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Human Genetics

What is Human Genetics?

Human Genetics is the study of genes – or heredity – in humans. It examines the effects of these genes on both individuals and societies. It has developed rapidly in the last decade as new technology has made it possible to study genes in much greater detail and to rapidly sequence the genomes of humans and other species. A few examples of remarkable advances in knowledge include:
. The discovery of the molecular basis of many inherited disorders
. The development of genetic and stem-cell-based therapies for inherited disorders
. The ability to trace the evolution of mankind
. The application of DNA finger-printing to forensic science

Human Genetics: The course for you?

If you are interested in understanding how genetics is central to controlling every cell and its functions including the 10-100 trillion cells in the human body, to directing intricate programmes of development and to causing many different disorders when perturbed, this is the right course for you. If you want to understand how genetic information is driving the development of novel therapies, is enabling the individualisation of medicines targeted towards patients’ needs, is revealing our ancestries and how it underpins evolutionary biology, this is the degree for you.

Human Genetics @ Trinity

Human Genetics is run by the Department of Genetics, which is part of the School of Genetics and Microbiology and is located in the Smurfit Institute of Genetics with state-of-the-art research facilities. There are 15 members of faculty and a number of academic associates, working in a wide range of areas of Human Genetics covering everything from medical genetics, gene-based medicines, pharmacogenomics, stem cells to evolutionary genetics, amongst other areas. The Department of Genetics has an international reputation for high-quality research and more than 50 years of experience in teaching Genetics and Human Genetics to undergraduate students. The teaching of the Department is research-driven; undergraduates are taught by research-active scientists with excellent track records in their chosen fields.

Graduate skills and career opportunities

Many Human Genetics graduates go on to higher degrees (M.Sc. and/or PhD.) and take up careers in research in either academia or industry. Opportunities exist in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, agricultural organisations, medical or clinical diagnostic laboratories, forensics, public health and epidemiology programmes, and in teaching. Genetic counselling is a rapidly expanding field that might also interest you. Other graduates have gone into careers such as medicine, patent law or science journalism. Even if you choose a career not directly related to the scientific subject, the skills of critical thinking and problem solving provided by the Human Genetics degree will put you in high demand.

Your degree and what you’ll study

During the Junior Sophister (third) year, students will learn about the fundamentals of Human Genetics through a combination of lecture courses and practical classes. To this end, students will be exposed to different areas of Human Genetics ranging from medical genetics to the genetic programmes underpinning cell biology. Practical classes teach students about key techniques and analysis methods that are widely used in Human Genetics. In the Senior Sophister (fourth) year, students can choose, largely depending on their interests, from various lecture courses in different areas of Human Genetics. Students spend 10 to 12 weeks in a laboratory in the Institute and participate in on-going cutting edge research projects. Furthermore students write an in-depth literature review on a current topic in Human Genetics.

Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics, Genomics, Neurogenetics and Drosophila, Medical Genetics, Pharmacogenomics, Evolutionary Genetics, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Analytical Genetics Laboratory, Data Handling, Genetics tutorials, Review (Genetics), Broad Curriculum (see page 23).

Literature review; Research project; Medical and Cellular Genetics including Principles of Human Genetics, Transgenic Animals & Gene Therapy, Genetics & Epigenetics of Cancer, Prion-Like Proteins, Apoptosis, Stem Cell Biology, Molecular Evolution; Analytical & Molecular Genetics including Genetics & Immunology of Neural Diseases, Microbial Molecular Genetics, Developmental Genetics of Drosophila, Human Evolutionary Genetics, Genetics of Neural Development, Behavioural Genetics.

Students will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-year examinations.
Study abroad and internships opportunities

The Department helps students to secure internships in research laboratories (both in Ireland and internationally) over the summer period between the 3rd and 4th years, so that they can gain valuable research experience. Some students spend all or part of the summer period in US laboratories, again between 3rd and 4th year.


Further information
Tel: +353 1 896 1140


Last updated 6 December 2017 (Email).