A new postgraduate Genomics Medicine MSc course has been launched to give NHS staff a practical and comprehensive knowledge of genomics. Research into genomics is transforming medicine and holds out the promise of bespoke diagnosis, treatment and disease prevention for each individual patient based on their own genetic make-up.

Taught jointly by academics at St George’s, University of London (St George’s), and King’s College London (King’s), the course also allows very practical access to leading London hospitals at both the Tooting and London Bridge sites.

The course uses expertise in genomics and bioinformatics from the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College London, which gives students access to first class research experience within the field of genomics data analysis. Scientists from the BRC lecture on various topics on the course and lead the module on Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Healthcare.

The course is one year full time or two years part time and has a considerable e-learning online element so can be very flexible.

Health Education England is fully funding some places on the course.

Students will carry out their research project at either King’s or St George’s.

What distinguishes the St George’s/King’s course is the practical clinical access and the world class expertise in genomics – as St George’s, University of London, is on the site of St George’s Hospital, a major London centre of excellence, and King’s is part of the King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre that includes three London NHS trusts.

Professor Nigel Brown, Director, Institute of Medical and Biomedical Education at St George’s said: “Educating the workforce, patients and the population is critical to deriving the best healthcare improvements from the extraordinary advances being made in genomics.

“Our innovative course is an integral part of the wider collaboration with King’s and other partners in South London to deliver on the 100,000 Genomes Project and the benefits it will generate.”

“With the 100,000 genomes project the UK leads the world in the application of genomics medicine within a national health system,” added Professor Tim Hubbard, Head of Department of Medical & Molecular Genetics at King’s College London and Head of Genome Analysis at Genomics England.

He said: “Now is the time to learn about this technology and with this course study with those applying it within the NHS today.”

Both institutions have been at the forefront of advances in genomics and medicine for decades and there is a particular expertise around microbial genomics, medical ethics and cardiovascular genomics.

Cardiology at St George’s is headed by the world renowned Professor Sanjay Sharma, who among other positions is the Medical Adviser to the London marathon. King’s is the home of TwinsUK founded by Professor Tim Spector. It is one of the largest and best phenotyped twins registries in the world and features frequently in science programmes.

Both universities are also part of the South London-based Genomics Network Alliance which will become a pioneering Genomic Medicine Centre, as part of the ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes Project.

As part of this, St George’s will work with King’s and local NHS trusts to provide university expertise for the ambitious plan. The universities will also play a key part in genomic research and education.