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Programs News Kevin Storr July 31, 2023

The role of genetic counselors has greatly expanded from its clinical origins in the 1960’s. In the 50-plus years genetic counseling has existed, the technology has never been more advanced.

UAB developed the Graduate Certificate in Industry Genetics and Genomics to provide industry and genetics professionals with opportunities to learn more about genetics technological advancements to stay ahead of the curve in variant interpretation; providing these learners with the chance to perform at the top of their field.

Filling the Need

Housed in the UAB School of Health Professions, the Graduate Certificate in Industry Genetics and Genomics is the only program of its kind in the United States.

It is designed to cover a multitude of health care professionals at different places and stages in their career. It is for biotechnologists, lab scientists, or other ancillary health care specialties witnessing a shift toward incorporating genetic testing in their field.

It is also for genetic counselors who need a practical opportunity to learn more efficient ways to engage with industry genetics topics beyond conference conversations and presentations.

With the exponential change in genomic technology – instead of testing one gene at a time, clinicians can now test all the genes at once. This makes the amount of data to sift through to find the disease-causing genetic change in a patient go from one or two, to tens of thousands.

“Genetic counselors are now playing this role in labs everywhere, so we wanted to give a more formal opportunity for GC’s to further understand the theory and practice behind this growth instead of just trying to pick it up on the job,” said Alicia Gomes, MS, CGC, assistant professor in the UAB M.S. in Genetic Counseling program.

Genetics Genomics Online LearnerOnly Online. Only One Year.

The Graduate Certificate in Industry Genetics and Genomics is an asynchronous, entirely online program – this allows students to learn on their own schedule. Students will have the flexibility to take the courses without missing time from work or family. The graduate certificate is a one-year program, consisting of five courses (15 credit hours).

What is variant interpretation?

Variant interpretation is a key component of clinical practice, especially among genetics professionals in multiple specialties. Variant interpretation and classification of sequence variants warrant the examination and assessment of numerous sources of evidence to dictate the clinical importance of variants identified through diagnostic testing for a disease with a presumed underlying genetic cause.

Essential Courses for Ideal Applicants

The curriculum of this certificate program encompasses a range of essential courses including:

  • Applied Advanced Medical Genetics and Genomics
  • Genetics and Genomics Diagnostics Regulation
  • Clinical Genomic Testing Technologies and Methodologies
  • Clinical Tools for Genomic Variant Curation and Analysis
  • Genomic Variant interpretation using Clinical Application
  • Implementation of Variant Interpretation Practices in the Genetics and Genomics Industry

In an effort to make these advances in genetics and genomics knowledge accessible to all, these courses are also offered on an ad-hoc basis so non-degree seeking students can take individual classes. The faculty see the certificate and the individual courses as beneficial for genetic counselors looking to learn new technology and trends, scientists working hands-on with variant interpretation, biotechnologists who need to integrate gene therapy, and others working in genetics and genomics.

Learn More

To see their official, current curriculum and course descriptions, please visit the UAB Graduate Catalog.

To learn more about the graduate certificate, visit the program's website.

To apply to the program, please click here.

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