University of South Florida

USF Health offers new course in human genomics this fall

Watch City of Tampa TV show on Genomics at USF Health 

Genomics, the study of genes and their function, is a burgeoning field that is changing the face of medicine and other health professions as it gives practitioners, and even patients, unprecedented detail about diseases, conditions and even levels of health risk.

Beginning fall semester, USF Health will offer its first course in human genomics designed specifically for health professionals without advanced research training, including those in medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy and physical therapy.

Human 3D DNA genetic science person

Human Genomics in Medicine and Public Health (PHC 6943/GMS 7930) will introduce genomics and modern genetic technologies to master’s-level and senior undergraduate health students with limited training in molecular biology and biochemistry.  The course, taught by genomics experts from the colleges of Medicine and Public Health, will integrate these rapidly developing technologies into the real-world practice of personal health decisions and public health initiatives encompassing population health.

The curriculum will cover information needed to meet nursing as well as public health competencies in genomics.

Michael White, PhD, professor of global health and technical director of the new course, says the human genome is an instruction manual for building and maintaining a human being.


Michael White, PhD

“Only very recently has medicine had the tools to translate the DNA language of the complete instruction manual. The manual for each of us has unique pages that together make up our individual book of life.  Today, understanding each book of life is within our grasp, and this has profound implications for our health,” said Dr. White, a practitioner of genomics and bioinformatics in research.

“It will fall to health professionals at all levels to help us navigate this new world of genomics and teach us to confidently read and understand our own book of life.”

Dr. White designed the curriculum with course clinical director Judith Ranells, MD, chief of the Division of Genetics and Metabolism in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and a practitioner of clinical genetics.


Judith Ranells, MD

“In this course we will train front-line health professionals how the new DNA decoding tools work and how genome-based knowledge will impact the future of individual health decisions, including the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease,” Dr. Ranells said. “We will also consider strategies for preventing the potential misuse of genomic information and ensuring patient confidentiality.”

Registration in currently open for Human Genomics in Medicine and Public Health, which will be held 5 to 7:45 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Interdisciplinary Research Building in the USF Research Park.  For more information, please contact either of the course directors: Dr. White at or Dr. Ranells at


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