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Human Genetics

The Vanderbilt Human Genetics PhD program (HGEN) has served as a model of successful interdisciplinary biomedical research to graduate students since its inception. Genetics is the study of variation in and transmission of hereditary material from generation to generation and how this information is translated into biological function. Genetics utilizes multiple techniques to understand the variation, transmission and function of hereditary material from the molecular level to the population level. Because of the pervasive impact of genetic variation on biological function, genetics has become a unifying theme for much research in the biological and biomedical sciences and can serve as a focus for the study of virtually all biological processes and systems. Genetics plays an ever increasing role in elucidation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of human disease and birth defects, as well as in their prevention, diagnosis and therapy. In addition to the use of genetics to study biomedical questions posed by other fields, genetics encompasses an important set of questions as to how the information content of a set of relatively simple molecules can be translated into complex organisms, how variation at the molecular level can cause differences among individuals in terms of normal variation and disease processes, and how this variation within and among populations can be used to explain differences in disease prevalence.

Researchers at the Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research are studying human traits using multiple approaches. Examples include:
Mouse, Zebra Fish, Flies, Cell Culture
Breast, Colon, and Prostate Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, Thrombosis, Diabetes, Obesity, AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis Susceptibility, AMD, Glaucoma, Mitochondrial Disease, Pre-term Birth
Health disparities among European, African American, Hispanic & Asian populations
Gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions, systems genomics, high throughput sequencing