Genomic Medicine Education at UCSF

Genomic medicine has the potential to fundamentally shift how healthcare is practiced. At UCSF, our aim is to address the education gap in this rapidly evolving field so that health care providers can evaluate and deliver genomics in the course of clinical care.

Graduate Division | School of Medicine | School of Nursing | School of Pharmacy

UCSF Graduate Division

The UCSF Graduate Division provides outstanding education and training in basic and translational, social and population, and clinical sciences where genomics is a key component. A variety of programs are available to accommodate different students interests.

BMS is an interdisciplinary graduate research program that equips students with the training and research tools to study the function of tissue and organ systems in development, physiology, and disease. The study of these higher levels of biological systems integration represents one of the most important challenges in modern cell and molecular biology.

The PSPG prepares independent, creative leaders in the pharmaceutical sciences and in the application of genetics and genomics to the development of safe, effective drugs. A PhD from the PSPG program trains students to apply human genetics principles to understand the mechanistic basis for drug action and toxicity and to identify genetic markers that can be used to optimize drug therapy.

The BMI program prepares scientists to harness and apply the power of data to understand the complexities of human biology. It equips PhD students with the skills and knowledge in applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, computer science, physics, chemistry, and biology needed to study biological composition, structure, function, and evolution at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels. The field is essential, for without quantitative analysis of the massive and growing amounts of biological data generated by various systems, biology and -omics data cannot be interpreted or exploited.

UCSF School of Medicine

Medical students at UCSF have an opportunity to learn about genomic medicine during both undergraduate and graduate training, including programs in Medical Genetics and Genetic Counseling.

Undergraduate Medical Education in Genetics/Genomics

Director: Katherine Hyland, PhD

The UCSF Medical Genetics/Genomics curriculum is integrated throughout the Foundations 1 and Foundations 2 phases of the new SOM Bridges curriculum. For more information on the Bridges curriculum, see:
Bridges 4-Year Curriculum
Bridges for Beginners

Here is a summary of the Genetics and Genomics content in Bridges.

Year 1 (F1): We begin in the fall with basic principles of genetic variation, Mendelian inheritance and human disease in the ABC (Airways, Blood and Circulation) block, and continue with principles of genetic association and complex, multifactorial inheritance of common disease, and epigenetics in the H&I (Health and the Individual) block. In the winter/spring, basic principles of cancer genetics and Inborn errors of metabolism are introduced in the REGN (REGulatioN) block

Year 2 (F1): Prenatal genetics and genetic evaluation of intellectual disability/development delay are covered in the Life Stages block. Neurogenetics and repeat expansion diseases are covered in the BMB (Brain, Mind, Behavior) block.

Year 3 (F2): Integrated with clinical core clerkship rotations are Foundational Sciences in Foundations 2 (FS-in-F2) days, which advance and reinforce students’ understanding of foundational science through spiral learning from F1 combined with clinical inquiry. The genetics content in FS-in-F2 days includes familial cancer syndromes, clinical application of genetic and genomic testing techniques including whole exome sequencing and cell free DNA testing, inborn errors of metabolism, and prenatal screening. The UCSF500 Cancer Gene Panel and the UCSF Clinical Exome Sequencing tests will be highlighted.

Directors: Katherine Hyland, PhD
The program is taught by a team of Genetics Faculty

IDS 170.03 Genomic and Precision Medicine Elective (2 units)

Course Description
This course provides students with an opportunity for in-depth analysis of genomic testing, including ethical/legal/social issues, process of informed consent, multidisciplinary application, data analysis, interpretation and communication of test results, clinical utility and future applications of genomics in medicine. There is an opportunity for students to participate in pharmacogenomic testing and counseling utilizing their own personal data. Students who wish to opt-out will be provided with proxy genetic test results.

