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Human Genetics Department News

Researchers awarded $1.7 million to study the genetics of human facial features

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JOHN SHAFFER, assistant professor in the Department of Human Genetics at Pitt Public Health, and Seth Weinberg, an associate professor in the Department of Oral Biology at the School of Dental Medicine, received a grant award of $1.7 million from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for their project, “The Genetic Architecture of Human Facial Morphology.” 

HUGEN annual retreat welcomes new students

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In 2003, the Department of Human Genetics revived a tradition: a beginning-of-the-year department retreat for faculty, staff, students, friends, and family at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. Last weekend’s 2017 gathering featured a poster session, invited speaker talks, student talks, and a panel and group discussion, as well as plenty of opportunities for bonding over meals, table tennis, billiards, board games, canoeing, hiking, ’smores-m... 

Newman contributes to study on how genes affect body mass

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NATURE COMMUNICATIONS - ANNE NEWMAN, EPI chair, is co-author of a recent article on the largest, most comprehensive genetic study of lean mass to date. By understanding the genetic contributions to lean mass—an indicator of muscle mass—future treatments may be developed to prevent the loss of lean mass with aging. With age, some people develop a condition called “sarcopenia” where they lose critical amounts of muscle mass, to the point that they ... 

Tseng and Ma use Bayesian hierarchical models to detect and categorize biomarkers in RNA sequencing

RNA-SEQ BLOG - Important work by biostatistics and human genetics professor GEORGE TSENG and biostatistics PhD student TIANZHOU MA proposes a full Bayesian hierarchical model for RNA-seq meta-analysis by modelling count data, integrating information across genes and across studies, and modelling potentially heterogeneous differential signals across studies via latent variables. 

First HUGEN chair John Mulvihill earns American Society of Human Genetics 2017 Mentorship Award

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EDMOND SUN - The American Society of Human Genetics has given its 2017 Mentorship Award to JOHN J. MULVIHILL, first chair of Pitt Public Health's Department of Human Genetics and co-director of the Pittsburgh Genetics Institute until 1998. 

Nicholls one of many new citizens that makes Pitt great

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE - In the Heinz History Center’s Great Hall, Senior Judge D. Michael Fisher recently administered the oath of allegiance to immigrants as they stood before a U.S. flag. Human genetics researcher ROBERT NICHOLLS was there. “I grew up in Australia and finished my undergraduate work in Melbourne,” he said. After earning a doctorate in England, he lived in Boston, Florida, Cleveland and Philadelphia before coming to Pittsburgh.... 

Dorman receives nursing Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award

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It was announced today that alumna JANICE SCULLY DORMAN (HUGEN ’81, EPI ’83) is the recipient of the Pitt School of Nursing 2017 Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Award for tenured faculty. Dorman has taught classes at that school (and at Pitt Public Health) for 30 years, focusing primarily on molecular epidemiology and genetics. 

Cut off: A bereft nervous system may eat away at the will to live

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PITTMED MAGAZINE - Someone once told Eve, a teen with severe intractable depression, "You just aren’t working hard enough in therapy." And then her doctor, HuGen’s LISA PAN—along with fellow Human Genetics faculty member DAVID FINEGOLD—learned that she can’t seem to make critical neurotransmitters. As it turned out, Eve’s CSF level of biopterin, a chemical the body uses to synthesize several neurotransmitters, was through the floor. 

Human genetics research to understand craniofacial birth defects

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A facial shape genetics paper from a research team including HUGEN's JOHN SHAFFER, ELEANOR FEINGOLD, and student EKATERINA ORLOVA, was among the top 50 most downloaded "PLoS Genetics" open-access journal papers in 2016. 

Tishkoff delivers the 14th Annual C.C. Li Memorial Lecture

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On Friday, April 28, 2017, Sarah A. Tishkoff delivered the 14th annual C.C. Li Memorial Lecture with a talk titled "Evolution and Adaptation in Africa: Implications for Health and Disease." Tishkoff is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology in the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. The event was also an opportunity to acknowledge the achievements of graduating studen... 

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