HEIW Genomics E-Learning Modules
Available to health professionals working in the NHS in Wales, including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.
In partnership with Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW), we’ve developed a suite of flexible eLearning modules to increase genomics literacy and understanding of genomic medicine for the healthcare workforce in Wales.
With genomics increasingly being used in routine NHS care, as a health professional you are increasingly likely to talk to your patients and their families about their genes. With the growth of personalised medicine made possible by the study of genomics, it’s more important than ever to inform your understanding of how genomic medicine is impacting your area of clinical practice.
The following online modules are offered by Cardiff University School of Medicine:
As genomic technologies are implemented across most clinical specialities, individuals with expertise in genomic medicine are playing a key role in enabling healthcare professionals to learn, understand and integrate genomic data into clinical practice.
This module offers you the opportunity to study and apply the traditional and contemporary strategies and techniques used to identify genes responsible for both rare inherited (Mendelian) disorders and common polygenic diseases.
Within the healthcare system, the application of genomics with respect to infectious disease is best understood in the context of public health. This is because, pathogen genomic data is applicable in many ways, from diagnosis at a patient level, up to the tracking of pandemics at a global level.
This module will provide students with a public-health/clinical led understanding of Infectious disease and clinical pathogen genomics. The module will provide an introduction to pathogen biology, covering pathogen fundamentals, including core pathogen biology, pathogen transmission, pathogen genome structure and drug resistance.
“Omics” describes a range of analytical technologies, including genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics, that are used to characterise large pools of biological molecules.
While genomics and transcriptomics often involve the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) there are a range of technologies that can be used to explore the metabolome and proteome. Collectively these technologies can be used to identify genetic variants and biomarkers and can provide functional insights into disease mechanisms and treatment responses.
This module provides a comprehensive introduction to a range of “omics” techniques with an emphasis on the use of NGS in healthcare. Topics covered in this module include:
- Exome and whole genome sequencing, including comparison of different sequencing platforms and chemistries
- Approaches to the evaluation of pathogenicity of variants in the context of an NHS clinical report
- Methods to assess the transcriptome including RNA sequencing and spatial-transcriptomics,
- A critical appraisal of biomarker discovery and clinical applications of proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics.
Over the past decade there have been significant changes to how cancer patients are managed, with increased focus on precision medicine and patient stratification.
These advances would have been impossible without understanding the molecular mechanisms driving tumour initiation and progression, the genomic signatures that expose the common features shared between different cancers, and paradoxically, highlight the uniqueness in each. Genes and genetic alterations are the foundation to cancer development.
This module delivers a critical insight into the molecular mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression, DNA repair and its role in maintaining genome stability, the mechanisms of cancer metastasis and the role of the tumour microenvironment.
You will learn about the molecular basis of cancer, germline and somatic genomic variants that can increase cancer risk and progression, and the ethical considerations of genetic screening. This module highlights how advances in the genomic analysis inform patient stratification and treatment and introduces the concepts of pharmacogenomics and personalised medicine in cancer.
This module aims to equip you with the counselling and communication skills to support patients whose care will be influenced by genomic investigations. You will bring the experience of your current clinical practice, and be taught the knowledge, skills and behaviours to incorporate genomic healthcare into your role.
You will develop your understanding of when genomic testing may be offered in healthcare, and the ethical and social implications of this, including the important of informed consent for testing. You will be taught how to communicate with and provide appropriate support to individuals and their families.
Development of counselling skills will be achieved via theoretical and practical sessions. You will have the opportunity to learn how to record and interpret a family history, how to discuss genomic testing with your patients, and how to deliver results appropriately.
This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the bioinformatic analysis of genomic data with an emphasis on the use of next generation sequencing (NGS) in healthcare.
Topics covered in this module include:
- NGS quality control and alignment to a reference genome
- Variant calling
- Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and insertions and deletions (INDELs) from aligned sequence
- Computational approaches to assess the functional effect of variants and standards for bioinformatics data sharing in healthcare pathways.
“The rapid advances in genomics, both in terms of technology and our understanding, provides huge opportunities to improve healthcare. But we recognise that this benefit to our patients cannot be realised without up-skilling and empowering the healthcare workforce to enable the integration of genomics into the patient pathways. These introductory and specialist genomics modules provide the appropriate training, and it is crucial that we widely promote them to our NHS Wales staff to increase awareness of genomics and the opportunities available to improve the clinical care for their patients. Engagement and support from senior leaders across the NHS will also be key to ensuring staff are supported to participate in the relevant modules for their clinical area.”
-Michaela John, Head of Programmes, GPW
The following online module is offered by Bangor University:
This module aims to empower healthcare professionals to deliver better, safer and more personalised care, which in turn will improve health outcomes for patients. It will prepare you for the imminent mainstreaming of pharmacogenomics.
This module will describe the science of pharmacogenomics, and the interplay between people’s genetic make-up and the effects of medicines – both in terms of improving treatment response, and for reducing the risk of adverse drug reactions. It aims to develop a background understanding in the latest developments and applications of pharmacogenomics and stratified healthcare, use examples of pharmacogenomic tests that are relevant in clinical practice to describe how genetic variation can affect the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a drug, or cause immune-mediated adverse reactions.