Neurogenetics is a discipline that stands at the center of some of the most exciting translational clinical and basic research in neurology and human genetics.
Many of the fundamental processes underlying neurological disease remain elusive and/or poorly understood. Genetics and proteomics (the study of proteins produced by genes) can increase our understanding of predisposition to diseases so we can develop the next wave of therapies to treat neurological disease.
Advances in genomics and emerging technologies offer opportunities to better delineate neurological syndromes, understand neurological disease progression, and refine clinical treatments.
As genetic understanding and applications for the treatment of neurological disorders increase, another problem emerges: training the clinical neurologists to apply genetic analysis and the use of genomics.
The field of genetics has exploded in the past few years and is one of the most rapidly growing areas within biomedical sciences. Currently, performing genetic testing for a particular disease can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and often proves of little practical use. In the next few years, however, we anticipate the development of a $1,000 exome test, followed rapidly by a $1,000 genome test — allowing many more patients access to their genetic records.
Genetics is really a tool, like MRI, and like any tool it can be applied to a host of diseases. The challenge today is supporting researchers and clinicians in identifying how to use this powerful tool.
The Neurogenetics Program will help UC San Diego clinical neurologists understand the application of genomics while research continues into the genetic connections behind neurological disorders.
This training will empower our clinicians to realize the immense impact that delineation of genetically defined clinical phenotypes and endo-phenotypes can have in treating patients. The infusion of genetics concepts into the practice of neurology will enable trainees to:
- Realize new diagnostic connections
- Establish genetic – environmental interactions
- Provide greater prognostic abilities
- Allow for evaluation of new therapies based on pharmacogenetic information