Human Genetics Department News

Dean's Day 2021 HUGEN departmental award recipients

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

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

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

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

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?  

Liu's research on the genetics of facial shape wins award at major international conference

Dongjing Liu (HUGEN '20) won the International Genetic Epidemiology Society's first place poster award for his poster titled "Transcriptome-wide association study of human facial shape identifies potential mediating genes", which he presented virtually at the IGES Annual Meeting, July 1 - 4, 2020.  

Senter-Jamieson: 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award for Teaching and Dissemination

Leigha Senter is a licensed genetic counselor and associate professor at The Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute where she has specialized in cancer genetics risk assessment for 17 years. Senter has more than a decade of research experience with a primary focus in BRCA gene-related projects with more than 80 peer reviewed publications. "It was at Pitt that I developed a clinical curiosity and a foundatio... 

Padiath lab receives donation for ADLD research

Hugen's Padiath lab received a donation for their ongoing research on Autosomal Dominant Leukodystrophy (ADLD). The donation to the Leukodystrophy Research Fund stemmed from a GoFundMe fundraiser in memory of Nancy Chen, which raised a total of $17,285. ADLD is one of a group of genetic disorders called leukodystrophies. This condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern, which means one copy of the altered gene in each cell is suffici... 

Innovation Institute reports record number of invention disclosures, despite pandemic

PITTWIRE - From swimming devices to rare disease gene therapies, Pitt inventors never stop: The Innovation Institute reported a record 394 invention disclosures for last fiscal year, and Director Evan Facher (HUGEN '97) says another robust year is ahead.  

Chancellor Gallagher shares his outrage, grief, and solidarity

In a letter to the community, Chancellor Gallagher shares his outrage, grief, and anger. He challenges us all to demonstrate solidarity by standing with Pitt’s African American students, faculty, staff, and alumni in a shared commitment to realizing meaningful change. "How many times must we witness these blatant examples of injustice, hatred, brutality, and discrimination before we resolve to change things?"  We must plot a path forward.  ... 

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