​Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Graduate Student Coordinator: Melanie Relich
Faculty Co-Directors: Jim Skeath, Ph.D. & John Edwards, Ph.D.​

GRE is not required for this program

Geneticists seek to understand how genes are inherited, modified, expressed and regulated, as well as the genetic basis of human disease. The field of genetics and genomics has been astonishingly successful in deciphering the genetic code and providing us with a clear picture of the nature of the gene, but much remains to be learned about fundamental genetic mechanisms and how specific gene mutations lead to disease. How is it that only the appropriate genes are turned on in a particular cell type? How do cells replicate their genes with such remarkable speed and fidelity? By what processes do genes become altered to drive evolution or cause disease? The possibility of finding answers to such fundamental questions makes genetics and genomics an exciting field of biology.

Laboratories in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program pursue answers to these and other important questions in human studies and using a variety of model organisms including phage and viruses, bacteria, yeast and fungi, nematodes, fruit flies, plants, and mice. Use of such organisms provides opportunities to design and carry out experiments that reveal fundamental biological processes in great detail and that model specific human diseases in simpler model organisms. In addition, they offer the opportunity to apply genetics and genomics to the study of human biology and disease, ensuring translational relevance​. Laboratories in the Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program at Washington University have been at the forefront of human molecular genetics and the Human Genome Project. Students interested in studying fundamental genetic mechanisms, as well as those with a desire to apply this knowledge to human biology, will find many laboratories within the Program in which to pursue their doctoral research.


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