• University of Exeter

Genomic Medicine: Transforming Patient Care in Diabetes

Learn how developments in genomics are transforming our knowledge and treatment of conditions such as diabetes.

31,520 enrolled on this course

Genomic Medicine: Transforming Patient Care in Diabetes
  • Duration4 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours

There have been huge advances in the field of genetics in the last 10 years since the sequencing of the first human genome in 2003. It is now possible to analyse all 20,000 human genes in a single experiment, rather than focussing on one gene at a time. We are in the genomics era.

This free online course will introduce the topic of genomics, using the University of Exeter’s research expertise in diabetes, to illustrate the clinical application of current genomics knowledge.

Explore the impact of genomic testing

We will use patient experiences to discuss the impact and value of a genetic diagnosis for diabetes for patients, their families and the clinicians responsible for their care. You will learn about the value of understanding the underlying pathological mechanism of a disease, to enable the progression from genomic testing to improvements in clinical care.

Find out how genomics can inform us about disease risks

You will learn about: the different modes of inheritance for diabetes, including polygenic, monogenic, mitochondrial and epigenetic; the molecular basis of these inheritance patterns; and how this relates to risk for individuals, families and populations.

Understand the strategies for genomic testing

You will be taken through the process of discovering novel genetic mutations in the genome, including intergenic regions, previously thought to play a minor role in gene function. This will include thinking about the pattern of inheritance, to design a strategy for gene discovery, through to the latest laboratory techniques used for genomic sequencing.

There will also be an introduction to the bioinformatics resources and techniques used to interpret the wealth of genomic data generated by the techniques described.

We won’t be able to join the discussions ourselves, so we hope that the course will be one that develops a strong learning community. We encourage you to participate fully in discussions, to support other learners and to share knowledge where possible, and hope that you will enjoy interacting with and learning from each other in this way.

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 seconds Genomic medicine is transforming the lives of patients with diabetes across the world. Advances in molecular genetics over the last 20 years have led to the discovery of nearly 150 genetic variants that affect our risk of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. And mutations in more than 40 genes are now known to cause monogenic diabetes, resulting in improved diagnosis and treatment for many patients. But how does genomics influence patient care? How have these genes been identified? What technology do we use to identify genetic variants? And how can genomic data contribute to precision medicine for patients with diabetes? I’m Maggie Shepherd, and I’m Honorary Clinical Professor of Monogenic Diabetes at the University of Exeter Medical School.

Skip to 1 minute and 6 seconds We’ve gathered together experts from our world leading team of clinicians, scientists, and academics, who, over this four week course, will give you an exciting insight into the impact of genomics and diabetes care. We’ll be exploring genomic medicine through gene discovery and patterns of inheritance through to the latest laboratory techniques and interpretation of genomic data. We’ll be thinking about how to identify patients likely to have a monogenic cause of their diabetes and the effects of receiving a genetic diagnosis on that individual and their family. We’ll also explore the impact of genomics for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, where a combination of multiple genetic effects and environmental factors are involved in disease pathogenesis.

Skip to 1 minute and 54 seconds Through patient stories focusing on their genetic diagnosis, we’ll discover how genomic medicine is transforming lives and improving care. Genetic testing is impacting on healthcare across a range of conditions. And the genomic principles covered in this course can be applied to the thousands of other rare monogenic disorders and also to other complex, multi-factorial diseases. Genetic technologies frequently reach media attention and generate vigorous discussion. There will be lots of opportunity for you to debate the questions raised and to draw your own conclusions. As we enter an age of unprecedented advances in genomic medicine, we’re delighted to be able to share this cutting-edge world class research with you. Join us and find out more.


  • Week 1

    Changing lives: why do genomics testing?

    • Neonatal diabetes: an exemplar for genomic medicine

      In this activity you will learn about neonatal diabetes and hear how genetic testing has changed the lives of families like Emma and her son Jack.

    • Common and rare monogenic subtypes of diabetes

      In this activity you will hear about the impact of genetic testing in diabetes for both families and professionals and learn about different types of diabetes and genetic risk

  • Week 2

    Diagnosis and risk

    • Multifactorial diabetes

      Most cases of diabetes are caused by a combination of multiple genetic factors, plus environmental triggers.

    • Identifying patients with monogenic diabetes

      In this activity you will learn how to identify patients who have a rarer form of diabetes caused by a single gene.

    • Inheritance patterns for monogenic diabetes

      It is important to know how a genetic cause of a disease is inherited, in order to provide information to other family members about their risk.

  • Week 3

    Strategies for genomic testing

    • Which patients can benefit from genomic tests?

      In this activity you will learn about Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) and how to identify which patients are likely to benefit from genetic testing

    • How do we test for monogenic diabetes? Part A – in the laboratory

      We go into the laboratory to find out how DNA is extracted from blood and the steps from DNA to reading the genetic sequence.

    • How do we test for monogenic diabetes? Part B – interpreting the result

      We will learn about the analysis of DNA sequence data and how results are communicated to clinicians and their patients via the Genetics Laboratory Report.

    • Genetic testing for relatives

      In this activity you will learn which family members may be offered genetic testing and you will have the opportunity to discuss the benefits of genetic testing for monogenic diabetes with your fellow learners

  • Week 4

    Finding new disease genes

    • Using next generation sequencing technology to diagnose monogenic diabetes

      Next generation sequencing enables DNA sequencing at a previously unprecedented scale. Here’s how it works.

    • Discovering the cause of a rare syndrome with new genomic sequencing technology

      Tom describes his rare condition and how it affects him as well as how it was identified and what this information means to him

    • Scientific, ethical, social and legal issues

      What else do we need to consider when we think about genetic testing for monogenic diabetes?

    • Course wrap up

      Final quiz and acknowledgements

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

What will you achieve?

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

  • Explore the impact of genomic testing
  • Develop an understanding of how genomics can inform us about disease risks
  • Explore the strategies for genomic testing
  • Support the learning community by sharing knowledge through discussion and debate

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who wants to learn about how the genomic era is changing medical science, including healthcare professionals, science undergraduates and non-specialists. There are complex scientific elements within the course which non-specialists might not feel the need to engage with in as much depth as others, but there are still benefits from covering the overall subject matter.

Healthcare professionals might find the Certificate of Achievement for this course useful for providing evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), or commitment to their career.

What do people say about this course?

Thank you for such an important course. The lessons were thorough and forced me to do my "homework." The resource materials and support are incredible. One of my goals for taking this course, as well as others, was to help dispel the hoaxes for miracle cures. In addition, I have a focus on educating my community on the seriousness of diabetes and the need to be tested by a medical professional. The depth and the breadth of the lessons were phenomenal.

Gary Daniels

Thank you so much for this excellent course, I really enjoyed it. Absolutely this course enhances my current humane genome knowledge. Genomic medicine is the ultimate breakthrough in diseases diagnosis.

Rizgar Mahmood

Who will you learn with?

I am Honorary Clinical Professor of Monogenic Diabetes at the University of Exeter Medical School.
My work focuses on monogenic diabetes and I lead a national team of Genetic Diabetes Nurses.

I'm a senior lecturer in genetics at the University of Exeter Medical School. I teach on the undergraduate Medicine and BSc Medical Sciences programmes. My research expertise is reproductive genomics.

I'm a Consultant Clinical Scientist and Professor of Genomic Medicine. I head a team using genomic technology to discover new causes of monogenic diabetes to improve diagnosis and treatment.

Who developed the course?

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction.

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