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Course Review: Precision Medicine by University of Geneva

Understand the role of genetic counseling and how various genetic test results help towards personalized medicine for disease treatment and prevention.

Here, I am sharing an in-depth review of the Precision Medicine class on Coursera. This class is being taught by the team of recognized experts in precision medicine affiliated with the University of Geneva.

Why did I take this class?

I am a lifelong learner. I believe, learning is empowering for everyone and the MOOCs have facilitated the access to the best resources for learning from the best institutes in the world, accessible to everyone, and has created a thriving community of lifelong learners like me! More than being a lifelong learner myself, I also want to spread the love of learning everywhere. Learning is a habit that needs to be cultivated and nurtured through continuous practice. Learning is a way to improve our health span and consequently the quality of life. Healthcare is becoming more and more personalized and we all need to learn how the advances in precision medicine can affect our health, profession, and life in general.

I chose to join this class, when I was looking for a good MOOC to learn about Genetic Counseling, after I had a personal experience going through such a counseling session followed by the genetic testing. By searching on the Class Central website, I stumbled upon this class, that covers genetic counseling and testing, in the very first week! It was still an in-depth first introduction to Genetic Counseling for me. Later, while taking this class, I had also completed a specific short class on What is Genetic Counselling? on Future Learn and have shared my personal in-depth review on the Class Central site.

What is precision medicine?

Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. This approach will allow doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people. It is the evolution of medicine to a space where objective measurements form a more significant component of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This approach will expand to many areas of health and healthcare in coming years.

Who is this class for?

It is for anyone interested in learning about many facets of precision medicine. Specifically, it is suitable for healthcare professionals, students, researchers, and anyone curious to learn about this exciting field, which is the future of individualized medicine! Some diseases are rare and even experts who can help with the care are rare. So, this class is also for patients and their loved ones who want to increase their awareness about precision medicine.

I believe, patients can be experts in advocating policies in their countries towards rare disease diagnosis, spread more awareness, and contribute to advancement in the research. All these can be very important contributions by the patient. I am very pleased with what I have learned in this class. I took this class as a lifelong learner and a patient of a genetically oriented medical condition.

What will you learn in this class?

Prof. Emmanouil Dermitzakis, UNIGE geneticist and director of Health 2030 Genome Center

This class starts with the role of genetic counseling and how various genetic test results help towards personalized medicine. It is divided into six modules. These are organized to give a practical introduction to various facets of precision medicine. Each module is taught by one or more experts in the field.

Here is a brief summary of the topics covered in six modules.

Module 1:

  • General Introduction to the field
  • Human genome variability and phenotype consequences
  • Monogenic disorder: challenges and perspectives
  • Genethics

Module 2:

  • Genetics of complex disorders
  • Environmental determinant
  • Current and future approaches in Diabetes management

Module 3:

  • Implementation of precision oncology
  • Oncogenetics

Module 4:

  • Opportunities of genomics including to better understand complex chronic diseases
  • Concepts of exposome and gene-environment interaction
  • Main challenges of translating genomics into clinical care
  • Role of primary care physicians in precision medicine

Module 5:

  • General principles in pharmacogenetics
  • Pharmacogenomics and cardiovascular medicine
  • Pharmacogenomics and pain
  • Lab tools to support personalized therapy and pharmacogenomics
  • Pharmacogenomics and drug development
  • Blockchain and data de-identification

Module 6:

  • Main steps of a basic framework for a precision medicine research project

As you can see, each module is filled with important topics in the field of precision medicine. It may take a couple weeks per module to really learn topics covered in each module. It is great that we have such a class available as MOOC, and understanding about various facets of precision medicine can help many healthcare professionals to upgrade their professional knowledge. Students can decide on a new field of study, where their contribution can be empowering in many ways, that may lead to innovation in individualized treatments at many levels. Researchers can appreciate how an individual patient can become a research project itself.

New targeted therapies will be designed to manage many rare diseases. So, do check out this class, if you think the topics covered are relevant to your professional or personal goals. Even if you are curious about any of the topics covered here, just dive in and explore. You will learn something that will make you feel empowered to learn more!

What is required additionally to earn a certificate?

This is a long class. You may be interested in only part of the material or may want to complete the entire class and earn a certificate of completion. If you are going that path, you will have the option to take in-depth graded quizzes at the end of each module.

These quizzes are challenging and will test your learning related to each module material. In order to complete the class and earn a certificate, you need to obtain 80% or better in each quiz. You will have the option to take these quizzes multiple times, if you need to, till you are satisfied with your passing grade. Each quiz weighs about 16% to 17% of the total grade.

It took me almost two months to complete this class, and I am glad that I could complete this class.

My certificate of completion

Conclusion

Now, I still go back to refer to the material I learned in this class, as I read more about research in the field of precision medicine. There is always more to learn, and, as I learn, I become a more informed patient, and can play an active role in understanding my options for the future preventive treatment plan.

Hope you enjoy this class and would love to hear your recommendation of good classes on similar topics. Enjoy the class and feel empowered to learn more! Keep sharing your learning with the global learners. Happy learning!

Sonal Patel Profile Image

Sonal Patel

My learner story on edX — hope this is sufficient to get to know me! http://blog.edx.org/spreading-love-learning-meet-sonal And you can find all my reviews here: https://www.classcentral.com/@sonal/reviews

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