Students who wish to study Human Genetics apply to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Stream (TR060) and may select Human Genetics as their specialist area for the third and fourth years at the end of the second year.
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:
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 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 12 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 ancient and modern human population 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.
Many Human Genetics graduates go on to higher degrees (M.Sc. and/or Ph.D.) and take up careers in research in either academia or industry. Opportunities exist in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, 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.
During 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 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
Subjects include: Medical Genetics, Pharmacogenomics, Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology, Neurogenetics Evolutionary Genetics, Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Analytical Genetics Laboratory, Human Genomics Data Handling, Human Genetics tutorials, Human Genetics Review.
Human Genetics literature review; Human Genetics Capstone research project; Lecture topics including Principles of Human Genetics, Transgenic Animals and Gene Therapy, Genetics and Epigenetics of Cancer, Prion-Like Proteins, Apoptosis, Stem Cell Biology, Molecular Evolution; Genetics and Immunology of Neural Diseases, Human Evolutionary Genetics, Genetics of Neural Development, Behavioural Genetics.
Students will be assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and end-of-semester examinations.
The Department helps students to secure internships in research laboratories (both in Ireland and internationally) over the summer period between the third and fourth years, so that they can gain valuable research experience. Some students spend all or part of the summer period in US laboratories, again between third and fourth year.
Students who wish to study Human Genetics apply to the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (TR060) and may select Human Genetics as their specialist area for the third and fourth years at the end of the second year.