Genomics Master’s series: a paradigm shift in healthcare

Satishkumar Krishnan, one of our funded students on the Master’s in Genomic Medicine, tells of his experience and motivation.

I am currently doing the bioinformatics module on the Genomics Educations Programme’s (GEP’s) MSc in Genomic Medicine . I am a passionate Biomedical Scientist working at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, where our motto is: “patients and their families first.” Patients are always at the heart of what we do.

I’ve been interested in science ever since I was a child. My father worked in the biostatistics department in Christian Medical College, Vellore, one of the leading hospitals in India. He used to regale me with stories about fascinating research studies that were being conducted. His stories inspired me, and I found myself to be naturally inclined towards the sciences during my studies, too. While I was at school, my elder brother started a degree in Biomedical Science, and he too would recount all the interesting things he used to do in his practical sessions in the laboratory. I was keen to follow in my father’s and brother’s footsteps, choosing biomedical science as my career, fundamentally, as I believed it would allow me to gain a deeper understanding of the causes, treatment and prevention of diseases. Today I am a happy and proud scientist, passionate about improving patient care and building on my own learning in the area of genomics.

Clinical and biomedical scientists in genomics

As an experienced multi-disciplinary Biomedical Scientist for the last 15 years, I have worked in various areas including haematology, blood transfusion, coagulation, microbiology, biochemistry, histology and cytology – both in India and in UK. One of my main roles is to analyse patient samples and aid clinicians in diagnosis, so that they can tailor clinical management on an individual basis.

I did my Master’s project in molecular pathology, under the supervision of Dr Elizabeth Hodges and Dr Rosalind Ganderton at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. I was lucky to have such motivational and inspiring guardians. Through working with them, my interest in molecular pathology and genetics grew, and I decided to do my doctorate. I came to know about the 100,000 Genomes Project through Dr Liz and Dr Ros, and the great need for NHS professionals to develop a greater understanding of genomic medicine in order for patients to benefit. As a Biomedical Scientist, I felt that these developments were key to my work, and I decided to pursue learning in the area.

Master’s programme

I am delighted to have been funded by the GEP to take the bioinformatics module of their Master’s at University of Southampton . So far, the course has been very interesting, with well-organised lectures and a range of interactive practical sessions. I think the practical sessions are so important as they allow us real hands-on experience that we can apply and relate to in practice. It is a great environment in which to train, too: learning alongside professionals from various different health care groups gives us the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise in a way that we wouldn’t normally. My cohort includes statisticians, scientists, doctors, bioinformaticians, mathematicians and biologists – all of whom can and will play a part in achieving the NHS’ mission of personalised medicine for all.

A paradigm shift in healthcare

This course offers an opportunity to understand genomics on a deeper level and conduct experiments which were once unthinkable. Genomics will surely increase our understanding of diseases, and will change the way we practice medicine. I want to learn and be a part of the great team that will bring a change in every patient’s life. I am therefore excited to begin my next generation sequencing research project. My hope is that it will aid clinicians in tailoring appropriate management strategies and integrating whole genome sequencing into routine diagnostics.

Satishkumar Krishnan is a biomedical scientist working at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. He is happy to be contacted here.

Are you interested in applying for a funded place on the HEE Master’s programme in Genomics Medicine? Click here to find out more!