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Human Genetics
human genetics

Human Genetics

How does DNA
Determine Someone's
Predisposition
to Disease?
Learn more
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Our Research Centers

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Our Faculty

Our Faculty

Meet the faculty who will teach and mentor you, and learn about the innovative research projects they're directing.
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Our Alumni

Our Alumni

Read about what our graduates are doing in the human genetics field.
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Human Genetics Graduate Programs

Human genetics is the study of how genes influence human traits, diseases, and behaviors, including how genetic and non-genetic factors interact. Public health genetics applies advances in human genetics and genomics to improve public health and prevent disease. Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to patients dealing with birth defects or genetic disorders and those who may be at risk for inherited conditions.

The Department of Human Genetics is dedicated to genetics graduate programs which focus on research, teaching, and service, and embrace three major research missions:
  • Investigating the genetic causes and treatment of hereditary and acquired human illness
  • Understanding and exploring the impact of genetics on public health, education, and disease prevention
  • Appreciating the role of genetic diversity within human populations

The program emphasizes the study of genetic mechanisms related to the transition from normal to disease states, and studies how genes and the environment interact to affect the distribution of health and disease in human 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 aging and age-related macular degeneration, and neurological and extracellular matrix disorders
  • Studying the genetics of obesity and muscle development, pancreatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease
  • Identify genes responsible for primary (or inherited) lymphedema, also known as Milroy's and Meige's 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, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and lupus
  • Developing and implementing state-of-the-art statistical methods for gene mapping and bioinformatics, especially next-generation sequencing
  • Studying genetic mechanisms underlying various cancers
  • Studying the influence of family health histories on risk perception
  • Exploring individuals’ experiences of facing genetic risk

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 clinical and research firms, including...
  • Associate professor, operations director, and senior lab director, Emory Genetics Laboratory
  • Staff, Labeling and Consumer Protection Division, USDA
  • Research manager, Harris Interactive
  • Clinical genetic counselor, Kaiser
  • Associate director, Northwestern University Genetic Counseling Program

Degrees

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

 

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

PITTWIRE - Under the leadersh...
New Vice Chancellor named as Pitt marks another record-breaking year in innovation

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 ... (08/02/2018)

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

PITTWIRE - The University of P...
Innovation Institute recognized at Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education

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 EVA... (07/02/2018)

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

MIT NEWS - The stretchiness t...
Urban weighs in on discovery of molecule that gives living tissues their flexibility

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,... (06/26/2018)

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

HUGEN's RYAN MINSTER talks ab...
Minster discusses examining genetic susceptibility to obesity in Samoa (video)

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 ... (06/19/2018)

Dean's Day 2018 HUGEN departmental award recipients

MEGAN HAGER (MS/MPH '18) won ...
Dean's Day 2018 HUGEN departmental award recipients

MEGAN HAGER (MS/MPH '18) won in the master's category and TERESA CAPASSO (PhD '21) received the doctoral prize.  (05/07/2018)
© 2018 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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