Research Centre for Medical Genetics
115522, Moscow,
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The Institute of Higher and Additional Vocational Education has commenced studies

Today, according to the FSBI Academician N.P. Bochkov Research Centre for Medical Genetics the leading medical genetics institution in Russia, only 340 geneticists work in the national medical and genetics service. A geneticist and a laboratory geneticist are truly rare specialties.

The scientific progress and high level of medicine in Russia are impossible without training the qualified specialists in medical genetics.

A new Institute of Higher and Additional Vocational Education (IH&AVE) was formed as part of FSBI Academician N.P. Bochkov Research Centre for Medical Genetics. Today it is one of the main platforms for training specialists in medical genetics through residency and postgraduate programs. The most important area of the Institute's development for the coming years is the education of physicians of various specialties under programs of additional vocational education in clinical and laboratory genetics.

Today, there are 10 medical genetics departments at the Institute, including the Department of Medical Genetics; Ophthalmogenetics; Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics; Biochemical Genetics and Hereditary Metabolic Diseases; Cytogenetics and Chromosomal Diseases; Genetics of Neurological Diseases; Genetics of Respiratory Diseases; Oncogenetics; Genetics of Endocrine Diseases; and Department of Bioethical Issues of Medical Genetics. The teaching staff consists of experienced practitioners who are members of expert groups in development of clinical guidelines, educational and professional standards in medical genetics, outstanding scientists, recognized both in Russia and abroad, and experts of the Orphanet International Consortium, - a total of 50 people.

IH&AVE RCMG has built a system of "end-to-end teaching" suggesting training various medical practitioners to identify any hereditary pathologies in patients relating to a doctor’s professional medical field.

New employees of the IH&AVE Institute, who were specially invited to work at the departments, are already actively teaching residents and postgraduate students and preparing topical advanced training programs for physicians, taking into account their particular specialty. The Department of Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics, the teaching staff consisting of leading experts in the field of DNA-diagnostics, namely Professor A.V. Polyakov, Dr. of biol. sci, RAS corresponding member, O.A. Shchagina, Candidate of med. sci., O.P. Ryzhkova, Candidate of med. sci., and T.A. Adyan, Candidate of med. sci., train residents and graduate students in modern sequencing and genome analysis methods. The training process includes both theoretical training and mastery of practical skills. The Department of Oncogenetics teachers, including Associate Professor D.S. Mikhailenko, Candidate of med. sci., A.A. Alimov, PhD, Dr.in biology, and V.D. Yakushina, PhD, introduce students to the main genetic mechanisms of carcinogenesis, modern approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of hereditary cancer diseases. They discuss the results of the most relevant studies recently published in specialized Russian and foreign journals.

“Mission of the new IH&AVE Institute within the FSBI RCMG structure is to develop the Russian science potential staff, education and healthcare in medical genetics so, that to solve priority tasks of genetic technologies development program in the Russian Federation”, Tatiana Bukharova, Director of the Institute of Higher and Additional Vocational Education under FSBI RCMG, said. “The Institute will be a source of highly qualified personnel with world-class interdisciplinary training to provide research in genetic technologies, including genetic editing technologies, in accordance with the May Decree of the President of Russia. The development vector of modern society is directed at the constant growth and improvement of personal qualities and professional skills of each individual. This development is especially important for doctors, on whom the life and health of each of us depends. Genetics is one of the few fields of medicine that forms new knowledge about causes of diseases and develops new methods of therapy at an ever-increasing rate. Today's doctors feel an urgent need to expand their knowledge of genetic technologies, including the pathogenetic mechanisms of hereditary pathologies and principles of using modern therapeutic drugs, including targeted drugs for correcting "broken" genes or proteins. The new IH&AVE Institute aims primarily to train highly qualified specialists in clinical and laboratory genetics who are ready to provide medical care to patients with rare hereditary diseases, including sporadic mutations, develop new approaches to diagnosing genetic disorders, and are capable of conducting basic scientific research at the world level, publishing the results in highly rated scientific journals. The Institute sees its key goal in introducing knowledge about genetic causes of diseases and special approaches to monitoring and treatment of patients with such diseases into the practice of physicians of various specialties in all Russian territories. We find its very important to create an environment for professional development of our residents, postgraduate students, and trainees, providing them with the opportunity to use the knowledge and experience of our faculty, relying on their support, sharing their research interests, using perfectly equipped state-of-the-art material and technical base of RCMG, which allows clinical and laboratory research at the level of the world's largest research centers. We pay great attention to individual interests and needs of our residents and postgraduate students and focus on forming individual educational trajectories for each of them.”

“Today, the Institute is training 27 residents in genetics and laboratory genetics. Last year the number of students was only 15, and in a year, we expect 35 residents. In the 2020 enrollment campaign, the number of budget-funded enrollment positions for the Genetics specialty increased by two-thirds.”

“Knowledge in molecular genetic diagnostic technologies is of particular importance in the era of their active development”, Alexander Polyakov, Head of the IH&AVE Department of Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics, Head of the RCMG DNA-Diagnostics Laboratory, Corresponding Member of RAS, said. “The today's physicians of various clinical specialties need relevant knowledge in DNA diagnosis and interpretation of molecular genetic analysis results, which will be the focus of our Department's training”.

“Today, molecular genetic tests have become an integral part of laboratory diagnosis in cancer diseases. Identification of germinal mutations allows accurate diagnosis of hereditary cancer of breast, ovaries, colon and other syndromes with high predisposition to tumor development in certain target organs”, Dmitry Mikhailenko, Head of the IH&AVE Department of Oncogenetics, said. “But much more important the annual increase in the number of tests for somatic mutations that determine tumor sensitivity to specific anti-tumor drugs. This allows the appropriate prescription of targeted, chemo-, immuno- and combination therapies as part of the treatment protocols for advanced and metastatic cancers (melanoma, colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and many other types of tumors). Genetic analysis techniques based on high-throughput sequencing are becoming routine. Our Department focuses on helping the oncologists, counselling geneticists and other physicians understand all the complexities of modern molecular genetic testing in oncology and apply its results to treat patients effectively.”

The graduates of IH&AVE, established under Research Center for Medical Genetics, are in demand in medical genetic consultation offices all over Russia. Targeted training of specialists for regional medical institutions experiencing an acute shortage of staff is actively carried out. In the near future, IH&AVE will start training cycles under programs of additional vocational education for doctors of various specialties, which will increase the level of doctors' knowledge in hereditary pathologies and the effectiveness of patient care.