Genomics is becoming an integral part of healthcare, but what role does each person play. Find our helpful guide below on what different roles are available within the healthcare setting, what their role includes and how they get there.
- Genomic Scientist
A genomic scientist is a healthcare scientist that works in genomics. There are two types: a genetic technologist and clinical scientists.
Genetic technologists are specialists in “wet-lab” work, the processing of samples and testing within the laboratory.
Clinical scientists are office based and play a role in test selection and interpretation of complex results along with genetic technologists, bioinformaticians and medics. Clinical scientists are responsible for writing the report that goes back to the clinician to inform them of the results of the genomic test.
Clinical scientists are trained at postgraduate level through approved training programmes after an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject.
- Clinical Bioinformatician
A clinical bioinformatician uses computer software to design and run pipelines for the analysis of genomic data for a question. Bioinformatics is key to genomic medicine and the clinical bioinformaticians are the people that filter and organise the genomic data so their colleagues can deal with the information.
Bioinformaticians also have to focus on protecting the confidential data and ensure that information that the patient has requested to be private is not reported to the rest of the team.
- Genetic counsellor
A genetic counsellor is a patient facing role that supports patients through the testing and diagnoses. They assess the genomic risk, help to communicate complex genomic information and support the patient with their diagnosis. The counsellor will represent patients in meetings with the multi-disciplinary team meetings and communicate the decisions and results back to the patients to ensure they understand what it means for them.
This work overlaps with the role of a clinical geneticist, but they can also offer counselling to the patient to deal with a diagnosis.
- Clinical geneticist
A clinical geneticist is a doctor who specialises in genomics. The clinical geneticist is part of the multi-disciplinary team and help find answers for patients. They see the patient presenting with a condition and suggest what genetic component could be at play. They also receive referrals from GPs, and are responsible for the long-term medical care of the patient both for those with a genomic diagnosis and those who are looking for answers.
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