St George’s, University of London, has launched a new free online course to give healthcare professionals a basic grounding in genomic medicine.


The massive, open online course (MOOC) explores the new genomic technologies that are revolutionising medicine and will, in time, provide the mainstay of patient diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention.

During the past decade, genomic medicine has been revolutionised by next generation sequencing technologies. In the past, genetic testing was limited to sequencing one gene at a time. However, next generation sequencing technologies permit the parallel sequencing of many or all genes.

These new technologies have greatly enhanced the chances of diagnosis for rare conditions and are beginning to provide a real chance of personalised care for each patient.

Kate Tatton-Brown, lead educator on the MOOC, said:

"Technologies to interrogate the genome have advanced so rapidly during the last few years that we can now read our entire DNA code in just a few days with a cost approaching $1000 (£670). This is transforming medicine. We have developed an accessible and engaging online programme, a MOOC entitled 'The Genomics Era: the Future of Genetics in Medicine', to teach healthcare professionals about genomics so that they can use these data in their daily clinical practice. This hugely exciting project will launch with FutureLearn on 15th June."

The course is aimed at current healthcare professionals, who are interested in learning more about the fundamentals of genetics and how genomic technologies are transforming medical practice.

It is not essential to have previous genetic knowledge or experience, although medical terminology is used and the course is designed to be applicable to clinical practice.

Soon genomic data will be integral to all sectors of medicine and will be used in the prevention, diagnosis and personalised treatment of human disease. St George’s is already a partner in the exciting 100,000 Genomes Project.

The course is five weeks long, lasting two hours a week, and starts on 15 June 2015.

It is run in partnership with FutureLearn, a free, open, online platform for courses from multiple UK and international universities. The course is five weeks long, lasting two hours a week, and starts on June 15 2015.

Find out more about 'The Genomics Era: the Future of Genetics'.

The course draws on the experience of experts in clinical genetics and education at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, St George’s, University of London, and the Genomics Education Programme from Health Education England.

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a founding member of the Genomics Network Alliance, recognised by NHS England as a Genomic Medicine Centre.