Course Objectives

  • Describe the clinical utility of genomic testing, and the potential impact on medical practice now and in the future.
  • Describe the ethical, legal, social and economic issues associated with genomic testing, including how genomic data is legally protected and how that impacts health care profession utilization.
  • Describe the approach and principles of genetic counseling and obtaining patient informed consent.
  • Describe the uses, limitations and information obtained from important and current genomic testing methods.
  • Describe the approach to interpretation of genomic test results, including translation of raw data to clinical utility, and explain the implications of genomic test results in a patient centered manner.
  • Compare & contrast clinically actionable information obtained from pharmacogenomic tests versus tests used for multifactorial disorders or Mendelian disorders.
  • Understand basic and important statistical concepts required to interpret and evaluate genomic tests.
  • Integrate and apply the principles and concepts of this course to real case examples.


  • Introduction to Genomic and Precision Medicine: Opportunities & Challenges
  • Ethical, Legal, Social and Economic Considerations in Genetic & Genomic Testing; Informed Consent
  • Genetic Counseling & Pharmacogenomic testing
  • Genetic & Genomic Testing Methods & Technologies
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Interpretation of Pharmacogenomic Data & Test Results
  • Whole Exome Analysis: Rare Variant Interpretation
  • Multifactorial Disorders and GWAS
  • Analysis of Common Polymorphisms for MF Disorders
  • Clinical Application of Genomic Medicine: Present and Future

For more information, please contact Katherine Hyland

Faculty Advisors: Katherine Hyland, PhD, Mary Norton, MD, and Joseph Shieh, MD, PhD
Student Leaders: Colleen Carlston and Briana Garcia

The genetics/genomics student interest group (GGSIG) is a student-run organization founded to:

  • Provide resources and opportunities for students to explore their interest in genetics/genomics
  • Educate students about the impact of genetics/genomics on current and future clinical medicine
  • Connect medical students with local experts in genetics/genomics from clinical medicine and basic science
  • Provide career guidance and mentorship for students interested in pursuing genetics/genomics

Graduate Medical Education in Genetics/Genomics

The Medical Genetics Residency Program program trains physicians in genomic-based medical care along with their primary residency. Our trainees learn to apply molecular testing, high-throughput sequencing, cytogenetic techniques, and to provide comprehensive care for patients with a variety of medical conditions. The background of our residents is typically in pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, or family medicine; however physicians from many specialties are considered.

UCSF offers a Master of Science in Genetic Counseling to students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare services that combines medical genetics knowledge and counseling skills.

The ABMG fellowship is offered through the Division of Medical Genetics.  The goal of this laboratory fellowship program is to train individuals with a doctoral degree (MD, DO and/or PhD) to perform and interpret genetic laboratory analyses relevant to the diagnosis and management of human genetic diseases.

The MGP program is one year ACGME-accredited fellowship offered through the UCSF Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine includes training in the areas of cancer genetics (solid tumors and hematopathology), inherited disease, infectious disease, forensics, pharmacogenomics and cytogenetics. Fellows learn the methodologies used to perform molecular testing, how to interpret and report test results, how to develop and validate new testing, how to oversee a molecular pathology laboratory, and how to serve as consultants to the clinical services.

UCSF School of Nursing

Nursing students at UCSF can choose from several genomics-related courses to take during their training. For those interested in more in-depth study, our Nursing Masters students have the opportunity to elect a minor in genomics.

UCSF offers a Masters of Science Genomics Minor for nursing students. The Minor was designed to provide a spectrum of content related to human genomics and includes: basic genomic science; genetic variation and patterns of inheritance; genetic basis of disease (cancer, cardiovascular, gerontology disorders); genetic screening and diagnosis; pharmacogenetics; genetic therapies; and the ethical, social and policy implications related to genetic information technology for culturally competent health care delivery.

UCSF School of Pharmacy

The UCSF School of Pharmacy is one of the first pharmacy schools in the nation to offer its students genetic testing for drug response through Genetics and Pharmacogenomics, a course open to first year pharmacy students each Spring.