Educational Opportunities

Pharmacogenomic Educational Opportunities

  • Courses and research opportunities for graduate and professional students in pharmacogenomics
  • Research opportunities to undergraduate students interested in biomedical science careers. Contact the PUMA faculty for undergraduate research opportunities in the area of pharmacogenomics.
  • Training opportunities for postdoctoral education (e.g. postdoctoral fellowships). If interested in pursuing postdoctoral training in pharmacogenomics, please contact our individual faculty members.
  • Precision Medicine Seminar Series the 1st Friday of every month.

Pharmacogenomics Course

Phar 6224 is a 2-credit elective course oriented for 2nd and 3rd year pharmacy and graduate students. This course consists of lectures and in class discussions designed to introduce the theory and practice of pharmacogenomics. The goal of the course is to give students an understanding of the principles of human genetics and genomics as they apply to improving the problems in drug therapy optimization and patient care. The genetic basis of variability in drug response can contribute to drug efficacy and toxicity, adverse drug reactions and drug-drug interactions. As such, pharmacists need an understanding of the genetic component of patient variability to deliver effective individualized pharmaceutical care. Understanding of the basics of pharmacogenomics will enable students to better understand and manage the new genomics-based tools as they become available, as well as make best treatment choices. The principles covered in this course will prepare pharmacists and clinical scientists to critically evaluate, interpret and apply this information.

Course Topics

Course Introduction: Course expectations, sequencing of material, course schedule.  
Introduction to the human genome: Introduction to genetic variation, types of variants, SNPs, coding and cis/trans regulatory variants, insertion/deletions, copy number variants.  Star allele nomenclature and SNPs vs haplotypes. DNA markers vs RNA expression from tissue
From DNA to a clinical result: Description of candidate SNP panels, GWAS panels, whole genome, whole exome sequencing and how each are used in PGx.  The bioinformatics behind PGx testing and the creation of a clinical interpretable report will be covered.  
Clinical Pharmacogenomic Implementation Consortium (CPIC):  Development of a clinical guideline – selecting drugs for guidelines, assessment of evidence, grading of evidence and publication.  
Pharmacogenomics in Psychiatry: Variants affecting drugs used for psychiatric indications such as the SSRIs and TCA will be presented.  The controversies and difficulty in using PGx in this field will be discussed.
Pharmacogenomics in Cardiology: The effect of genomic determinants on warfarin INR and outcomes, and the effect of genomic markers on statin related outcomes and mylagias will be covered.  The importance of using clinical factors with PGx markers for determining warfarin dose through the use of online dosing equations will be presented. Clinical consequences of pharmacogenomic based drug interactions.   The impact of how genetic variants modify the severity of a drug interaction.
Drug development in the post-genomic era: Use of genetics in the discovery and development of new therapies in the pharmaceutical industry e.g. imatinib, ivacaftor, maraviroc, CNS drugs of the future.  
Adult Neuropsychiatric PGx cases and interpretation of genetic results 
Pediatric Pharmacogenomics: Variants affecting common drugs used in children and special considerations of genetics in this population (e.g ADHD, PPIs, codeine, asthma)
Oncology: Genetic variation in tumors.  Mutations vs expression testing.  Technology to test for mutations, companion diagnostics vs laboratory developed testing. Pharmacogenomics in Phase I/II metabolism and drug transport of common anticancer therapies: germline genetic variants impacting pharmacokinetics. Precision Oncology – somatic alterations in the tumor impacting pharmacodynamics of anticancer therapies. Specific use cases of germline genetic variants for toxicity, somatic variants predicting response, and expression panels to select therapy (e.g. Oncotype, Mammaprint).
PGx tools to create phenotypes from genotypes:  Case examples of creation of phenotypes from genoytypes and alleles.  Examination of different PGx panels and the differing phenotype calls.  
 PGx tools and database: hands on exercises and cases:  Solving a PGx case without a CPIC guideline.  Complex cases.  
Field Trip to OneOme Company: OneOme was established by Invenshure and the Mayo Clinic, and provides a comprehensive, cost-effective pharmacogenomic testing panel.  OneOme’s key product offering is the RightMed® comprehensive test.
Ethical, social and legal issue: Equity of access, cost of treatments and genetics, possible adverse consequences of knowledge of risk alleles, duties to warn, returning genetic results to patients.
Ethics Debate – in class
Pros and Cons of Direct to Consumer PGx testing:  23andMe, Color Genomics.  Assessment of an actual 23andMe panel. 
Implementation of PGx in a health care system: Creation and description of a PGx inpatient service and a pharmacist run PGx clinic. Barriers in implementation and how to overcome.  
Genetic Counseling: Counseling on genetic findings, tools to assist in counseling, how to explain genetic and genetic variation to patients, relative risk, disease risk vs pharmacogenomic genes, case example on how to explain risk. 
Emerging areas in Genomics: Gene editing, CRISPR, emerging gene expression profiling, epigenetic shifts, tumor heterogeneity and plasticity, immunotherapy biomarker.