James S. McDonnell Department of Genetics

The Department of Genetics is at the forefront of the rapidly developing field known as genomic (or personalized) medicine, in which genetic and epigenetic analysis coupled with clinical information enables treatments to be tailored specifically to the individual patient. The rapid evolution of sequencing technologies, genome engineering, automated cellular imaging and mass spectrometry methods to rapidly perform proteomic and metabolomics studies, coupled with powerful computational tools, is revolutionizing the biological sciences. Investigators in the department are developing new methods of genomic analysis — including technology and software, epigenomics and copy number variation as well as studies of disease pathways using model organisms — to identify and study the genes responsible for human disease and treatment responses.

The department supports a broad program of preclinical and graduate instruction in genetics, with research opportunities that include studies of transcriptional networks, population genetics, protein evolution, neurological disorders, developmental genetics, models of human disease, genome architecture, statistical genetics and computational biology, genome technologies and infertility.

A significant portion of the first-year course in basic medical sciences is devoted to human and clinical genetics, with emphasis on how genomic information will transform the practice of medicine. This includes specialized selective courses in addition to the core genetic curriculum. Advanced training in clinical genetics and in genetic research is available from the faculty in the Department of Genetics and from geneticists with principal appointments in many other departments within the School of Medicine.

Advanced courses and seminars are offered that focus on the genetics of complex disease, gene expression, genome engineering, induced pluripotent stem cells, single-cell genomics, molecular genetics, genetic epidemiology, computational biology, developmental genetics, microbial genetics, cancer genetics, and population and evolutionary genetics. Extraordinary opportunities for research training and experience are available in all of these areas and at all levels. The programs are tailored to meet the needs of medical students, graduate students, and both MD and PhD postdoctoral fellows pursuing advanced training in biomedical research.

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