2015-2016 Human Genetics Courses
Advanced Human Genetics I
This seminar in contemporary human genetics spans several levels of biological organization: the genetics of cells, individuals, families, and populations. Topics include pedigree analysis, cytogenetics, molecular biology of DNA/RNA synthesis and expression, epigenetic regulation of genetic loci, mitochondrial inheritance, complications and exceptions in pedigree analysis, diagnostic techniques of molecular genetics, mutations and polymorphisms, linkage and gene discovery, multifactorial inheritance, risk estimation, Hardy-Weinberg equilibria, Bayesian calculations, population genetics, lod scores, malformation/deformation syndromes and sequences, and cancer genetics.
Advanced Human Genetics II
This course is a continuation of Advanced Human Genetics I
Biochemistry of Genetic Disease
This course examines the chemistry and metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids. Biochemical abnormalities seen in certain genetic diseases are discussed and correlated with the disease phenotype. Emphasis is placed on DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis, using selected genetic diseases as models. The risks, benefits, and limitations of state newborn screening programs and heterozygote carrier testing are detailed.
Every student in the Joan H. Marks Human Genetics Program is required to complete a capstone experience and submit a manuscript documenting the experience or project to fulfill the requirements for obtaining a master’s degree in Human Genetics from the Graduate Studies division of Sarah Lawrence College.
Genetics Across the Lifespan I
Over four semesters, students participate in weekly seminars designed to introduce and integrate scientific, psychosocial, and ethical issues in human genetics. Emphasis is placed on the development and evaluation of values, attitudes, and skills in professional helping and on the role of the genetic counselor as patient advocate. In some cases, students will work in small groups in a case-based approach, reviewing a variety of genetic disorders. The group format is designed to give students practical experience in working in a collaborative manner, which has become a requirement in the workplace. Additionally, a seasoned genetic counselor will discuss topics such as: coordinating a genetics clinic; protocols for patient care; history-taking skills; and educating the patient, both verbally and in writing. Special emphasis is placed on understanding the emotional content of language in all phases of the genetic counseling process, eliciting a client’s psychosocial needs, and the choice of vocabulary in explaining complex genetic phenomena. Additionally, this course will focus on the development of professional skills, separate from clinical skills, that are necessary in the professional world. Topics will include resume writing, interviewing skills, job searches, negotiating salary and benefits, and the institutional personality. The final semester will continue to provide second-year students with small group time to present, discuss, and examine challenging genetic counseling cases and issues that arise from their second-year internship experiences, utilizing experienced genetic counselors acting as facilitators. Ethical Issues will be covered in a series of workshops that explore specific bioethical issues that pertain to the field of human genetics, such as patients’ rights, informed consent, confidentiality, predictive genetic testing, and duty to warn.
Genetics Across the Lifespan II
This course is a continuation of Genetics Across the Lifespan I
This course considers the normal development of the human embryo from the earliest stages to birth. A review of reproductive physiology is followed by a description of the earliest stages of embryonic differentiation and the development of individual organ systems. The course focuses on the stages, developmental mechanisms, and organ systems with greatest potential for improving our understanding of the pathophysiology of congenital abnormalities and malformation syndromes. The role and timing of teratogens, the intrauterine environment in abnormal development, and the contribution of genetic factors are all considered. Through detailed examination of several complex malformation syndromes, students gain insight into the consequences of disrupting the normal synergy between different organ systems during development.
Introduction to Clinical Medicine - Graduate
This course reviews the basic clinical skills required to facilitate the transition between basic medical sciences and the study of specific genetic disease entities. Emphasis will be on understanding the symptoms and physical signs needed to construct and decipher the medical history, physical examinations, written case summary, and oral presentation. Specific genetic counseling cases, as well as general principles, will be discussed in a workshop format.
Medical Genetics Seminar
This yearlong seminar is taught by 20 clinical and molecular geneticists drawn from medical schools in the greater New York area. Seminar topics include: cytogenetics, cytogenetic techniques, sex chromosome abnormalities and disorders of sex differentiation, autosomal and X-linked abnormalities, population genetics, genetically lethal conditions, biochemical genetics and inborn errors of metabolism, developmental genetics, environmental teratogens, neurogenetics, immunogenetics, genetic polymorphisms, multifactorial inheritance, infertility and assisted reproductive technologies, cancer genetics, genetics of craniosynostoses, advanced topics in linkage and lod scores, detection and counseling for detection of prenatal anomalies based on ultrasonography and fetal echocardiography, and genetic disorders of special organ systems. Molecular diagnosis of genetic diseases is emphasized. Genetic counselors supplement the genetics seminars with discussion of the psychosocial issues and counseling techniques for many of the topics. The course requires the writing of a master’s thesis.
Professional Issues in Genetic Counseling I - Graduate
The focus of this two part course is to help students develop a professional identity as a genetic counselor in the context of both the healthcare setting and the community as a whole. Topics presented Part I may include resume/cover letter writing, interviewing, summer rotation preparation, performance evaluation and the supervisory relationship.
Professional Issues in Genetic Counseling II
The focus of this two part course is to help students develop a professional identity as a genetic counselor in the context of both the healthcare setting and the community as a whole. Topics presented in Part II of this course may include networking, salary negotiation strategies, billing and reimbursement, licensure, marketing, grant writing, self-care, exam preparation, supervision models and expanded career roles.
Seminar in Genetic Counseling
This yearlong seminar involves an intensive study of the assessment and treatment of individuals and families with genetic problems. Through role-playing, videotape, and live supervision, students become familiar with the skills needed to communicate with patients of all backgrounds. Students also learn to interpret specific genetic applications as outgrowths of personality traits and family structure. They learn how to develop therapeutic interventions designed to enhance the effectiveness of communicating genetic information to at-risk patients, in part through detailed analysis of changes observed during counseling sessions.