Welcome to the Department of Human Genetics at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH). The Department is the hub of genetics teaching and research activities at the University of Pittsburgh. Although active research in various disciplines of human genetics is also being performed in other departments throughout the University, we are the only academic department in the University that offers degrees at the MS and PhD levels in Human Genetics, as well as an MPH and Certificate in Public Health Genetics and an MS in Genetic Counseling. The Department provides broad training in all aspects of human genetics (basic, applied, clinical) and prepares the next generation of human geneticists to serve in academia, medicine, government, and industry. We currently have 28 students pursuing the PhD degree, 20 pursuing the MS degree in Genetic Counseling, and 23 pursuing MS or MPH degrees.
This is a very exciting time to be involved in human genetics as the human genome has been deciphered and the race is on to elucidate the genetic bases of human diseases. Since the completion of the Human Genome Project, the role of genetics in medicine has increased exponentially, as identification of genetic factors for different diseases are helping to understand the underlying biological mechanisms that may one day lead to therapeutic treatment and prevention of disease. We were the first Department of Human Genetics in a School of Public Health and the major focus of the research of our faculty is to elucidate the genetic architecture of complex and common diseases of public health importance. Particular emphasis is being placed on the genetics of following diseases: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, age-related macular degeneration, obesity, cancer, otitis media, Down syndrome, disorders of elastic fibers, demyelination disorders, lupus, Alzheimer's disease, and aging. Our large statistical genetics group is actively involved in developing new statistical and bioinformatic methods for genetics research. We also have faculty involved in research on ethical issues in genetics research and the provision of genetics services, on informed consent and on individual's experiences of facing genetic risk. The translation of this work to the public is a major focus of the Genetic Counseling and Public Health Genetic programs.
In addition to our strengths in basic and applied research in human genetics, we also have one of the oldest and most respected teaching and training programs in Genetic Counseling in the country. Since its inception in the early 1970's in the GSPH, our Genetic Counseling program has produced hundreds of genetic counselors that serve families and patients afflicted with genetic diseases all across North America.
The faculty of the Department of Human Genetics works collaboratively with other faculty interested in human genetics within the GSPH and in the School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, the School of Dental Medicine, the Nursing School, Magee-Womens Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and the Cancer Genetics Program located at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Hillman Cancer and Magee-Womens Hospital. Almost all of these faculty members have secondary appointments in the Department of Human Genetics and they are involved in collaborative and/or teaching activities in our Department. Thus, our students have the opportunity to benefit directly from a diverse set of experts across the University.
I encourage you to tour our web site to learn more about our training and research programs, and about our faculty, staff and students. I, along with our dedicated faculty and staff look forward to discussing our training and research programs with prospective students and trainees. Please feel free to contact us for further information.
M. Ilyas Kamboh, PhD, FAHA
Chairman, Department of Human Genetics