The history of Medical Genetics in Pleven began in 1976, when the Medical Genetics Counseling division was formed as part of the Department of Biology in the recently established Higher Medical Institute of Pleven. An independent Medical Genetics Counseling Centre was established in 1986 with the start of the first National Programme for the organization of genetics care in Bulgaria. The Centre grew into the Department of Medical Genetics in 1997. As result of restructuring, the Department was split into Medical Genetics Section , which became part of Department of Microbiology, Virusology and Medical Genetics in 2001, and into Medical Genetics Diagnostics Laboratory under University Hospital Pleven in 2000. Department Head throughout those years was Maria Simeonova, M.D. Ph.D.
Research and teaching staff at the Medical Genetics Section also include Chief Assistant Professor, Katia Stefanova Kovacheva, M.D. and Assistant Professor Petia Angelova Nikolova, M.D. both of whom have achieved specialisation in Medical Genetics.
Two staff members have completed Ph.D. theses in the past:
„Genetic monitoring of oil industry workers exposed to chemical mutagens ” – Maria Nikolaeva Simeonova (1986)
„Genetic diagnostic study of mentally handicapped persons at school age” – Lyudmila Boncheva Angelova (1993)
Research is carried out in the following areas:
- Genetic screening for inborn anomalies in newborns.
- Clinical genetic investigations and genetic prevention for families with reproductive failures or hereditary pathology.
- Cytogenetic investigations of oncohematological diseases.
- Testing of genetic factors in trombofilia.
Teaching Medical Genetics is one of the main activities of the Section. Teaching of M.D. students takes place during their third year and is carried out in both Bulgarian and English. Course curriculum is reviewed and improved in several stages. The Section has well-equipped laboratories and lecture halls. The excellent facilities, together with many auto-visual learning materials help students learn about current approaches and methods for diagnostics and prevention of hereditary and inborn diseases.
Teaching activities also include courses for Nursing and Midwifery BA students in the Faculty of Health Care, as well as Medical Laboratory Assistant students at the Medical College at Medical University - Pleven.
The section also provides post-graduate specialisation and training in Medical Genetics, as well as education of doctors from other clinical specialties through thematic courses, individual training and other venues offered each year.