Genetics and Genomic Medicine | Residency Programs | Genetics Residency


The Medical Genetics Residency Program at the Washington University School of Medicine/Barnes-Jewish Hospital/St. Louis Children’s Hospital Consortium is an integrated and progressive educational experience that provides the formal instruction and clinical training necessary to develop an academic career in medical genetics. As an academically- based program, physicians who complete our program are expected to engage in scholarly pursuit to expanding the knowledge of human genetics. Graduates will be equipped with the essential skills to be leaders in the field of genetics. Acquisition of these abilities and skills will provide the basis for board eligibility in Clinical Genetics by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Clinical Experience

During the first 18 months of the residency program, residents will receive a rigorous education and clinical training in genetics. Residents will evaluate both children and adults in the outpatient setting and provide inpatient consultation to a wide variety of patients. In addition to clinical rotations, residents will rotate through the biochemical, cytogenetic and molecular laboratories as well as the Genome Sequencing Center to gain experience in the methodologies and interpretations of laboratory studies commonly order on genetics patients. The training is divided into 8 rotations:

  • Inpatient Consultation Service
  • Hereditary Cancer Clinic
  • Prenatal Genetics
  • Biochemical Genetics Laboratory
  • Cytogenetics Laboratory
  • Molecular Laboratory
  • Genome Sequencing Center
  • Electives/Subspecialty Clinics

Residents have the opportunity to attend a variety of clinics:

  • General Genetics Clinic (both pediatric and adult patients are seen)
  • Familial Cancer Clinic (adults with breast/ovarian, colon, many other cancers undergoing initial evaluation for hereditary cancer syndromes)
  • Cancer Predisposition Clinic (follow-up for individuals requiring ongoing surveillance for malignancies)
  • Adult Marfan and Related Disorders Clinic
  • Hereditary Arrhythmia Clinic
  • Craniofacial Clinic
  • 22q Clinic
  • Down Syndrome Clinic
  • Metabolic Management Clinic
  • PKU Clinic
  • Neurofibromatosis Clinic
  • Movement Disorders Clinic
  • Neuromuscular Clinic
  • Capillary Malformations Clinic
  • Prenatal Genetics Clinic
  • Whole Exome Sequencing Clinic

Medical Genetics Curriculum Summary

Educational Experience Duration
Genetics Service
(Inpatients on the Genetics Service, consultations and 2-3 half-day clinics per week)
33 weeks in first year
4 weeks in second year
Cancer Genetics Experience
(1 half-day outpatient clinic per week)
4 weeks
Prenatal Genetics Rotation
(Almost daily clinics & weekly conferences)
4 weeks
Biochemical Laboratory Rotation 4 weeks
Cytogenetics Laboratory Rotation 4 weeks
Molecular Laboratory Rotation 4 weeks
Genome Sequencing Center Rotation
(Next Generation Sequencing Block)
4 weeks
Electives/Subspecialty Clinics 4 weeks in first year
12 weeks in second year
Vacation 15 days every twelve months
Sick Leave 15 days every twelve months
Research Experience 6 months (second half of residency)
Basic Genetics Coursework During second year of residency

Conferences and Seminars

Genetics Case Conference (Mondays 12-1:30PM)
Pediatric Case Conferences (Tuesdays and Fridays 12-12:45PM)
Resident/Fellows Early in Research Conference (Tuesdays 4-5 pm)
Genetics Seminar Series (Thursdays at 12-1PM)
Pediatric Grand Rounds (Fridays at 9:15-10:15AM)
Genetics Didactic Lecture Series (Fridays at 12-1PM)

Residents also have the opportunity to attend many seminars and workshops sponsored by Washington University School of Medicine, giving them the opportunity to hear well-known researchers and clinicians from around the world.

Research Experience

Residents are expected to participate in a basic or clinical research project of their choice during the training program. The last 6 months of the 2-year residency is devoted to research, although the resident may start his/her project before this block of time. A third year of research is also available to residents after completion of the 2 year accredited training program. During the first year or at the beginning of the second year of the residency, residents work with the Program Director and the Director of the Division of Genetics and Genomic Medicine to identify a mentor for their research project. Residents will have the opportunity to meet with a variety of researchers and clinicians to identify the appropriate laboratory or clinical project of interest to them. Genetics residents have the option to work with researchers in any of the basic science or clinical laboratories (including the Genomic Sequencing Center) at the Washington University School of Medicine. Laboratories in the McDonnell Pediatric Research Building are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for molecular, cellular, and biochemical investigation. Basic physician-scientists and researchers in the Department of Pediatrics have access to confocal, microarray, and mouse genetic cores. Furthermore, clinical research within the Department of Pediatrics is coordinated by the Patient Oriented Research Unit. Clinical studies are supported by an NIH-funded Clinical Research Center and biostatistics and epidemiology resources. More information about research opportunities may be found Washington University School of Medicine website.

Additional Requirements for Residency Training

Each resident is required by the American Board of Genetics and Genomic Medicine to present scholarly research (poster, platform presentation) at one national or regional meeting sometime during the 2-year accredited training program. The presentation may be related to the research project the resident selects. Examples of other acceptable presentations that fulfill this requirement include an interesting clinical case, a review of patients with a specific chromosome anomaly or a case series of patients with novel whole exome sequencing results. Residents are also expected to present their research at one the Tuesday “Early in Research” seminars in the Department of Pediatrics. Finally, residents also present at the Annual Pediatric Research Retreat, which is held at the zoo every spring.

Quality Control and Patient Safety

All residents are required to have training in quality control and patient safety. Didactic lectures, seminars, and workshops are available to facilitate this training. In addition, each resident is expected to participate in a project related to this topic. Examples of acceptable projects include:

  • Review of inpatient management of acutely ill patients with metabolic disorders
  • Review of outpatient management of ill patients with metabolic disorders
  • Review of ICU management of hyperammonemia and outcomes
  • Review of confirmatory testing protocols for babies with abnormal newborn screens
  • Lab utilization projects that assess the most cost effective testing for various genetic conditions (ex., cardiomyopathy, epilepsy, intellectual disability)
  • Review of diagnostic yield for ordering biochemical testing on patients with intellectual disability
  • Review of diagnostic yield for whole exome sequencing based on clinical presentation
  • Comparison of gene panes offered for specific conditions between labs

National Meetings and Courses/Workshops

Funding is available for residents to attend one national genetics or related meeting of their choice each year. In addition, the Division of Genetics and Genomic Medicine pays for residents to attend the one-week course sponsored each October by the Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders / North American Metabolic Academy (SIDM NAMA).

Application Process

Applications for the Medical Genetics Residency Program are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Selected applicants will be invited to visit St. Louis to meet our faculty and residents and to see St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Barnes Jewish Hospital complex at Washington University. Only applicants who have previously completed a US ACGME-accredited 3-year primary residency in Pediatrics should apply.


For more information on the Medical Genetics Residency Program, please contact:
Dr. Marcia Willing, MD, Ph.D.
Program Director, Medical Genetics Residency Program
Dru Nelson, Program Coordinator,
314-454-2863 or
Campus Box 8116, 9th FL NWT
1 Children’s Place
St. Louis, MO 63110

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