Human Genetics Department News

Parker says: It takes a village, privilege and individual effort

THE CAMPUS - In a lecture at Allegheny College titled Genetic Enhancement: A Game Changer for Sports and Social Justice? HUGEN's Lisa Parker said that many components of individual effort are not in the individual's control but are rather the influenced by unjust social practices that are beyond the individual's control.  

Gollin attends PBCC event celebrating Wendie Berg

HUGEN's Susanne Gollin, a past recipient, was invited to participate in an event this month to celebrate Wendie Berg winning one of this year's PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) research grants to support her breast cancer diagnostic imaging research, bringing the total that PBCC has awarded to researchers at Pitt and UPMC to over one million dollars. Gollin was gifted with a PBCC lab coat.   

Padiath and colleagues 'see' dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei

ASPPH FRIDAY LETTER - Our cells sometimes have to squeeze through pretty tight spaces. And when they do, the nuclei inside must go along for the ride. Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, HUGEN’s Quasar Padiath made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish through narrow openings without springing a leak.  

Grubs receives 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award

Human genetics professor Robin Grubs was honored with the 2019 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award. Presented at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony in February, the award recognizes excellence in teaching by members of the University of Pittsburgh’s faculty as evidenced by students, colleagues, department chairs, and deans. Each faculty awardee wins a cash prize of $2,000 and a grant of $3,000 to support his or her teaching activities.... 

Scientists uncover dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei (video)

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES  - Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, a team of scientists led by HuGen's Quasar Padiath has made a fundamental biological discovery that explains the structure of the nuclear envelope and gives tantalizing clues as to how cells squish through narrow openings without springing a leak. The findings also could be key to untangling the mechanisms underlying several genetic diseases.  

Biost joins Hugen in Staff Volunteer and Team Building Day

HUGEN staff joined BIOST for their Staff Volunteer and Team Building Day, visiting Global Links to sort medical supplies for distribution in resource-poor communities. Afterwards, they switched gears at Lumberjaxes in Mount Lebanon, where they showed off their axe-throwing skills (Joe Germanoski was the winner!). Staff were glad to work together and unwind before the start of a new term.   

D'Annibale receives travel award from the Society for Inherited Metabolic Disorders

The SIMD Travel Award is given to trainees and graduate students in the field of metabolic disorders based on submitted abstracts.  HUGEN's Olivia D'Annibale is a recent recipient of the award. Her research shows an increase in protein and enzyme activity of isovaleryl-CoA dehydrogenase (IVD) which when deficient results in the inborn error of metabolism, isovaleric acidemia (IVA).   

Vanyukov interprets new study findings and their relationship to the gateway drug theory

THE ATLANTIC - With adolescent marijuana use stagnant and alcohol and cigarette use delayed and declining among minors, it might be time to leave the popular understanding of the gateway drug in the past. “Gateway theory only relates to initiation of drug use, not progression to abuse," says HUGEN's Michael Vanyukov. Instead, he suggests an alternate theory of substance abuse known as the common-liability theory.   

Gollin joins Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees

Congratulations to HUGEN's SUSANNE GOLLIN for being invited to join the Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees next year. They are meeting next month to explore the question: "What are the appropriate roles, the responsible mandates and interventions, of healthcare governing boards in guaranteeing the safety of the hospitals and systems that they oversee?"  

Parker comments on new study that shows downside of medical crowdfunding

REUTERS - While crowdfunding platforms can fill insurance gaps, helping patients pay for essential care and avoid medical debt, they are also being used to raise large sums of money for ineffective and experimental treatments, a new study suggests. The study muddies the issue by mixing clearly unproven therapies with treatments that are being tested in clinical trials, said HUGEN's Lisa Parker.  

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