Molecular Pathology and Diagnosis of Cancer (Virtual)

22–26 November 2021

Virtual course

Interactive training in current molecular methods for cancer diagnosis


Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, this course will be delivered in a virtual format.

A joint initiative of the Wellcome Connecting Science and the Royal College of Pathologists, this course is aimed primarily at trainee pathologists, haematologists or oncologists. Clinical scientists in the field of molecular diagnosis are also encouraged to apply. The programme introduces participants to the rapidly evolving field of cancer genomics and molecular diagnosis.

The course consists of a series of laboratory-demonstrations and hands-on computer-based sessions covering:

  • current diagnostic methodologies
  • live hands-on training in bioinformatic tools for analysis of DNA sequencing (using virtual platforms).

In addition, the course will host a number of leading national and international speakers who will give seminars on the molecular pathology of a several common cancers, such as breast, colorectal, leukaemia, familial cancers and others.

The programme will also include talks and demonstrations of next generation sequencing platforms (including the latest developments in genomic technologies) as well as discussions on the ethical, societal and practical implications of introducing genome-wide genetic analyses to the clinic.

PLEASE NOTE: The course is also approved annually for CPD accreditation by the Royal College of Pathologists.


The programme will include lecture and laboratory demonstrations and computer-based sessions covering the following topics:

  • Standard and real-time quantitative PCR
  • Sanger sequencing
  • High resolution melt analysis
  • Pyrosequencing
  • IG/TCR clonality assessment
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH)
  • State-of-the-art next-generation sequencing technologies
  • Target enrichment approaches
  • Bioinformatic analysis for mutation detection
  • Learning outcomes
    It is anticipated that by the end of the course, participants will have sufficient knowledge of contemporary molecular methodologies applied to cancer diagnosis to become familiar with the big changes in the practice of molecular pathology and haematology. They will also learn about the genomics of common cancers and how these can help guide diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of cancer patients. Participants will also gain an understanding of the format of next generation sequencing data, and the use of analysis tools and publicly-available databases to interpret these data for patient diagnosis and prognosis. The course also hopes to inspire trainees to follow a career in genomic cancer medicine and research.

Instructors and speakers

Course Instructors

George Vassiliou
Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK

Elli Papaemmanuil
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Michael Quail
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK

Naomi Park
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK

Anthony Bench, Western General Hospital, UK

Bridget Manasse, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, UK

Guest speakers

Mark Arends, University of Edinburgh, UK
James Brenton, University of Cambridge, UK
Rebecca Fitzgerald, University of Cambridge, UK
Anna Godfrey, Cambridge University Hospitals, UK
Hege Russnes, Oslo University Hospital, Norway
Manuel Salto-Tellez, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Marc Tischkowitz, University of Cambridge, UK
Serena Nik-Zenal, University of Cambridge, UK
Anna Middleton, Wellcome Sanger Institute, UK

How to apply

Applicants should be trainee pathologists or haematologists. Clinical scientists in the field of molecular diagnosis are also encouraged to apply.

CPD accreditation is sought annually from the Royal College of Pathologists.

Please note that due to the virtual format for this course, participants will require minimum computer specifications and internet access to fully benefit.
A guide to these requirements can be found here (PDF).

How to Apply
Please click the Apply button above to begin the online application process. Places are limited and will be awarded on merit. If you have any problems with the online application process, please contact us.

Please note: Applications must be supported by a recommendation from a scientific or clinical sponsor (e.g. supervisor, line manager or head of department). A request for a supporting statement will be sent to your nominated sponsor automatically during the application process. Applicants must ensure that their sponsor provides this supporting statement by the application deadline. Applications without a supporting statement cannot be considered.


Cost Accommodation / meals
*Course fee £250 Due to the ongoing situation with Covid-19, this course will be delivered in a virtual format.

*The course fee is subsidised by Wellcome Genome Campus Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences and applies to non-commercial applicants. Please contact us for the commercial fee.


Limited bursaries are available (up to 50% reduction on the course fee) and are awarded on merit. If you would like to apply for a bursary, please complete the bursary section of the online application form.

Where there are many bursary applications, the selection committee may issue smaller amounts.

Bursaries can be applied for as part of the course application form. Applicants will be notified of a bursary award along with their place on the course, usually within one month of the application deadline. The decision of the selection committee is final.

Please note that both the applicant and sponsor are required to provide a justification for the bursary as part of the application.

Additional funding opportunities
Visit our support page for additional financial support currently available.


Feedback from the 2020 course:

Very organized and subject specific from basic to update information

I have taken away more knowledge that I will use in daily practice than I had anticipated.

The presenters were all great. Clearly experts and able to answer any questions thrown at them in a helpful and considered way.

Fantastic course. Thank you for the time and effort you put in to organising it.

Allowed me to attend (would not have been possible for me to come in person due to childcare).

Ability to watch material either in advance or re-watch is superior to live real-time lectures where once the slide has past you have lost the opportunity to study the information

Back to top Back to top