Human Genetics Department News

Pitt Public Health launches life sciences business accelerator

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POST-GAZETTE - Serial entrepreneur and human genetics chair DIETRICH STEPHAN will serve as CEO of Pitt's new business accelerator, backing a push to leverage Western PA’s strengths in the life sciences with private investors. The 10-year goal is to tackle prevalent and intractable global diseases. The initial focus will be on cancer, Alzheimer’s, multidrug-resistant bacterial infections, obesity, diabetes, and rare genetic diseases.  

Shaffer: Everything your biology teacher told you about earlobes is wrong

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POPULAR SCIENCE - Geneticists often don’t like to perform population studies at such scale because they are too large to zoom in on any specific details. But that means that we might not be getting the full picture. Research by JOHN SHAFFER, ELEANOR FEINGOLD, and SETH WEINBERG tells us that there’s power in numbers. Just as seemingly simple traits reveal their true complexity, diseases that currently puzzle us will soon become easier to understan... 

Parker on whether genome sequencing should be part of a normal health screening?

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MIMS TODAY - “Treatability may not be the only consideration people have regarding such information,” says LISA PARKER, a HUGEN researcher who directs Pitt’s Centre for Bioethics and Health Law. 

Human genetics reception in Orlando

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Alumni, faculty, students, and friends of the Department of Human Genetics got together in Orlando, Florida, during the November 2017 annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). It was a great reception, offering opportunities to catch up on careers, research, and school news. View more photos at bit.ly/2ioVwCd . 

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.” 

Gollin reappointed to Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention, and Research Advisoory Board

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Researcher SUZANNE GOLLIN, Department of Human Genetics, has been reappointed as a member of the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention, and Research Advisory Board. This was confirmed by the Senate on September 20, 2017. She is pictured here with an image of tumor cell biomarkers. 

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... 

Meet Megan Hoenig (HUGEN '19), Dean's Scholar

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“Pitt checked every single box." The Plano, Texas, native and graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in genetics and biomedical sciences found it all and more at Pitt Public Health. "I chose Pitt Public Health because of the Genetic Counseling Program,” she says. “It’s the second oldest GC program in the country, but is always up to date with the latest in the field."   

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. 

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