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Professor Crosby and Dr Baple work closely with Amish communities and their local clinicians through the Windows of Hope Project

Free online genomic medicine and research course

A new free online course led by the University of Exeter describes translational genomic studies in Amish families affected by genetic conditions, to define the benefits of community genetics as a field of medicine.

The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), called ‘Genomic Medicine and Research: A Community Approach’has been developed by Professor Andrew Crosby and Dr Emma Baple of the University of Exeter.

Professor Crosby and Dr Baple work closely with Amish communities and their local clinicians through the Windows of Hope Project.  The free online course, funded by the Medical Research Foundation, will inform participants about the benefits of a community approach to genomic medicine and research.  Participants will explore the skills and approaches involved in translational research, and understand the meaning of community genetics. They will learn the scientific and medical value of whole-genome sequencing in the community context, and the importance of community-specific medical research to patients.

Professor Crosby said: “This new course aims to highlight the immense clinical and scientific value of undertaking translational research to investigate genetic conditions that are present in a community setting. In particular the course shows how it is possible to undertake research while ensuring that the patients, families and the wider community all benefit from our work”.

Dr Baple said: “The course includes video and audio recordings of Amish families describing their journey in search for a diagnosis. For all of these families, the specific genetic cause of the disorder affecting them was not known to medical science prior to our research studies. Obtaining a diagnosis was very important for these families. Similarly, the knowledge learned from these studies was important for aiding diagnoses for other families worldwide affected by these conditions.”

Participants will learn how translational research in genomics can deliver health and social, and benefits to communities, while also driving forward scientific understanding of human development and inherited disorders. The course is pitched at a very accessible level for all individuals with a broad range of backgrounds and is of particular relevance to research teams, clinicians, allied health and special educational needs workers that work with families affected by inherited diseases.

The first enrolment of the course extends until 17th January 2020 during which anyone with an interest may register and take part. More information can be found here.

Date: 21 November 2019

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