Human Genetics Department News

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

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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

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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.    

Dean's Day 2021 Doctoral Category Winners

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Congratulations to first place winner Alexander Layden (EPI ‘20). Second place was awarded to Alexander Sundermann (EPI '22) and third to Tianyu Zou (HUGEN ‘21).   

Dean's Day 2021 HUGEN departmental award recipients

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Megan Czekalski (HUGEN '21) won in the master's category and Tianyu Zou (HUGEN '22) won in the doctoral category.   

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.   

Conley receives Provost's Doctoral Mentoring Award

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Congratulations to Yvette Conley (HUGEN '93, '99), one of the 2021 recipients of the Provost's Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring for her work at the School of Nursing, Department of Health Promotion and Development. The award recognizes faculty members who serve as outstanding mentors to graduate stduents seeking a research doctorate degree.   

Meet Haley Director, Health Justice Scholar

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Through the Health Justice Scholars program, Haley Director (HUGEN MPH '22) looks forward to engaging with the Spanish-speaking population in the Pittsburgh area to assess and address their needs. She plans to use her privilege and knowledge of the health care system to bring about systemic change and support those who have been historically marginalized and overlooked.   

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?  

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