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:

 

HuGen’s Minster heads to Accra, Ghana for consortium on human heredity and health in Africa

Assistant Professor Ryan Mins...
HuGen’s Minster heads to Accra, Ghana for consortium on human heredity and health in Africa

Assistant Professor Ryan Minster (HUGEN ’11) is attending the 14th Meeting of the H3Africa (Human Heredity and Health in Africa) Consortium in Accra, Ghana. H3Africa facilitates fundamental research into diseases on the African continent while also developing infrastructure, resources, training, an... (10/08/2019)

Gopalakrishna finds breastmilk antibody protects infants from deadly disease

UPMC - Kathyayini Gopalakrish...
Gopalakrishna finds breastmilk antibody protects infants from deadly disease

UPMC - Kathyayini Gopalakrishna (HUGEN '20) is first author on a study showing that an antibody in breastmilk is necessary to prevent necrotizing enterocolitis - an often deadly bacterial disease of the intestine - in preterm infants. The findings suggest that the antibody content of donor milk sho... (06/27/2019)

HUGEN's Lauren Winter melds genetic counseling and dental genetics

GC PROGRAM BLOG  -- Genetic c...
HUGEN's Lauren Winter melds genetic counseling and dental genetics

GC PROGRAM BLOG  -- Genetic counseling student Lauren Winter (HUGEN '20) shares her experiences investigating genetic, environmental, behavioral, and microbial contributions to the disproportionately high rate of dental cavities in children living in Appalachia. She loves the variety found in her j... (06/10/2019)

2019 Celebration of Student Awards

On April 27, 2019, Pitt Publi...
2019 Celebration of Student Awards

On April 27, 2019, Pitt Public Health celebrated recent graduates with awards given upon the culmination of a degree program. Delta Omega's honor society inductees were announced and outstanding thesis/essay and dissertation awards were conferred. Outstanding Student Awards were also given at both ... (04/29/2019)

Finegold talks about the importance of handling WES properly

MD ALERT via REUTERS - Whole ...
Finegold talks about the importance of handling WES properly

MD ALERT via REUTERS - Whole exome sequencing (WES) may identify genetic causes of idiopathic liver disease after an unrevealing conventional workup, researchers say. "WES is now broadly available in a wide range of genomics laboratories, both hospital-based and commercial. The interpretation of th... (04/25/2019)

 

Wed
10/16
Human Genetics Conference
American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting (in Houston) American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting (in Houston) Human Genetics Conference
American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting (in Houston)
Wed 10/16 to Sun 10/20


Each fall, students and faculty of Pitt's Department of Human Genetics join leading scientists from around the world for the American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting, the world’s largest gathering of human genetics professionals. Don't miss the special Pitt Human Genetics reunion reception.

Thu
10/17
Human Genetics Reception
HuGen reunion reception at ASHG Annual Meeting (in Houston) HuGen reunion reception at ASHG Annual Meeting (in Houston) Human Genetics Reception
HuGen reunion reception at ASHG Annual Meeting (in Houston)
Thu 10/17 7:30PM - 9:00PM


Don't miss the special Pitt Human Genetics reunion reception at the American Society of Human Genetics Annual Meeting. Get together with fellow alumni, students, and faculty of the Department of Human Genetics for an evening social. 

Fri
10/25
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Legal Issues in Genetics - Sonia Suter - George Washington University Law School Human Genetics Seminar Series
Legal Issues in Genetics - Sonia Suter - George Washington University Law School
Fri 10/25 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)

Fri
11/1
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Profiling of Pluripotent Factors in Single Cells and Early Embryos - Sarah Hainer Human Genetics Seminar Series
Profiling of Pluripotent Factors in Single Cells and Early Embryos - Sarah Hainer
Fri 11/1 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)

Fri
11/8
Human Genetics Seminar Series
Statistical Methods for Genetic Risk Prediction - Hongyu Zhao - Yale School of Public Health Human Genetics Seminar Series
Statistical Methods for Genetic Risk Prediction - Hongyu Zhao - Yale School of Public Health
Fri 11/8 12:00PM - 1:00PM
Public Health Lecture Hall (A115)