Human Genetics Department News

Experts Say Oz's medical expertise can be double-edged, especially amid pandemic

WESA - HUGEN's Lisa Parker, director of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, said many people look to authority figures like Dr. Oz for guidance. But Parker said [his] credentials can lead to what bioethicists call “a generalization of expertise,” in which people assume that because someone is an expert in one area, they also have expertise in another.  

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

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."  

Cat in the Lab: Feline Genomes Fuel Precision Medicine

GEN - Leslie Lyons (HUGEN ‘91, '87), professor of comparative medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, emphasizes the importance of using the right model for studying a disease. When one thinks of the most popular and useful animal models in biomedical research, one thinks of mice and rats, followed by rabbits, dogs, monkeys, and so on.  

Meet our Faculty: David Finegold

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

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

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

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... 

What is it like to study public health genetics? Pitt Public Health students present during Public Health Genetics Week 2021

As part of National Public Health Genetics Week HUGEN's Andrea Durst moderated a panel of four Pitt Public Health students offering their perspectives on what interested them in getting into public health and why they chose to focus on public health genetics. "Public health genetics has the potential to shift public health as we know it," said Courtney Kasturiarachi. "It means increased access to genetic testing and screening as well as the forc... 

Feingold selected for American Council on Education Fellowship

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

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.   

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