Analyzing and evaluating patients with genetic diseases and disorders is part of the job description of a clinical geneticist. The individual is a physician who screens patients for inherited conditions that can result from alterations in normal DNA.
A clinical geneticist is a physician who diagnoses and prescribes treatment for patients with conditions that result from genetic anomalies.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Clinical Geneticist
- Gathers data and evaluates the medical histories of patients and their families.
- Collects and analyzes DNA samples from patients and family members.
- Uses DNA mapping techniques and biochemical processes including blot analysis, gel electrophoresis and polymerase chain reaction.
- Trains laboratory technicians in proper safety protocols.
- Supervises lab technicians who perform the DNA tests.
- Reviews laboratory results of genetic research.
- Manages the collection of relevant data regarding patient histories.
- Coordinates with genetic counselors to prescribe a plan of treatment for patients suffering from genetic disorders and conditions.
- Collaborates with other physicians and biologists to determine the specific genetic tests that need to be performed on a patient.
- Maintains complete and accurate records of research, methodology, processes, procedures and test results.
- Documents results of experiments in scientific journals and presents findings at medical conferences.
- Maintains computer databases of genetic information.
- Supervises geneticists and technicians on genetic technicians on genetic research projects.
- Attends educational conferences.
- Reads scientific literature relating to genetics to stay up-to-date on discoveries and developments in the field.
- Seeks funds for research by writing grants and white papers and organizing fundraising events.
- Works to improve existing techniques in genetic research and treatment of patients.
- Strives to enhance and improve treatment techniques for people with genetic diseases and disorders.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Must have exceptionalanalytical skills.
- Must be highly observant and detail oriented.
- Must have excellent computer and technology skills and knowledge of genetic software.
- Must have superior problem solving and decision making skills.
- Excellent critical thinking skills.
- Strong verbal and written communication skills.
- Must have the ability to effectively train subordinates.
- The ability to monitor and control resources.
- Strong time management skills.
Education and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree in Biological or Physical Science.
- Medical Doctor (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Degree which requires eight years of study.
- Certification following six years of clinical residency.
- United States Medical Licensing Examination or USMLE completion to obtain license to practice medicine in the U.S.
- Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam or COMLEX completion to obtain a license to practice as an osteopath in the U.S.
- Time is spent both in a clinical environment working with the patients or in a laboratory conducting experiments and documenting test results.
- Must be able to work as a component of a genetic team with the goal of improving the quality of life for patients who suffer from genetic abnormalities.
- Must be able to observe mandatory safety procedures and work with hazardous substances as well as radioactive materials.
- Time is spent working long hours and even weekends to complete experiments and obtain test results.
- Salaries range from $60,000 to $135,000 depending on years of experience, amount and quality of published works and the size and complexity of the employer’s facility.