University of Washington

Clinical Human Medical Genetics
MOLMED 513, Autumn/Winter/Spring, 4 credits


NOTE: This course requires extensive preparation, including online trainings and vaccinations, that must begin at minimum the quarter before you plan to take the course. Please carefully read through the information about preparing for MOLMED 513.

Course Description and Objective
Students enrolled in the MOLMED 513 will observe and participate in patient evaluations in Medical Genetics clinics at the University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.  This will allow graduate students to gain insight and experience into the clinical implications of biomedical research, as well as understanding how questions raised in the clinical realm can be brought back to the lab to identify lines of research and to guide inquiry.

The educational objectives are:

  • To understand the process by which individuals with or at risk for genetic disorders are assessed on clinical grounds
  • To understand the role of genetic testing in clinical evaluation
  • To learn how to interpret genetic testing and the meaning of mutations and variants of uncertain significance
  • To understand the integration of basic research, clinical research and clinical investigation
  • To assess and critique medical genetic literature
  • To understand the role of research in augmenting clinical care of individuals

We have found that graduate students and post-doctoral fellows who have clinical involvement — who meet individuals affected with the disease they study in the laboratory, or work with physicians to appropriately identify and treat specific diseases, in individual patients — see immediately the importance and relevance of their basic science training, and develop a sophisticated, first-hand appreciation of the needs and challenges of clinical and translational research. This sort of experience invariably leads to a deeper dedication to science that has medical relevance, and for a passion in many trainees to pursue careers that meld clinical and basic science. The Clinical Rotation in Human Medical Genetics will provide this type of experience for those trainees in the Molecular Medicine Certificate Program who are interested in first-hand clinical contact.

Limited enrollment, instructor’s permission required.

Course Contacts

Peter H. Byers, MD, Course co-Director (
Mitzi L. Murray ,MD, MA, Course co-Director (
Coordinator:  Steve Berard ( or