Join us in tackling the genomics skills shortage
Advances in genomic technologies have revolutionised the role of genetics in clinical medicine and knowledge of genomics, and its application is becoming increasingly important for a wide range of health care professionals and research scientists.
The Department of Medical Genetics has offered a taught provision in Genomic Medicine since 2015 in response to the training need identified by Health Education England for NHS staff and graduate students to meet the challenge of delivering the 100,000 genomes project. The subsequent establishment of the NHS Genomic Medicine Service and continued use of Genomics England to provide whole genome sequencing has identified a wider graduate training need in genomic data science related research skills. The MRes in Genomic Medicine has been established to address the perceived skills deficit in data science and computational skills that is common in many life science graduate students. The MRes in Genomic Medicine will equip students with the skills necessary to undertake computational genomics projects through a taught programme, and then enable them to utilise these skills to plan and complete a research project. The MRes in Genomic Medicine therefore allows students to complete a research focussed taught degree that incorporates a large element of data science related teaching to ensure graduates are equipped with the necessary skills to contribute to the evolving genomics sector in the UK.
The MRes in Genomic Medicine is a one-year full-time Master’s degree at the University of Cambridge. The MRes is composed of both research and taught elements that contribute to the overall assessment of the degree. The MRes in Genomic Medicine is taught by the Department of Medical Genetics in partnership with Cambridge University Hospitals, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and European Bioinformatics Institute. Many of the taught graduate students in the Department of Medical Genetics have proceeded to PhD studentships or graduate entry courses in Medicine. The MRes in Genomic Medicine will allow students to undertake an extended research project alongside a shorter teaching programme to prepare students for either a PhD programme, or employment / career progression in a research or clinical laboratory. The interaction between MRes students and full and part-time students from the Cambridge Genomic Medicine Programme enriches their educational experience beyond that of an MPhil by research and differentiates the MRes in Genomic Medicine from other programmes currently offered.
The MRes in Genomic Medicine is to be established primarily to fulfil the need for a research course that addresses the skills shortage in genomic medicine. The data science and genomics skills learnt during this course are highly valued by employers and will be increasingly required with the growth of the UKs genomics industry; identified by the UK government as a strategic UK global leading industry. The skills taught in this course will enhance employability in the Cambridge genomics sector, as identified in the course objectives. Successful graduates would be expected to gain employment within the genomics sector (E.g. Genomics England or Illumina) or to progress to PhD study or graduate entry medicine. The computational techniques taught will enable students to perform research within the Genomics England research environments(s) and therefore be trained to contribute to the analysis of data from the NHS Genomic Medicine service.
Aims of the course:
- To provide a research environment where students can learn the practical skills required for performing research in Genomic Medicine;
- To prepare and upskill students with the most up to date computational and bioinformatic knowledge for performing genomic research;
- To develop students’ independent research skills and understanding of research methodologies and clinical opportunities relevant to Genomic Medicine;
- To develop students’ competence in the use of genomic and data science technologies for biomedical research;
- To prepare students for either higher study (PhD/MD) or career roles in a research-intensive environment in genomic medicine-related fields;
- To develop a cohort of students who are proficient in the wide variety of research skills necessary to plan and deliver Genomic Medicine research projects;
- To encourage a commitment to intellectual challenge and evidence-based clinical practice informed by the latest conceptual and theoretical knowledge of Genomic Medicine;
- To develop students’ intellectual, practical and transferable skills related to Genomic Medicine;
- To encourage critical thinking related to Genomic Medicine;
- To develop good scientific practice and record keeping;
- To increase employability in the local genomics industry centred around Cambridge, where data science skills are highly valued;
- To provide professionally relevant teaching and learning informed by research in an integrated clinical and research environment;
- To enable students to conduct systematic literature reviews relevant to their research areas;
- To equip students for entry into health care professional training schemes including postgraduate entry medicine courses;
- To provide training for clinician scientists who wish to work on data produced from Genomics England and the NHS Genomic Medicine service as part of the diagnostic and treatment pathway
The MRes comprises:
- Three modules
- A research project
- An associated dissertation
- An introduction to human genetics and genomics
- Bioinformatics, interpretation, and data quality assurance in genome analysis
- Research and statistical skills for Genomic Medicine
- Students are assessed formatively throughout the taught modules of the programme using a variety of techniques and interrelated strategies including evidence of regular reflection. Demonstration of active participation in the programme will also be required. There may also a requirement for the students to take part in peer review of other students.
- For each of the taught modules students must complete summative assignments of 2500-3500 words or equivalent. (Except where other methods of module assessment are indicated in individual module descriptions). The taught modules are worth 30% of the total assessment of the degree.
- Students submit a dissertation of not more than 30,000 words in total, exclusive of tables, footnotes, bibliography, and appendices, summarising the candidates’ research project(s) and of a form approved and published annually in the Easter Term before the commencement of the course by the Degree Committee for the Faculties of Clinical Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. The dissertation shall provide evidence to satisfy the Examiners that a candidate can design and carry out an original investigation, assess and interpret the results obtained, and place the work in the wider perspective of the subject. The dissertation is worth 70% of the total assessment of the degree.
- Students submit to an oral examination on the work submitted and on the general field of knowledge within which such work falls.
- Applicants are normally expected to a hold a UK 2:1 Honours Degree (or higher) or an equivalent from an overseas university.
- All applicants are required to demonstrate competency in English at a high level before commencing the programme (IELTS Academic test scores of: overall band score of 7.0, with not less than 7.0 in speaking, listening and writing, and 6.5 in reading). Evidence of competency in English is in accordance with the guidelines of the University of Cambridge.
Fees and Funding:
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