About us

Victorian Clinical Genetics Services (VCGS) is a specialist prenatal, childhood and adult genetics service. We are an Australian not-for-profit subsidiary of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and one of the largest contributors driving genetic healthcare, research and policy in the country.

We marked our 30th anniversary in 2018 and acknowledge our fantastic donors, funders, supporters and collaborators over this time, including the global genetics community, and the Australian Federal and Victorian State governments.

Located on site at The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Melbourne, we provide an integrated genetic consultation, counselling, testing and diagnostic service for children, adults, families, and prospective parents. Our unique service includes the ability to draw on specific expert knowledge from Melbourne Children’s campus partners RCH and The University of Melbourne, providing individuals and families with accessible and high quality healthcare.

At our core, we aim to provide a human-centred service that puts people at the heart of everything we do. This approach was inspired by VCGS Co-Founder Professor David Danks, hailed as a pioneer of clinical genetics and genetic research in Australia. David, along with Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, established the original Murdoch Institute in 1986. Together, they championed the importance of clinical genetics and genetics research to improve the health and wellbeing of children all over the world.

VCGS works closely with a wide range of support groups and health professionals, including general practitioners and specialists, to support them with the diagnosis and care of their patients, and to understand often rare and complex conditions. Our clinical geneticists and genetic counsellors work in consultation with medical scientists and clinical bioinformaticians to provide the most accurate interpretation of genetic data. Our reputation for reliability, quality and exemplary service is the reason we are valued and trusted by health professionals in Australia and overseas.

The VCGS interdisciplinary team provides global scientific leadership, and specialist clinical and laboratory training opportunities. We also play a pivotal role in developing and promoting translational research to enhance health outcomes and healthcare choices. We work with Government to develop and implement public health policies, strategies and programs — and with our continuous stream of academic publications produced each year, we are recognised for our high quality research, international collaborations, and commitment to improving genetic and genomic healthcare practices and technology.

As a pioneering not-for-profit organisation, all our proceeds go back into translational medical research so that we can continue to develop innovative solutions to complex genetic health challenges.

Our mission

VCGS is the pioneering genetic services arm of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. We aim to provide and continually improve clinical care, support, genetic screening and diagnostic testing for children, adults and families who are at risk of, or living with a genetic condition.

We aim to do this by investing in new genetic and genomic testing, expanding our clinical and laboratory services, and raising broader community understanding by improving access to information and to the services that we provide; for both practitioners and patients across the healthcare spectrum in Australia and internationally.

At our core, we aim to provide a human-centred genetic service that puts people at the heart of everything we do.

Clinical Geneticists

Clinical geneticists are medical specialists who focus on the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions. Clinical geneticists play an important role in the provision of genetic testing, interpretation of test results and explanation of results to families and doctors. They are experts in dealing with the complexity of genetic testing and the associated ethical issues. Clinical geneticists work closely with genetic counsellors and medical scientists to provide genetic services across a broad range of medical disciplines.

VCGS clinical geneticists provide education to other medical specialties and are actively involved in research. We have seven fully qualified clinical geneticists supported by a large team of genetic counsellors and administrative services.

Genetic Counsellors

Genetic counsellors are health professionals with specialised graduate degrees (Masters or Graduate Diplomas) who have training in both clinical genetics and counselling. They have expertise in communicating complex genetic information, discussing family history, arranging genetic testing, interpreting and explaining results of genetic testing, identifying family members with an increased chance of having or carrying a genetic condition and helping to inform those family members.

Genetic counsellors support people through genetic testing including:

  • assisting with decision-making about whether to have a test and what test/s to have
  • waiting for the results, understanding the meaning of the results and adjusting to the results
  • providing supportive counselling to families
  • arranging referrals to other health professionals
  • and linking families with community support services.

What are the benefits of seeing a genetic counsellor?
When it comes to genetic health, genetic counsellors can give you the personalised help you need. We can work alongside you and your doctor to help you understand complex genetic information and support you in making informed decisions. We can also assist you and your family in managing your genetic health information and adapting to a diagnosis of a genetic condition.

Laboratory Scientists

VCGS laboratory medical scientists specialise in research and diagnostics for clinical biochemistry and clinical genetics. Our scientists have a long history of successfully translating research and development into clinical tests and services.

We aim to provide the highest quality genetic testing service and we have the largest number of medical scientists with membership and fellowship qualifications through the Human Genetics Society of Australasia (HGSA) and the Faculty of Science through the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia.