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The genomics team

Dr Michelle Bishop introduces the genomics multidisciplinary team.
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The genomics team really is quite a broad term and we’re using it in this context to describe the professionals who are involved in all aspects of genomic care. When I think of the genomics team I think of really four key professionals. That is the clinical geneticists, who are the medically trained professionals, genetic counsellors, that’s the clinical geneticists and the genetic counsellors that actually see the patients. Then it’s the laboratory scientists, which include the clinical scientists and the genetic technologists that are involved in processing the sample, doing the testing and then the interpretation of the results.
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And then there’s the bioinformaticians who develop and run all the pipelines of all the genomic data that is coming through to filter out the information so that the most relevant variants are actually given to the clinical scientist team for interpretation. It’s important for us to remember though that we’re not just a group of genomic specialists. As testing is now being introduced into different specialties, such as cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, oncology, genomics specialists will be working more and more with specialists from these areas to help in the interpretation of results.

In this video, course educator Dr Michelle Bishop gives an overview of the professionals involved in providing genomic diagnoses for patients. She explains that the genomics team is made up of four groups of professionals:

  • clinical geneticists (medically trained doctors) and genomic counsellors (trained counsellors with expertise in genomic science), who see patients in clinic and order genomic tests;

  • laboratory scientists – including clinical scientists and genetic technicians – who process samples, perform testing and interpret results from testing; and

  • clinical bioinformaticians, who have expert biological and computer programming skills and run software pipelines to ensure that each genome is interrogated in the right way in order to try and answer the clinical question.

Michelle also explains that the genomics team is increasingly working with specialists from across other specialties, not just genomics – such as cardiology and neurology – in order to interpret results accurately for patients.

In parts 2 and 3 of this week we will learn more about what these skilled professionals do in an attempt to find answers for patients.

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Whole Genome Sequencing: Decoding the Language of Life and Health

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