Precision medicine (also called personalized or genomic medicine) – clinical care based on knowledge of patient-specific genome variation – utilizes the genetic/genomic changes as key elements in defining disease and determining treatment.  While in certain cases genetic- and genomic-based diagnoses and treatments are in use, for many diseases significant challenges remain to be overcome to make the routine practice of precision medicine a reality.  These challenges include: determining whether sequence variation is medically relevant (pathogenic); achieving comprehensive phenotypic characterization in standardized formats; developing therapeutic approaches specific to pathogenic variation while minimizing unwanted side-effects; determining whether genetic/genomic information affects overall patient outcomes; and resolving policy & ethical issues related to reporting and delivery of genomic information to patients and clinicians.

The Precision Medicine Pathway will prepare students to be at the forefront of meeting the challenges in defining and implementing precision medicine.  The Pathway will introduce students to the use of genomic and genetic information in the diagnosis and treatment of disease, from covering current concepts and practice to identifying gaps that remain to be filled.  The Pathway will (a) expand students’ educational experience into the clinical realm; (b) facilitate making clinical connections related to thesis research, where relevant; (c) provide career path information, from introducing potential areas for postdoctoral research to alternatives to the traditional Principle Investigator track.


The Pathway is available to graduate students in the 2nd and 3rd year who have knowledge in genetics, genomics and bioinformatics, in most cases through the Division of Biological and Biomedical Science Programs – Human Statistical Genetics, Computational Systems Biology, and Molecular Genetics & Genomics.  This knowledge base will allow lectures and discussions to be at an advanced level in genetics and genomics, highlighting clinical aspects.

We will accept up to 10 students annually.

The Pathway includes the following components

I) Genetics & Genomics of Disease Class
II) Human Genetics Journal club
III) Clinical connections
IV) Annual educational retreat

For questions about the Pathway, contact PMPathway@genetics.wustl.edu

Pathway Co-directors,

Tim Schedl (Department of Genetics)
Chris Gurnett (Department of Neurology)
John Welch (Department of Medicine)

The Genetics & Genomics of Disease Pathway is generously supported by

Department of Genetics                   Department of Medicine                  Department of Neurology

Department of Pathology                 Department of Pediatrics                 Department of Surgery