Clinical Bioinformatics: Unlocking Genomics in Healthcare

Learn about the role of clinical bioinformaticians in healthcare and how their work is helping to realise the genomics revolution.

Clinical Bioinformatics: Unlocking Genomics in Healthcare

  • Duration 5 weeks
  • Weekly study 2 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $64 Find out more

Why join the course?

This free online course aims to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the role of Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics in healthcare today. We will illustrate how the discipline of Clinical Bioinformatics provides an important bridge between the cutting edge science and the delivery of genomic medicine in clinical practice. By understanding the role of a Clinical Bioinformatician it will become clear how integral they are to ensuring the beneficial opportunities of genomic medicine are fully realised in patient care.

Discover the potential of Clinical Bioinformatics

This is an exciting time. We are now beginning to sequence whole genomes in the clinic, the most personal information we can have on a patient. We can start to see how genome variants might impact on health and we can direct really precise medicine to individual patients. This is not without its challenges. The genome is a huge amount of information. Identifying the causative variant (the part in the genome that can cause a change in health) is like looking for a needle in a haystack. But what does this phrase actually mean? This course will take you into the world of a Clinical Bioinformatician and show you what they do behind the scenes when finding that needle in the genomic data. It will also show you what happens next and the important contribution Clinical Bioinformatician’s make to the patient’s journey.

Explore the methods of Clinical Bioinformatics

Clinical Bioinformatics involves tools and technologies which require a certain set of skills and expertise. Using next generation sequencing techniques and data analysis allows the bioinformatician to filter and classify the information from the human genome. The course will bring these methods and processes to life using case studies, interviews with bioinformaticians and a host of activities to help you understand the basics of Clinical Bioinformatics.

Investigate the role of Clinical Bioinformatics in healthcare

The role of clinical bioinformatics can be seen as providing a link between computer science and biology and so involves tools and technologies which require specific skills and expertise. Using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques and data analysis bioinformaticians and clinical scientists can identify, filter and classify variants found in the human genome linked with genetic disease. This course will bring these methods and processes to life using case studies, interviews with bioinformaticians and a host of activities to help you understand the role and its importance in genomic healthcare. You will also be able to see the benefits and the challenges to clinical bioinformatics in regards to wider ethical issues like those relating to data management - we’ll be asking questions about how patient data is stored and who has access to it.

Continuing Professional Development

On this course you there is an opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation that will provide both a physical and digital record of your participation. You might find this useful for demonstrating evidence of informal Continuing Professional Development (CPD), commitment to your career, or of your awareness of the issues in a particular subject.

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  • Week 1

    From 6 Apr 2020

    Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics

    • Transforming patient care

      At the start of this week we will cover learning objectives, introduce your educators and provide help on the platform so your are comfortable moving around the course and know where you can access any further support

    • Ending the Diagnostic Odyssey

      In this activity you will explore a Congenital Cataract case study to show how genomic medicine has impacted on a patients diagnosis, care and or treatment.

    • Clinical Bioinformatics in practice

      This final part of week one brings the role to life and meet two of the bioinformaticians at Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine as well as a PhD student who bring their own perspectives on the role in practice.

  • Week 2

    From 13 Apr 2020

    Data & Diagnosis

    • Assembling the data

      Last week we looked at some of the background to the human genome project and how it is making a real impact in patient care. This week we will be going a bit deeper into this problem and explore clinical bioinformatician's role

    • Managing the variants

      In this activity we will focus on triaging the variants and managing the data

    • Reporting the data

      This activity will explore the last part of the process which is communicating the results back to the clinician.

  • Week 3

    From 20 Apr 2020

    Tools and Workflow

    • Working with the genome

      This activity will introduce the tools and techniques needed whilst working through the workflow.

    • Filtering the VCF file

      In this activity we will look at the process of refining and reducing the variants in the VCF file.

    • Putting it into Practice

      This activity includes a demonstration of some key software and pulls all the steps we've covered this week into a single step

  • Week 4

    From 27 Apr 2020

    Data and Ethics

    • Ethical and legal considerations in Bioinformatics and Genomics

      In this activity we will consider some of the ethical and legal issues raised by working with genomic data

    • Ethics in Practice

      This activity looks at how genomic data is stored and how this relates to the principles of data storage in a clinical setting.

    • Applying Ethical Approaches

      This activity will focus on approaches you can take when faced with ethical implications of genomic data

  • Week 5

    From 4 May 2020

    Case Studies

    • Returning to the clinical setting

      This activity will see us return to St Mary's hospital and the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine as we focus on the bioinformatician's role in practice.

    • Introducing the case study

      This activity will introduce the case study and also provide more insight to the bioinformatician's role

    • Standards and Best Practice

      In this activity you will see how important standardisation of processes and knowledge sharing across the clinical bioinformatics community is essential to ensuring selection and interpretation of clinically relevant variants.

    • Where can I learn more?

      This activity brings together links, support and information to help you go further on your learning journey on Clinical Bioinformatics

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Describe the role of a Clinical Bioinformatician in making a difference in the patient’s journey
  • Explain how Clinical Bioinformatics provides an important bridge between the cutting edge research of Genomic Medicine with the practicalities and sensitivities of a clinical setting
  • Identify the types of tools and technologies a clinical bioinformatician uses to filter and classify the information from the human genome
  • Explore the stages of the clinical bioinformatics workflow
  • Apply knowledge of clinical bioinformatics to clinical case studies
  • Explain the ethical and legal considerations that need to be made when working with genomic data
  • Investigate the typical daily challenges of developing bioinformatics to support the genomic revolution in healthcare

Who is the course for?

This course is aimed at current healthcare professionals, who are interested in learning more about the role of clinical bioinformatics and will also be applicable to people with an interest in the application of genomics in healthcare.

It is not essential to have previous experience or knowledge of bioinformatics or genomics although medical terminology is used and the course is designed to be applicable to practising healthcare professionals.

What do people say about this course?

The course was both challenging and enjoyable, and provided a concise insight into the current state of bioinformatics in the NHS. The challenges going forward are immense not least processing, securing and storing patient data as genomics becomes the norm, in clinical practice.

Ian Webb

Who will you learn with?

Ang Davies

Ang Davies

Ang Davies is a Senior Lecturer in Clinical Bioinformatics and Genomics at The University of Manchester and leads masters level programmes in these areas

Andy Brass

Andy Brass

A professor of Bioinformatics at the University of Manchester who has been excited about AI, data science and interdisciplinary education in bioinformatics for over 20 years.

Becki Bennett

Becki Bennett

I have been teaching bioethics at the University of Manchester for 25 years. I run a distance learning MA/LLM in Healthcare Ethics and Law and provide online CPD courses in this area.

Who developed the course?

The University of Manchester

From splitting the atom to giving the world graphene, The University of Manchester has a history of world firsts and brilliant discoveries.

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