Shoumita Dasgupta, Ph.D.
Ph.D. University of California, San Francisco M.S.
University of California, San Francisco B.S.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Boston University School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Robert Dawson Evans Special Recognition Teaching Award, 2014
Boston University School of Medicine, BUMC Pride Award for Excellence in Equality, 2014
Boston University School of Medicine, Stanley L. Robbins Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2013
Our understanding of the genome and the influence of genetic mechanisms on human health and disease has grown exponentially in the past decade. Advances in technology have enabled the development of genomic tools that are transforming not only the science of genetics, but also the delivery of healthcare in an era of genomic medicine. After the completion of the Human Genome Project, the field of genetics and genomics has continued to make astonishing advances both in terms of scientific developments, such as the HapMap project and the ENCODE project, and technologies, such as Next Generation DNA Sequencing, genome editing tools, and computational approaches for genome-wide analysis. Each of these developments has already had far-reaching consequences because of the explosion of scientific inquiry they both allowed and inspired. To train future scientists and physicians who are prepared to practice in the age of genomics, we need to teach our students the basic principles of genetics and genomics as well as their translational applications to various areas of clinical medicine. Towards this end, Professor Dasgupta’s focus has been on education in this rapidly evolving discipline and mentoring within a diverse learning environment.
Professor Dasgupta is the founding Director of the Graduate Program in Genetics and Genomics. The aim of the Ph.D. program is to teach our students critical thinking skills that will allow them to apply the approaches of genetics and genomics to investigations in the biomedical sciences. We want our students to be adept at utilizing hypothesis-driven methods as well as discovery-oriented experimental design styles to explore these biological problems. Furthermore, we aim to bridge the disciplines of experimental biosciences with computational and genomic approaches. Students begin their studies in genetics and genomics in a series of interdisciplinary modular courses called the Foundations in Biomedical Sciences (FiBS) modules. Professor Dasgupta co-directs this core doctoral curriculum as well as the Structure and Function of the Genome FiBS module. In addition to fostering the scientific growth of our students, it is our goal to train students to function as active members of the scientific community who can clearly communicate ideas, critically evaluate biomedical research, and mentor others in scientific scholarship.
The impressive advances in genetics and genomics described above also have had important impact on the practice of clinical medicine, including the development of direct-to-consumer personal genomic testing and the use of whole exome sequencing in the clinic. In the required Genomic Medicine course she teaches to first year medical students at Boston University, Professor Dasgupta helps students consider how these rapid advances can be utilized appropriately in a clinical environment as well as what ethical, legal, and societal implications all of these developments hold. Preparing future physicians to responsibly practice genomic medicine has also been a focus of Professor Dasgupta’s in her work with the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics. She is also a member of the leadership team for the Principles Integrating Science and Medicine (PrISM) curriculum for first year Boston University medical students.
In addition to her roles in Boston University educational programs, Professor Dasgupta has presented and published in national and international venues on innovative teaching approaches in genetics and on cultural competency education through the basic science curriculum. In her cultural competency initiatives, these critical concepts are introduced in the context of the relevant basic science that, when misunderstood, can contribute to health care disparities that emerge in the clinic. Specifically, her ongoing projects aim to raise the level of scientific discussion in the classroom on the complex relationship between genetics and race, to introduce students to genetic issues of importance to the LGBT community, and to explore the influence of future providers’ personal values and biases on potential clinical decision-making by patients.
Professor Dasgupta also serves as an Assistant Dean of Admissions and enjoys having the opportunity to work with students from their interview day to their graduation day and beyond.
- Dasgupta, K. Symes, and L. Hyman (2015) Leading Change: Curriculum Reform in Graduate Education in the Biomedical Sciences. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. 43(2). doi:10.1002/bmb.20862
- Plunkett-Rondeau, K. Hyland, and S. Dasgupta (2015) Training Future Physicians in the Era of Genomic Medicine: Trends in Undergraduate Medical Genetics Education. Genetics in Medicine. 2015 February 12. doi: 10.1038/gim.2014.208
- Dasgupta (2013) Cultural Competency in the Medical Genetics Classroom: A Case Study for a Diverse Learning Community. Medical Science Educator. 23(2): 233-243.