 808 2631).