Genomic medicine is a rapidly growing and dynamic field that needs skilled professionals at every stage of its life cycle: from nurses, midwives and GPs facilitating patient conversations and counselling on genomics, through genomic laboratory testing and clinical diagnostics, to data analytics (bioinformatics) and exploratory genomic science.
Whether you have GCSEs or NVQs, previous work experience, a science degree, or a PhD, there will be a route into genomic healthcare for you. Training courses are available at every entry point, and once you are working within genomic medicine, further training can open up new pathways and boost your career progression.
Health Education England provides some good information on many of these roles.
The work of East Genomic Laboratory Hub is dependent on a number of roles. We provide much support and training to our staff so they have the skills they need and the ability to progress.
Roles within East GLH include:
Our healthcare scientists examine samples of patients' nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) to identify genetic and genomic alterations that may be responsible for inherited and acquired diseases or conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or cancer. They are responsible for providing reports on the results to relevant clinicians; they also liaise with genetic counsellors who are often best placed to inform patients of the findings.
At East GLH we have a range of healthcare scientists, technical and analytical, who work on our tests within cancer, rare diseases and haematological malignancy.
You can enter a career in healthcare science, specialising in genomics, by taking an accredited undergraduate degree or by securing a place on the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP), or as a graduate by pursuing postgraduate studies or participating in the NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP).
Whilst there are many Biomedical Science degrees, it is worth finding out which ones are accredited if you know this is your preferred career path. the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (IBMS) has a list of accredited courses on its website.
For those with a non-accredited science degree seeking a route to Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registration, they will need to have their degree assessed by the IBMS. It may be necessary for individuals to undertake additional learning to acquire the requisite level of knowledge. The exact requirement will depend on the content of the applicant’s honours degree.
Bioinformaticians apply information technology to biological, medical, and health research. They use computational tools to gather and analyse data in fields such as population, biology, genetics, and pharmaceutical development.
Our Bioinformatics team at East GLH is responsible for giving meaning to genomic data, which can be used to make a diagnosis for a patient with a rare condition or to identify the best treatment for a patient with cancer.
Their input is vital. The team works closely with our clinical scientists as well as the relevant clinicians and genetic counsellors across the region as necessary.
There are a range of places you can study bioinformatics, including the following which are local to our main base in Cambridge:
- University of Cambridge – Undergraduate and Masters courses
- Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) – Undergraduate and Masters
Informatics is the study of the behaviour and structure of any system that generates, stores, processes and then presents information; it is basically the science of information. It takes into consideration the interaction between the information systems and the user, as well as the construction of the interfaces between the two, such as the user interface.
Our informatics lead at East GLH works closely with all our lead scientists and has a close link with our Information Governance team (based within Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust), to ensure any future systems, surveys and data collection are set up in the correct way and information stored appropriately.
Clinical geneticists will see anyone referred to them with a genetic concern or condition.
They work as part of a multidisciplinary team with genetic counsellors and laboratory scientists to provide diagnostic and counselling services for adults, children, and families with, or at risk of, conditions which may have a genetic basis.
Clinical geneticists also work closely with molecular genetic and cytogenetic scientists, who perform most of the tests they request, to interpret results.
Further information on the role and can be found here Clinical genetics | Health Careers
Genetic counsellors are trained in both genetic medicine and counselling. It is their role to help patients understand and make decisions in situations where their genes affect their health.
They do this through taking and analysing family history information, assessing the risks of inheriting or passing on a medical condition, ordering and interpreting genetic and genomic tests, and explaining test results to patients and their relatives. Genetic counsellors also use techniques from counselling to help patients adjust to having a genetic or genomic condition, and to help them make difficult decisions associated with this.
Our teams at East Genomics also rely heavily on administration, programme managers, education and communications.
Current job vacances
We will keep any current job vacancies listed below. Alternatively you can follow us on Twitter.
We are currently recruiting for a Nursing Lead as well as a Midwifery Lead. Band 8b, part-time. Closing dates 03/10/21. Whilst recruitment for these roles is being coordinated by Cambridge, the successful candidate will be employed by and located at the nearest NHS Trust Alliance Partner which includes Norfolk and Norwich University NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.