Genomics is the future of medicine - what are my options for getting involved?

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gradmedic123
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Hi. I'm going into my second year of medicine at King's and want to start gaining a bit more experience/insight into some of my fields of interest.

I have an MSc in Genomic Medicine (SGUL) which instilled the belief that Genomics really is the future of medicine. I learned a good deal, but I didn't really do any lab work, mainly sticking to data processing/counselling etc.

I'm really not sure what the career options are for doctors in genomics, though. Should I be looking for some internships/charity work in the area? I was considering getting back in touch with my MSc's course organiser for some direction.

I'm also interesting in people's opinion on the title statement!

Cheers.
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_Mia101
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(Original post by gradmedic123)
Hi. I'm going into my second year of medicine at King's and want to start gaining a bit more experience/insight into some of my fields of interest.

I have an MSc in Genomic Medicine (SGUL) which instilled the belief that Genomics really is the future of medicine. I learned a good deal, but I didn't really do any lab work, mainly sticking to data processing/counselling etc.

I'm really not sure what the career options are for doctors in genomics, though. Should I be looking for some internships/charity work in the area? I was considering getting back in touch with my MSc's course organiser for some direction.

I'm also interesting in people's opinion on the title statement!

Cheers.
Well, you could be a clinical geneticist (a doctor who specialises in genetics/ genomics). And to get to consultancy in that specialty is the same as all others: Foundation year and specialty training till you reach consultancy. If you wanted to do research you could go down an academic pathway and become an academic doctor. For that, there are a number of different ways to go about it.

Hope this helps!
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Asklepios
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(Original post by gradmedic123)
Hi. I'm going into my second year of medicine at King's and want to start gaining a bit more experience/insight into some of my fields of interest.

I have an MSc in Genomic Medicine (SGUL) which instilled the belief that Genomics really is the future of medicine. I learned a good deal, but I didn't really do any lab work, mainly sticking to data processing/counselling etc.

I'm really not sure what the career options are for doctors in genomics, though. Should I be looking for some internships/charity work in the area? I was considering getting back in touch with my MSc's course organiser for some direction.

I'm also interesting in people's opinion on the title statement!

Cheers.
Pretty much all medical specialties will involve genomics in a research setting.

In terms of current practice, some already have quite a lot of molecular/genetic stuff. Obviously clinical genetics is an option; cancer specialties have a large amount of molecular testing too (histopathology, medical oncology, haematology, surgical oncology etc).
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nexttime
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(Original post by _Mia101)
Well, you could be a clinical geneticist (a doctor who specialises in genetics/ genomics).
Main problems with this are a) its a tiny speciality and b) its future is somewhat uncertain as I understand it, as genetics is becoming so important that you can't really be a doctor without knowing about it. So gastro doctors will learn about gastro genetic conditions/predispositions, cardiologists for cardiac genetics, etc.

I'm thinking its more the research side of things you should get in on OP, in which case contacting your old supervisors might be a good idea.
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ecolier
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(Original post by nexttime)
Main problems with this are a) its a tiny speciality and b) its future is somewhat uncertain as I understand it, as genetics is becoming so important that you can't really be a doctor without knowing about it. So gastro doctors will learn about gastro genetic conditions/predispositions, cardiologists for cardiac genetics, etc.....
Correct, in our specialty we don't really refer to geneticists anymore.

There was a question in our SCE "What to do when a patient presents with suspicions of Huntington's Disease" and the correct answer is "do the blood test" and not "refer to geneticist".
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Omar_Little
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(Original post by ecolier)
Correct, in our specialty we don't really refer to geneticists anymore.

There was a question in our SCE "What to do when a patient presents with suspicions of Huntington's Disease" and the correct answer is "do the blood test" and not "refer to geneticist".
I appreciate that you are probably giving a snippet of the question but I assume there would need to be a degree of genetic counselling before you do the test, no?

I suspect that this type of service will eventually become part of the specialty team (e.g. neuro genetic counsellors, cardiac genetic counsellors etc...)

I do agree that clinical genetics is likely to remain pretty niche and will still exist to assist with the more weird, wonderful, rare and ambiguous results but will be hands off with a lot of things that become mainstream practice. This is of course, pure conjecture.
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ecolier
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(Original post by Omar_Little)
I appreciate that you are probably giving a snippet of the question but I assume there would need to be a degree of genetic counselling before you do the test, no?

I suspect that this type of service will eventually become part of the specialty team (e.g. neuro genetic counsellors, cardiac genetic counsellors etc...)...
Oh definitely, but they will be part of the specialty's specialist team. i.e. Huntington's Disease specialist nurses are employed by and work with the neurology team; Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy specialist nurses are employed by and work with the cardiology team.

Meanwhile, as doctors in that specialty you will be required to know the ins and outs of the genetic tests involved, the genes (and the location of the chromosomes!!!), the risks and benefits and the false positive / negative rates of these tests. It is simply expected that the specialty doctor will know this information and there is no need to refer to the geneticist for most "common" (i.e. common for specialty!) genetic diseases.

However you are absolutely correct that we work with geneticists closely for weird and wonderful diseases, and there are still plenty of incredibly rare diseases that maybe one person / family in the world has; and even undiscovered genetic diseases. Hence I don't see the future of geneticists being completely obliterated just yet.
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_Mia101
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(Original post by ecolier)
Oh definitely, but they will be part of the specialty's specialist team. i.e. Huntington's Disease specialist nurses are employed by and work with the neurology team; Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy specialist nurses are employed by and work with the cardiology team.

Meanwhile, as doctors in that specialty you will be required to know the ins and outs of the genetic tests involved, the genes (and the location of the chromosomes!!!), the risks and benefits and the false positive / negative rates of these tests. It is simply expected that the specialty doctor will know this information and there is no need to refer to the geneticist for most "common" (i.e. common for specialty!) genetic diseases.

However you are absolutely correct that we work with geneticists closely for weird and wonderful diseases, and there are still plenty of incredibly rare diseases that maybe one person / family in the world has; and even undiscovered genetic diseases. Hence I don't see the future of geneticists being completely obliterated just yet.
So will geneticists then mainly work in research as opposed to a clinical setting?
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ecolier
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(Original post by _Mia101)
So will geneticists then mainly work in research as opposed to a clinical setting?
Geneticists already do research, but potentially yes they can be doing even more in the future. (I take it you mean clinical geneticists)

Genetics have a huge part to play for Medicine in the future, but it's more likely that the specialties will take the genetic diseases into "their own hands" and leave the super-rare diseases to the geneticists.

For more information, read:
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/exp...nical-genetics
https://www.st3recruitment.org.uk/sp...nical-genetics (the actual website when you want to apply to be a registrar in clinical genetics)
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lorry:)
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Well, as has been mentioned the obvious route would be clinical genetics (although I would recommend trying to spend some time in a department before flinging yourself head first into it - I also have an interest in genetics but decided that clinical genetics doesn’t really align with how I want to spend my days)

If I may suggest a slightly more left-of-field specialty, histopathology. Molecular pathology is becoming a bigger and bigger thing in pathology, with fellowships etc opening up in -omics training and increasing consideration of molecular investigations, especially in both oncology and paediatric pathology.
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