Hello, I’m Elsie, a postgraduate student studying for a Masters degree in Genomic Medicine at the University of Birmingham. Last year, I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Biomedicine at the University of East Anglia and decided to continue my studies and explore my interest in genomics at UoB. I have always been interested in human biology and decided to pursue Biomedicine to learn more about the science behind medicine and research. I really enjoyed my undergraduate degree and found genetics particularly interesting, igniting a passion to study this field further. I discovered the genomic medicine course when researching Masters degree courses, and chose UoB as the course fit my interest perfectly as well as the fact this uni has lots to offer for student life.

Genomics is not a well-known term and people often do not know what I study when I tell them my degree. The genome is a term that refers to all the DNA in the body, that makes up all the individual features and characteristics that make everyone unique. Genomic Medicine is the study of the genome and how changes in the DNA sequence can cause disease. The main diseases that have genomic changes include cancer and rare inherited diseases, however, most diseases have some genetic influences. Genomic medicine is a field that involves cancer research in the hope of finding new treatments.

An area of genomic medicine that I find particularly interesting is the development of personalised medicine. As the genome is specific to every person, advances in research and medicine are able to personalise treatments according to the specific changes in that individual’s DNA. This is a rapidly developing field, and I believe the future of curing many diseases including cancer will use personalised medicine as the mainstream therapy. By continuing to research the genetics of many diseases, genomic medicine will change how the world works by developing new and effective medicine.

An area of genomic medicine that I am passionate about going into in the future is genomic counselling. This is a role that helps support people through a genetic diagnosis, providing scientific information in a way that is easy to understand. Genetic counsellors are an important part of the Genomic medicine service in the NHS, supporting patients with complex decisions on treatment or planning to have a family. Genomics can be complicated due to the shared DNA with family members and a genetic diagnosis can impact many people. I believe this role is so important to support people, and with the increasing knowledge in genomic research, genetic counsellors will be essential to support people going forward. For me, genetic counselling combines my passion for the science of genetics and medicine with caring for and supporting people. In the future, I hope to educate people about the importance of genomic medicine and be involving the rapidly growing field of genomics that will change how the world works.

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