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Online course

Genomic Medicine: Transforming Patient Care in Diabetes

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


  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No certificate


  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Genomic Medicine: Transforming Patient Care in Diabetes

Why join the course?

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 secondsGenomic 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.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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 who just want to learn more about genomic medicine.

Who will you learn with?

Maggie Shepherd

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.

Anna Murray

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.

Sian Ellard

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?

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate

You can buy a Statement of Participation for this course — a personalised certificate in both digital and printed formats, to celebrate taking part.

£34.00 + shipping

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Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.