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The University of Southampton

MEDI6128 Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Healthcare

Module Overview

Pharmacogenomics is playing a key role in our health care system. This module will describe the complexity of pharmacogenomics and the effect of medication on individuals based on their genetic make-up i.e. tailoring drug treatment to improve patient response and techniques to stratify patients at risk of adverse drug reactions. The module will use examples of known validated pharmacogenomic tests relevant to the use of drug treatments.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Pharmacogenomics and stratified health care, ensuring that healthcare professionals offer the 'right treatment, for the right person, at the right time’, is a fast developing area. This module will provide a comprehensive overview of the analytical strategies and techniques used in pharmacogenomics and explore some of the challenges and limitations in this field (e.g. availability of patient material for studies of adverse drug reactions which tend to be rare, allelic heterogeneity between different ethnic groups, patient compliance etc.). Biomarkers are the predictive tools for optimising drug response and preventing adverse drug reactions thus this module will also provide an overview of the different type of genomic biomarkers currently in use or emerging.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Discuss and evaluate the mechanism of several examples of genomically-determined differential drug response, and drug reaction
  • Appraise the strategies and analytical approaches for stratifying patients for optimal drug response or adverse drug reactions including ethnic differences, and how these translate into ‘companion diagnostics’
  • Identify and analyse the challenges and limitations of pharmacogenetic studies
  • Identify and evaluate the different types of current and emerging biomarkers used in personalised medicine
  • Discuss and critically evaluate how genomic information can enable development of drugs targeted for particular genotypes


• Genomic basis of: drug reaction, drug efficacy, ethnic differences in both these; and how these are applied in prescribing practice • Use of genomic information, for targeted drug development • Companion diagnostics and options for NHS service delivery models • Different types and examples of genomic-targeted intervention (examples of genomically-targeted clinical, therapeutic or lifestyle choices) • Genomic biomarkers: SNPs, variability of short sequence repeats, haplotypes, DNA modifications, e.g. methylation, deletions or insertions, copy number variants, RNA expression levels, RNA splicing, microRNA levels • Use of biomarkers in treatments other than cancer.

Special Features

The module will be taught by an international faculty, at the forefront of their respective academic disciplines and professions. Adult learning methods will be used throughout and an emphasis placed upon interactive learning, practical demonstration and the interpretation of clinical scenarios to reinforce learning. Extensive e-learning facilities will be available to foster independent study.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module will comprise two blocks of two days' intensive on-site teaching, each followed by approximately three weeks of independent study. A variety of learning and teaching methods will be adopted to promote a wide range of skills and meet the differing learning styles of the group. The on-site teaching will include seminars, practical demonstrations, discussions and exercises surrounding interpretation of data and clinical scenarios, and specialist lectures given by a range of academic and health care professionals. This will ensure a breadth and depth of perspective, giving a good balance between background theories and principles and practical experience. Off-site independent learning will take place on the virtual learning environment hosted by the UoS

Independent Study122
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Holgate ST. (2013). Stratified approaches to the treatment of asthma. Br J Clin Pharmacol. ,76 , pp. 277-91.

Genetics & Genomics in Medicine: Strachan, Goodship and Chinnery.

(2015). Genetics of Immune-Mediated Adverse Drug Reactions: a Comprehensive and Clinical Review.. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. ,48 , pp. 165-175.

Roychowdhury S, Chinnaiyan AM. (2014). Translating genomics for precision cancer medicine. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. ,15 , pp. 395-415.


Assessment Strategy

The assessment for the module provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes. There will be two components to the assessment i) 1500 word written assignment 1, and ii) 1500 word written assignment 2. The pass mark for the module and all assessed components is 50%. If you do not achieve the pass mark on this module by achieving 50% or more in all components, you may still pass by compensation. To do this, you must achieve a qualifying mark of 40% on each assessed component. Each of the component marks is then combined, using the appropriate weighting, to give an overall mark for the module. If this overall mark is greater than or equal to 50% you will have passed the module. If your overall mark is less than 50% when the weighting has been applied to the components, you will have failed the module. If you have not achieved 40% or more on all components, you cannot use compensation and have failed the module. If you have failed the module, you will have the opportunity to submit work at the next referral (re-sit) opportunity using the method outlined below. You must achieve the pass mark in all referred components. On passing your referrals, your final module mark will be capped at 50%.


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assignment  (1500 words) 50%
Written assignment  (1500 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Written assignment  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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