Human Genetics Graduate Programs

Human genetics is the study of how genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors, as well as their interactions, influence human traits, health, and disease. Public health genetics applies advances in human genetics and genomics to improve public health and prevent disease in diverse populations. Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to patients with genetic disorders and those at risk for inherited conditions.

The Department of Human Genetics is dedicated to graduate training in human genetics research (including molecular, statistical, and bioinformatics research), public health genetics, and genetic counseling.

The mission of the department is to

  • embrace the role of genetic, environmental, and behavioral diversity within human populations
  • discover new knowledge about the genetic and non-genetic determinants of human health and disease through basic and applied research
  • educate students, trainees, health professionals, and the public in that knowledge
  • apply that knowledge to improve the health of patients, families, and populations

Find a research program for your interests

Human genetics research has helped answer fundamental questions about human nature and led to the development of effective treatments for many diseases that greatly impact human health. Faculty in the Department of Human Genetics have developed and used genetic methods to investigate the causes and treatment of hereditary and acquired human illness and to understand and explore the impact of genetics on public health, education, and disease prevention.

Pitt Public Health human genetics faculty and students currently are involved in varied research projects, including...

  • Finding genes that are risk factors for vascular, neurological and extracellular matrix disorders
  • Studying the genetics of obesity and diabetes, pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Studying a group of disorders with the shared trait of cutis laxa, a disease of prematurely loose, redundant, inelastic, and wrinkled skin
  • Researching the genetic basis of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease, traumatic brain injury, oral health and craniofacial disorders
  • Developing and implementing state-of-the-art statistical and computational modeling methods for gene mapping and bioinformatics
  • Studying genetic mechanisms underlying various cancers and cancer treatment
  • Implementation of policies on public health genetics and cancer
  • Exploring the ethics of return of genetic results to individuals, their families and the public

Pursue a career in human genetics

Graduates of Pitt Public Health’s human genetics program typically go on to positions in academia or in industry and usually are employed by their graduation dates. Alumni currently are working in academic, government, health care, and commercial sectors, including...

  • Associate professor, operations director, and senior lab director, Emory Genetics Laboratory
  • Medical Science Liaison, Reata Pharmaceuticals, Inc
  • Medical policy analyst, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
  • Project coordinator, Association of American Cancer Institutes
  • Technology commercialization manager, Life Science Innovations
  • Data coordinator, MacroGenics , Inc
  • Research manager, Harris Interactive
  • Clinical genetic counselor, Kaiser
  • Associate director, Northwestern University Genetic Counseling Program

Degrees

The Department of Human Genetics offers four master’s level programs, and two doctoral programs:

 

Finegold awarded grant to review sustainability and public health

@PITT - HuGen's David Finegol...
Finegold awarded grant to review sustainability and public health

@PITT - HuGen's David Finegold has been named one of eight faculty awardees for the 2020 John C. Mascaro Faculty Program in Sustainability. Created to enhance interdisciplinary excellence in sustainability research and education, the award will support Finegold's comprehensive review of sustainabil... (12/05/2019)

Kathyayini wins ICMI travel award from Society of Mucosal Immunology

Kathyayini Gopalakrishna (HUG...
Kathyayini wins ICMI travel award from Society of Mucosal Immunology

Kathyayini Gopalakrishna (HUGEN '20) won a travel award from the Society of Mucosal Immunology to give an oral presentation at the 19th International Congress of Mucosal Immunology 2019, held at Brisbane, Australia. Gopalakrishna was first author on a stoudy that found that maternal IgA protects ag... (12/05/2019)

Facher connects Pitt faculty with LifeX

IMPACT - Evan Facher (HUGEN '...
Facher connects Pitt faculty with LifeX

IMPACT - Evan Facher (HUGEN '97) notes that one of the important ways that the Innovation Institute powers invention and ignites progress is by connecting Pitt faculty with the resources they need to accelerate the translation of their research from the lab to the market. LifeX Labs, the life scien... (12/04/2019)

Russell awarded New Presenter Award at APHA 2019

Caitlin Russell (HUGEN '19) w...
Russell awarded New Presenter Award at APHA 2019

Caitlin Russell (HUGEN '19) was awarded the New Presenter Award during the Genomics Forum at this year's American Public Health Association conference for her poster titled, "Assessment of Hemoglobinopathy trait notification in Pennsylvania Newborn Screening". Additional authors on teh poster inclu... (12/02/2019)

Ngo named Joseph F. Mulach Jr. and Louisa A. Mulach Scholar

"This award meant a lot to me...
Ngo named Joseph F. Mulach Jr. and Louisa A. Mulach Scholar

"This award meant a lot to me in terms of having a bit more financial stability, which has allowed me to focus more n my studies and work," said Marilyn Ngo (HUGEN '20) of being named one of this year's scholars. "Research in this field can go towards helping so many people in new and innovative wa... (11/27/2019)

 

Fri
1/24
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Understanding Age-related Macular Degeneration in the Era of Big Data - Wei Chen, PhD Human Genetics Seminar Series
Understanding Age-related Macular Degeneration in the Era of Big Data - Wei Chen, PhD
Fri 1/24 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)

Fri
2/7
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Genomic Landscape of Breat Cancer Relapse and Metastasis - Adrian Lee, PhD Human Genetics Seminar Series
Genomic Landscape of Breat Cancer Relapse and Metastasis - Adrian Lee, PhD
Fri 2/7 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)

Fri
3/6
Human Genetics Seminar Series
The Postgenomic Condition: Truth, Race and Justice After the Genome - Jenny Reardon, PhD Human Genetics Seminar Series
The Postgenomic Condition: Truth, Race and Justice After the Genome - Jenny Reardon, PhD
Fri 3/6 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)

Fri
4/3
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Title TBD - Chris Donnelly, PhD Human Genetics Seminar Series
Title TBD - Chris Donnelly, PhD
Fri 4/3 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)

Fri
4/10
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Schizophrenia and Endophenotypes - Michael Pogue-Geile, PhD Human Genetics Seminar Series
Schizophrenia and Endophenotypes - Michael Pogue-Geile, PhD
Fri 4/10 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)