Hugen Faculty News

Human Genetics Faculty & Research News

Meet our Faculty: Eleanor Feingold

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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... 

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.    

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.   

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?  

Shaffer selected for the 2020 Craig Award for Excellence in Teaching

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Congratulations to Dr. John Shaffer (HUGEN '08), assistant professor of human genetics and oral biology, on being selected for the 2020 James L. Craig Award for Teaching Excellence. Craig awardees are nominated annually by students and selected by a committee of students and past awardees.   

Parker elected Hastings Center fellow

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PITTWIRE - HUGEN's Lisa Parker was recently elected fellow to The Hastings Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization of research scholars studying ethical questions in medicine, science and technology that help inform policy, practice and public understanding. Parker, along with Robert Arnold of Pitt Medicine, is among twelve newly elected fellows recognized for their outstanding accomplishments informing scholarship and public understanding... 

Finegold awarded grant to review sustainability and public health

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@PITT - HuGen's David Finegold has been named one of eight faculty awardees for the 2020 John C. Mascaro Faculty Program in Sustainability. Created to enhance interdisciplinary excellence in sustainability research and education, the award will support Finegold's comprehensive review of sustainability in the curriculum at Pitt Public Health.   

Facher connects Pitt faculty with LifeX

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IMPACT - Evan Facher (HUGEN '97) notes that one of the important ways that the Innovation Institute powers invention and ignites progress is by connecting Pitt faculty with the resources they need to accelerate the translation of their research from the lab to the market. LifeX Labs, the life sciences accelerator launched by the University last year, is one of those resources. LifeX is hosting two opportunities this week for innovators to be con... 

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

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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, and ethical guidelines to support a sustainable African research enterprise—led by African scientists, for the African people. Minster is heading the bi... 

Gopalakrishna finds breastmilk antibody protects infants from deadly disease

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US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT - 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 shoudl be tested so that the most protective milk can be targeted to the most at-risk infants.   

HUGEN's Lauren Winter melds genetic counseling and dental genetics

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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 job, from solving problems with a multidisciplinary team of researchers to interacting with the mothers and children participating in the study, "I cou... 

Finegold talks about the importance of handling WES properly

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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 this data is profoundly challenging and absolutely requires special expertise within the laboratory."   

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