New Bachelor Degree Program Launched at LSMU: Medical and Veterinary Genetics!
One of the top world specialties, Medical and Veterinary Genetics (MVG), is now offered at LSMU in English. The 3.5-year program differs from other higher education programs in that it does not only prepare broad-profile geneticists, but students also acquire medical and veterinary knowledge. The program provides a unique possibility to develop competences for the understanding of disease pathogenesis through Molecular Biology related subjects.
MVG graduates can work in a variety of fields: health care, veterinary and food safety services, applied and fundamental science research, diagnostic, forensic laboratories, etc. or continue studies in Master and PhD degree programs in various Lithuanian or foreign institutions.
MVG program graduates shared their insights, experiences, and recommendations for prospective students:
1. Why have you chosen this specialty? What did you expect from this program?
I was led by genuine curiosity to try out this program. We only got basics about genetics at school, so I could not even imagine what to expect, what knowledge I would gain, and what would happen next. The field seemed very intriguing.
Studies in this field expanded my knowledge of genetics and exceeded the expectations by providing not only theoretical but also very useful practical skills.
2. What was the most exciting, motivating during the studies?
The most fascinating thing during such studies is that one can learn and practice new genetics-related things. The most memorable experiences were in the lab, where one gets to hold a pipetman for the very first time, extract DNA from one’s saliva or prepare and count chromosomes from a hair of a pig. I also enjoyed friendly communication of teachers with students.
Besides conducting research, we also learned to interpret the obtained results, and present specific research conclusions. During the preparation of the final research work, students have an opportunity to conduct a small experiment/research, the results of which can be later presented at scientific conferences.
3. What have you learned and how do you apply your knowledge?
I am a PhD student in the field of biology. My thesis is focused on genetics/epigenetics and cancer research. I have studied Medical and Veterinary Genetics, where I learned the basics of genetics that are useful for my everyday work. I am happy that I love what I do and can improve my skills and knowledge every day.
Genetics Science allows exploring diseases applying the most recent methods at the smallest molecular level. We learned research methods not only theoretically, but also practically during laboratory work in newly equipped laboratories. Every student had to conduct one’s own research. We also went to other labs, e.g., the Institute of Crop Production in the Babtai town, where we could see how research on plants was conducted, not just study about it from books.
I would think this specialty is for diligent and patient people, especially those who think of pursuing their careers in science.
Graduates from Medical and Veterinary Genetics are trained or given at least basic skills in a number of analytical methods: DNA and RNA extraction, concentration and purity determination, PCR, electrophoresis, polymorphism analysis, bioinformatic data analysis, DNA methylation analysis, gene expression analysis, cytogenetic and molecular genetic analysis; basic cell culture techniques and methods; immunoassay methods. They know basic laboratory procedures for assurance of accuracy and precision of test results.
4. Why is it worth choosing this specialty, and what can graduates do after completing MVG?
This study program serves as a foundation for a future career in becoming a scientist in any field of human or animal research.
I find genetics an interesting and relatively new direction that allows constantly deepening knowledge and discovering new things. MVG is a field that encompasses not only the human but also the animal world, delving into laws of heredity and variability; students acquire basics of cell biology, histology, medical and veterinary genetics, work in a clinical laboratory. This makes it possible to acquire various competencies, which later facilitate job search.
As the program is rather broad, after graduation, different perspectives are available based on one’s preferred field. It is also a great specialty for individuals who want to work in biomedicine but are more interested in work that does not have direct contact with patients/animals/research subjects. However, teamwork, communication and collaboration are very important in this field.
5. What would you wish for perspective MVG students?
For those who are interested in studying genetics, I wish to be open-minded and explore the newest things, non-traditional approaches, choose the field of focus wisely and follow this path consistently. In this case, one will accumulate knowledge that can be very useful during a career. I also wish prospective students not to be afraid to try, be patient, also willingness, sometimes simple luck and desire to learn.For more information about the program and application, please, follow https://apply.lsmuni.lt/courses/course/178-bsc-medical-and-veterinary-genetics