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Genetics and Genomics

Contact: Amanda T​oland​, PhD and Vincenzo Coppola, MD
Faculty Liaisons


Not only does every human disease and condition have a hereditary component, but genetic studies also encompass all aspects of molecular genetics of development, differentiation, aging, evolution and death. Thus, an understanding of genetics is an important foundation for many disciplines within the biological sciences. The role of genetics in normal and disease processes is a focus in numerous laboratories of faculty members. For students to receive a transcript designation of Genetics, s/he will use advanced methods to study basic mechanisms of inherited or acquired traits, among them cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neuropathies, developmental disorders or infectious diseases. Potential advisors use model systems from bacteria to homo sapiens to investigate causes, molecular mechanisms, diagnoses or treatment of diseases or conditions: from autism to zebrafish development, from autoimmunity to splicing mechanisms, from age-associated CNS changes to genetic contributions to human variation, from mechanisms involved in acute leukemia to X-linked developmental disorders, from molecular genetics of addiction to genetics of DNA repair, from predisposition to common cancers to cancer prevention research, from evolutionary history of organisms to mechanisms of VDJ joining.

There are more than 40 faculty members with a genetic theme to research in their laboratories, with ultimate goals related to understanding human disease states. Potential advisors are in several departments, as well as Centers, with access to Shared Resources that facilitate students’ introduction to state-of-the-art methods for massive parallel analyses of gene and protein expression.

For Genetics and Genomics ARE, please see below for possible courses to fill the requirement. Note that courses are not given every semester, so you must plan somewhat carefully to fulfill the requirements along with your regular graduate studies. 

Recommended Curriculum

Required Courses

In addition to the core curriculum, for a student to receive the transcript designation Genetics, she/he must complete a total of 9 credit hours including the required course:

  • MCB, Pathology and Molecular Genetics 5733 (2 credits) The principles of human genetics covering mapping of disease genes, defects causing human disease, the cloning of disease genes, gene therapy and transgenes. Offered Spring semester.


Elective Courses

In addition to the above, a student may, with permission of her/his dissertation advisor, should take at least 7 credit hours from the following elective courses:

  • BSGP 7810 Animal Models of Human Disease (1 credit) Transgeni and knockout mouse technology and examples of models for genetic diseases with different patterns of inheritance.
  • CBG 7931 Student Seminar in CBG (1 credit) Student and post-doctoral presentations of research.
  • MICRBIO RNA World 2.00CR
  • CBG 8270-Biochemical mechanisms of cancer.  Touches on some genetics but also other mechanisms associated with cancer development. This course is offered every other spring (in even years).

Courses from the new genetic counseling major are offered every year; one that might be relevant for BMS grad students are:

  • Current Technologies: INTMED8050 (Every Fall) Through clinical cases and reports, we will investigate the techniques used to identify alterations in the genome and the bioinformatics resources used to interpret them. Students will develop knowledge and skills to explain technical aspects of diagnostic and screening methods; discuss sensitivity, specificity, and implications of genetic test results; and interpret clinical significance of test results depending on situational variables​​