Hugen Faculty News

Human Genetics Faculty & Research News

Finegold: How to use precision medicine to personalize COVID-19 treatment according to the patient's genes

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THE CONVERSATION - HUGEN’s David Finegold and colleague “began a discussion about the promise and potential pitfalls of precision medicine before the arrival of COVID-19. If precision medicine is the future of medicine, then its application to pandemics generally, and COVID-19 in particular, may yet prove to be highly significant. But its role so far has been limited. Precision medicine must consider more than just genetics."  

Meet our Faculty: David Finegold

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David Finegold began his 40+ year relationship with the University of Pittsburgh as an undergrad and then receiving his MD from the School of Medicine in 1972. Working in biochemistry and pediatrics, he moved into public health as a result of collaboration in his medical work. Finegold is human genetics faculty, he is also the director of Pitt Public Health’s Multidisciplinary Master of Public Like many of you, he is ready and excited to get bac... 

Minster on study linking genetic variant to lower obesity risk

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WITF - The research shows promise, but the success of treating obesity by targeting these genes is not guaranteed, according to HUGEN's Ryan Minster (HUGEN '11). "That's because the human body itself is extremely resistant to losing weight," Minster said. "Beyond that, most of us live in social, physical and occupational environments that foster weight gain."   

"The Role of Mom's Microbes During Pregnancy" cites Gopalakrishna's work

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THE SCIENTIST - In 2019, Kathyayini Gopalakrishna (HUGEN '20) and colleagues deomonstrated the importance of bacteria-specific IgA antibodies in preventing overexpansion of Enterobacteriaceae—a classic hallmark of NEC—in the guts of preterm babies. These and other results imply that immune education in the final weeks before birth is important for babies' immune systems to tolerate friendly bacteria.  

Meet our Faculty: Eleanor Feingold

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Eleanor Feingold has been a faculty member holding various administrative roles at Pitt Public Health for over 20 years, currently serving as both the chair of the  Department of Human Genetics  and Vice Dean. She counts mentoring each of her students among the highlights of her career and she works tirelessly to ensure that Pitt Public Health is operating at it’s best. Spending the 2021-22 academic year as an American Council on Education Fello... 

Feingold selected for American Council on Education Fellowship

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PITT WIRE - Congratulations to HUGEN and BIOST's Eleanor Feingold, recently promoted to vice dean, who was named to the 2021-22 class of the longest-running, cohort-based higher education leadership development progam in the U.S. Many of its alumni are now university presidents and provosts and acceptance is extremely competitive.   

Leadership transitions

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Dean Lichtveld announced upcoming leadership changes: Steve Albert to step down as BCHS chair with Velpandi Ayyavoo to serve as interim chair; Eleanor Feingold to become vice dean, Jessie Burke to interim as Feingold receives American Council on Education Fellowship. Dan Weeks will be interim chair of HUGEN.   

Kamboh co-PI on $10.7M for Alzheimer's Disease Genetic Research

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UPMC - A new project with Washington University School of Medicine funded by the NIH aims to advance Alzheimer's research using whole genome sequencing to address a critical knowledge gap. HUGEN and EPI's Ilyas Kamboh is part of a research team that plans to identify the genetic variants, genes and pathways that lead to formation of plaques and tangles - two biomarkers that appear 15-25 years before symptoms.    

Shaffer co-authors Nature Genetics paper: Shared Heritability of Human Face and Brain Shape

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HUGEN's John R. Shaffer (HUGEN '08) and Dental Medicine's Seth M. Weinberg co-authored a paper Evidence from model organisms and clinical genetics suggests coordination between the developing brain and face, but the role of this link in common genetic variation remains unknown.   

Researchers scan DNA to learn how facial features form

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THE CONVERSATION - Until very recently, geneticists had virtually no understanding of which parts of our DNA were linked to even the most basic aspects of facial appearance. HUGEN's John R. Shaffer and Pitt’s Seth M. Weinberg explore questions like: Can we reliably predict a person’s face from their DNA? What are the implications for health and disease?  

Shaffer selected for the 2020 Craig Award for Excellence in Teaching

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Congratulations to Dr. John Shaffer (HUGEN '08), assistant professor of human genetics and oral biology, on being selected for the 2020 James L. Craig Award for Teaching Excellence. Craig awardees are nominated annually by students and selected by a committee of students and past awardees.   

Parker elected Hastings Center fellow

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PITTWIRE - HUGEN's Lisa Parker was recently elected fellow to The Hastings Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars studying ethical questions in medicine, science and technology that help inform policy, practice and public understanding. Parker, along with Robert Arnold of Pitt Medicine, is among twelve newly elected fellows recognized for their outstanding accomplishments informing scholarship and public understanding... 

Finegold awarded grant to review sustainability and public health

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@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 sustainability in the curriculum at Pitt Public Health.   

Facher connects Pitt faculty with LifeX

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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 sciences accelerator launched by the University last year, is one of those resources. LifeX is hosting two opportunities this week for innovators to be con... 

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