Our genetic makeup plays a large role in dictating our health. With our improved knowledge of human genetics and genomic variation, we have tremendous opportunity to dissect the genetic determinants of human diseases such as heart disease, psychiatric conditions, cancer, and osteoarthritis to name a few. Once these genetic contributions are understood, the physician will have a powerful means at his or her disposal for realizing personalized medicine by identifying individual risk factors and offering lifestyle modifications. The study program in human genetics offers third year medical students an integrated program for understanding research in human genetics, its application to human genetic disease for risk assessment, genetic counseling, potential therapeutics, and ethical and legal implications for this research on the patient, the family, and society. We anticipate that students in this program will follow one of several broad paths, utilizing either a molecular approach or a statistical approach to understanding and treating human genetic disease.
Research opportunities are available in laboratories studying such diverse topics as positional cloning of human disease genes, gene therapy, biochemical genetics, animal models of genetic diseases, development and developmental defects, epigenetics, and genetic epidemiology. At the end of the year, students are expected to produce a thesis summarizing their work.
In addition to the research project and thesis, the program requirements include a year-long seminar series held weekly targeting current topics in human genetic research. Other elective courses may be taken with the permission of the program director and the student's preceptor.
Director: Rasheed Gbadegesin, M.D.