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Human Genetics Department News

D'Annibale receives travel award from the Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders

The SIMD Travel Award is given to trainees and graduate students in the field of metabolic disorders based on submitted abstracts.  HUGEN's Olivia D'Annibale is a recent recipient of the award. Her research shows an increase in protein and enzyme activity of isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IVD) which when deficient results in the inborn error of metabolism, isovaleric acidemia (IVA).   

Vanyukov interprets new study findings and their relationship to the gateway drug theory

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THE ATLANTIC - With adolescent marijuana use stagnant and alcohol and cigarette use delayed and declining among minors, it might be time to leave the popular understanding of the gateway drug in the past. “Gateway theory only relates to initiation of drug use, not progression to abuse," says HUGEN's Michael Vanyukov. Instead, he suggests an alternate theory of substance abuse known as the common-liability theory.   

Gollin joins Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees

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Congratulations to HUGEN's SUSANNE GOLLIN for being invited to join the Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees next year. They are meeting next month to explore the question: "What are the appropriate roles, the responsible mandates and interventions, of healthcare governing boards in guaranteeing the safety of the hospitals and systems that they oversee?"  

Parker comments on new study that shows downside of medical crowdfunding

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REUTERS - While crowdfunding platforms can fill insurance gaps, helping patients pay for essential care and avoid medical debt, they are also being used to raise large sums of money for ineffective and experimental treatments, a new study suggests. The study muddies the issue by mixing clearly unproven therapies with treatments that are being tested in clinical trials, said HUGEN's Lisa Parker.  

2018 Annual Department of Human Genetics Retreat

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On Friday, September 7-Sunday, September 9, the Department of Human Genetics held its annual retreat for students, faculty, staff, and their families at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology in Northwest Pennsylvania. The retreat had 80 attendees, along with 12 partners and 5 children. The theme was "Precision Medicine and Diversity," and featured a poster session and talks by Mylynda Massart, Genevieve Wojcik, Alison Morris, and graduate student... 

New Vice Chancellor named as Pitt marks another record-breaking year in innovation

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PITTWIRE - Under the leadership of EVAN FACHER (HUGEN '97), Pitt innovators started a record 23 new companies in FY18. Facher now moves into the new position of vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship. “Pitt faculty and students are constantly pushing the boundaries of discovery across multiple disciplines," says Facher. “I am grateful for the opportunity to build on the positive momentum that has been established."  

Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education

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PITTWIRE - The University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute was recognized for its commitment to building programs that accelerate innovations from the laboratory and research into commercialization at the recent Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education. Alumni EVAN FACHER (HUGEN ’97) is interim director for the institute. 

Urban weighs in on discovery of molecule that gives living tissues their flexibility

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MIT NEWS - The stretchiness that allows living tissues to expand, contract, stretch, and bend throughout a lifetime is the result of a protein molecule called tropoelastin. HUGEN's ZSOLT URBAN, says “elastin is necessary for the proper working of stretchy organs such as blood vessels, heart valves, and lungs. However, the full structure of tropoelastin was unknown until now."  

Minster discusses examining genetic susceptibility to obesity in Samoa (video)

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HUGEN's RYAN MINSTER talks about how his interest in body composition and obesity led him to Samoa. "Polynesians and Micronesians have some of the highest rates of overweight and obesity in the world." He and his lab explored genetic factors that could be leading to increases in weight in a sample of Samoans.    

Dean's Day 2018 HUGEN departmental award recipients

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MEGAN HAGER (MS/MPH '18) won in the master's category and TERESA CAPASSO (PhD '21) received the doctoral prize.   

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