Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) has become the first academic partner in a new genomics education program launched by Genomenon, creator of the Mastermind genomic search engine providing search results from the full-text database of 6.5 million genomic-focused scientific articles.
“We feel strongly that Mastermind is the best way to interpret variants and make clinical decisions more quickly. We realized that schools like KGI are the future of genomics. We’re partners in equipping the next generation of genomic scientists,” says Candace Chapman, director of marketing for Genomenon, a privately held company founded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2014.
Barbara Fortini, an assistant professor of genetics in KGI’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics (MSGDA) program coordinator, adds, “It is a meeting of the minds. Genomenon is interested in making relevant products to understand variation in the human genome. KGI is interested in revolutionizing education and is the first of its kind to educate students for evolving roles in clinical genomics and genetic counseling.”
The relationship with Genomenon gives students in KGI’s new two-year MSGDA and Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MSGC) programs access to the professional version of Mastermind until graduation. This version offers the 14 MSGC and seven MSGDA students advanced genomic search capabilities, refined search results based on American College of Medical Genetics (AGMG) criteria, and deeper insights into each result.
“This will give our students familiarity with reading primary literature and how to use professional tools. Mastermind helps organize articles by the evidence in them. It takes you to appropriate information very quickly,” Fortini says.
She has already begun using Mastermind as a teaching tool in her Human Genomics course.
“The students saw the value immediately and especially liked the publication graph that lets you click on a visual representation. If you choose a disease and a gene, a screen shows a graph plotting the articles by their publication date and number of citations.”
Genomenon is also providing KGI with Mastermind Variant Interpretation Cards—a deck of overview, scoring, workflow, and criteria information that Chapman compares to flash cards. These help in learning the ACMG variant interpretation framework and preparing students to be able to decide whether a specific variant is causing a disease.
“The ACMG sets guidelines and has a flowchart of evidence you’re allowed to use and how much credence to give the evidence,” explains Fortini. “It’s hard to take this and make it something students can use. Genomenon’s cards help in talking about each type of evidence and how to group them to make a decision.”
Genomenon plans to continue providing these educational resources not only to the current KGI students, but also to subsequent classes in the MSGC and MSGDA programs.
“Access to Mastermind will allow them to spend more time learning and less time searching,” says Chapman. “We hope these students will be enamored with Mastermind because we believe we are the best way to find information from the literature.”