A Letter from the Chair
Human genetics is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing fields in the biomedical sciences. The availability of the genome sequence has revolutionized our ability to discover the molecular basis for human genetic disease. This is truly an exciting time to be a part of the human genetics community. Dr. James V. Neel established this as the first department of human genetics in the United States in 1956. Neel contributed to many areas of genetics. He deduced the mode of inheritance of sickle cell anemia, determined the mutagenic potential of radiation exposure following the atomic bombing of Japan, and propelled population genetic research forward by collecting samples from isolated tribes in South America. The research of current faculty also covers a broad range of areas, including population and statistical genetics, genomic instability, the genetic epidemiology of common diseases, genomics, the isolation and characterization of disease-causing mutations in humans and mice, gene therapy, regulation of gene expression, mammalian developmental genetics, and cancer genetics. Graduate students have the opportunity to carry out interdisciplinary genetics research in these diverse areas. The impact of our Department's research is recognized widely, and this is a testament to the excellence of our graduate students and the importance of their accomplishments.
Our graduate students come from across the country and the world. We currently have 24 students pursuing Ph.D. degrees and 12 students pursuing Master's degrees in Genetic Counseling. Our students are very successful in competing for research fellowships and prestigious awards. Many of our former graduates hold academic research positions and are prominent leaders in genetics research. Graduate students have access to an impressive array of research and training resources. The University of Michigan core facilities are extensive and include DNA sequencing, genotyping, generation of genetically engineered mouse models of human disease, microscopy and image analysis, microarray analysis, proteomics, and protein and carbohydrate analysis. These shared resources facilitate research progress.
Our Department has a distinguished tradition of accomplishments in genetics. I am confident that contributions of current and future graduate students will continue this tradition. I invite you to explore our web site to learn more about our faculty, students, fellows and staff, and about our research and training programs. I look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Ann Arbor.