Skip to main content

In their words: Scholarly Concentration Q&A with Genetics in Medicine co-directors

map shows the location of the genetics in medicine concentration in Indianapolis

In 2019, IU School of Medicine launched Scholarly Concentrations. To help students decide if a concentration topic is the right fit, concentration co-directors shared the inside scoop—from why they got involved in the concentration to how a specific topic can help students reach their goals.

Topic: Genetics in Medicine
Location: Indianapolis
Co-Directors: Dan Brady, PhD, and Theodore Wilson, MD

Introduce yourselves. Who are you and why did you decide to become involved in this Scholarly Concentration topic?

I am a clinical geneticist and specialize in the evaluation and treatment of children with birth defects and developmental delays. I find my specialty to be particularly interesting as we face unusual cases and diagnostic dilemmas daily. Unfortunately, my specialty has a shortage of talent in part because exposure to the specialty in medicine is pretty infrequent. The goal of this concentration is to increase exposure and competency to using genetics in your clinic whether you specialize in genetics specifically or are in another specialty that uses genetics in fraction of your patients. - Wilson

I am a scientist with a professional background from research to drug development. What I have seen over the past 10 years in drug development is the importance of genetics in the field of medicine. As the Graduate Student Advisor for Medical and Molecular Genetics it seemed like a golden opportunity to extend a deeper understanding of clinical genetics to our Medical Students as they prepare for their role in health care. – Brady

Tell us about your experience related to the concentration topic.

Everyday! – Wilson

OK, so I took Genetics 43 years ago as an undergraduate, and passed. My learning curve has been steep but I have worked with the FDA on cell and gene therapy applications so I understand the requirements for approving such therapies. – Brady

What are you most excited about in regards to Scholarly Concentrations and your concentration topic?

I am excited to work with young students, upcoming technologies, and diversity of experiences that students bring to the program. – Wilson

When students learn to “connect the dots” and see the link between symptoms, disease and treatment options that is exciting. The value in this Scholarly Concentration is building a knowledge base and perspective so our future clinicians can help patients.- Brady

What are a few important or interesting things students should know about this concentration?

Like all scholarly concentrations we are adapting our content to restrictions to coronavirus and remote access to most of our content. Still we want students to have exposure to working with chromosomes in the lab and hands on for diagnostic testing.

How is this concentration beneficial to a student’s personal and professional goals?

Genetics is changing so fast over time over time genetics is going to be integrated into many other clinics. Particularly for students who want to work with; rare conditions, practice in academic settings, and keep up with rapidly changing technology this rotation will be beneficial. Some students may have a hard time deciding which concentration to choose.

How can a student decide if this topic is the best fit for them?

The scholarly concentrations are set up to be extra content above and beyond what you would normally learn in medical school and or be asked to know for the national board exams. If you would want to spend your extra time reading and learning about genetics this would be a good SC for you.

What are the special resources and/or expertise on this concentration’s home campus or statewide (if a statewide concentration)?

At this time board certified medical geneticists are clustered to a clinical group in Indianapolis and our main clinical molecular lab which students participate in are geographically located in Indianapolis. We are converting as much as our content to accommodate remote learners though we don’t anticipate that all content will be able to be completed remotely.

If applicable, what is the academic and social culture like on the home campus?

We are a diverse and curious group! Previous small group sessions and journal clubs have been inviting friendly and inclusive.

You provided some examples of potential projects for this concentration.Can you provide some more details for what one or two different projects could look like?

At this time with coronavirus some new project opportunities are available and previous ones are no longer as feasible. We expect this to change over time and will make sure to be flexible so that students have

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
Author

IU School of Medicine

With more than 60 academic departments and specialty divisions across nine campuses and strong clinical partnerships with Indiana’s most advanced hospitals and physician networks, Indiana University School of Medicine is continuously advancing its miss...