The increasing impact of genetics in healthcare and the development of newer sophisticated technologies requires close collaboration between scientists and clinicians to deliver a high quality service to patients. The Masters in Medical Genetics covers the delivery of a modern clinical genetics service, including risk analysis and application of modern genetic and genomic technologies in diagnostics and population screening.
• MSc (Med Sci): 12 months full-time; (24 months part-time by special arrangement)
• Contact: Miss Caitlin Welsh: [email protected]
• This is a fully up-to-date programme delivered by highly dedicated, multi-award-winning teaching and clinical staff of the University, with considerable input from hospital-based Regional Genetics Service clinicians and clinical scientists.
• The full spectrum of genetic services is represented, from patient and family counselling to diagnostic testing of individuals and screening of entire populations for genetic conditions: eg the NHS prenatal and newborn screening programmes.
• The MSc in Medical Genetics Teaching Staff were finalists in the 2013 UK-wide Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering), to recognise and reward excellence and good practice.
• The close collaboration between university and hospital staff ensures that the MSc Medical Genetics provides a completely up-to-date representation of the practice of medical genetics and you will have the opportunity to observe during clinics and visit the diagnostic laboratories at the new Southern General Hospital laboratory medicine building.
• The programme explores the effects of mutations and variants as well as the current techniques used in NHS genetics laboratory diagnostics and recent developments in diagnostics (including microarray analysis and the use of massively parallel [“next-generation”] sequencing).
• New developments in medical genetics are incorporated into the lectures and interactive teaching sessions very soon after they are presented at international meetings or published, and you will gain hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
• You will develop your skills in problem solving, experimental design, evaluation and interpretation of experimental data, literature searches, scientific writing, oral presentations, poster presentations and team working.
• This MSc programme will lay the academic foundations on which some students may build in pursuing research at PhD level in genetics or related areas of biomedical science.
• The widely used textbook “Essential Medical Genetics” is co-authored by a member of the core teaching team, Professor Edward Tobias.
• For doctors: The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians’ Training Board (JRCPTB) in the UK recognises the MSc in Medical Genetics (which was established in 1984) as counting for six months of the higher specialist training in Clinical Genetics.
Genetic Disease: from the Laboratory to the Clinic
This course is designed in collaboration with the West of Scotland Regional Genetics Service to give students a working knowledge of the principles and practice of Medical Genetics which will allow them to evaluate, choose and interpret appropriate genetic investigations for individuals and families with genetic disease. The link from genotype to phenotype, will be explored, with consideration of how this knowledge might contribute to new therapeutic approaches.
Case Investigations in Medical Genetics
Students will work in groups to investigate complex clinical case scenarios: decide appropriate testing, analyse results from genetic tests, reach diagnoses where appropriate and, with reference to the literature, generate a concise and critical group report.
Omic technologies for the biomedical sciences: from genomics to metabolomics
An introduction to workflows for the resolution and characterisation of complex mixtures of biomolecules, from DNA to small molecule metabolites. The course emphasizes the potential and challenges of omic approaches and will include data handling tasks and demonstration.
Disease Screening in Populations
This course will cover the rationale for, and requirements of, population screening programmes to detect individuals at high risk of particular conditions, who can then be offered diagnostic investigations. Students will work in groups to investigate and report on, a screening programme of their choice from any country.
SNP Assay Design and Validation
Students will work independently to develop and validate a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay for a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP).
Medical Genetics Dissertation
The course will provide students with the opportunity to carry out an independent investigative project in the field of Medical Genetics.
Teaching and learning methods
A variety of methods are used, including problem-based learning, case-based learning, lectures, tutorials and laboratories. These are supplemented by a wide range of course-specific electronic resources for additional learning and self-assessment. As a result, you will develop a wide range of skills relevant to careers in research, diagnostics or clinical genetics. These skills include team-working, data interpretation and experimental design. You will use the primary scientific literature as an information resource, although textbooks such as our own Essential Medical Genetics will also be useful. You will have the options of: attending genetic counselling clinics and gaining hands-on experience and guidance in using software and online resources for genetic diagnosis and for the evaluation of pathogenesis of DNA sequence variants.
There are weekly optional supplementary tutorials on topics that are selected by students
Research: about half of our graduates enter a research career and most of these graduates undertake and complete PhDs; the MSc in Medical Genetics facilitates acquisition of skills relevant to a career in research in many different bio-molecular disciplines.
Diagnostics: some of our graduates enter careers with clinical genetic diagnostic services, particularly in molecular genetics and cytogenetics.
Clinical genetics: those of our graduates with a prior medical / nursing training often utilise their new skills in careers as clinical geneticists or genetic counsellors.
Other: although the focus of teaching is on using the available technologies for the purpose of genetic diagnostics, many of these technologies are used in diverse areas of biomedical science research and in forensic DNA analysis. Some of our numerous graduates, who are now employed in many countries around the world, have entered careers in industry, scientific publishing, education and medicine.