When I began writing this blog post I was thinking back to July 2018, I had accepted my place on the STP in Genomics at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. Then I received an email from my training officer asking me what rotations I would like to choose for my first year. My first thought was ‘Wow this is really real, I’m actually going to be on the STP?!’, before panicking about how I was supposed to decide on the departments I would like to spend my rotations in this early on!
The Cancer Genomics pathway represents the evolution of what the STP forbearers might have referred to as Molecular Pathology, and I love it.
You had me at ‘genomics’, tell me more!
As an STP trainee, I work in the genetics laboratory, where we carry out tests on patient’s genetic material to try and diagnose genetic disease. This can involve looking down the microscope at peoples’ chromosomes (cytogenetics) or testing DNA for mutations (molecular genetics). Molecular and Cytogenetics are becoming more and more intertwined, so as an STP in genetics/genomics you train in both. This can be quite a challenge as in many departments they are still very much separate, so you’ll have to manage your time well between the two! Clinical scientists in genetics are more like analysts, we don’t see patients face-to-face and hardly spend any time in the lab- our main role is to interpret the results that come out of the lab and write reports to the doctors and genetic counsellors, who then give the result to the patient.