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Molecular Genetics and Systems Biology

Recent advances in whole genome sequencing have transformed the way biologists tackle problems in areas as diverse as biomedical research, plant biology, and environmental microbiology. This trend is bound to continue with the advent of ever more powerful sequencing technologies. Moreover, molecular genetics has become unified across the entire spectrum of model organisms because many cutting-edge techniques can be applied across the entire board of model organisms. Scientists of the 21st century are rising up to the challenge of deciphering the workings of complex processes that require the interaction of numerous genes. The success of future investigators in this area will depend in large part on broad, yet rigorous, training that emphasizes the interwoven nature of biological systems, whether it is the amino acids and polypeptides in a protein complex, the gene products that make up a developmental pathway or signaling pathway, or the quantitative traits that govern selection and fitness in a host-microbe interaction. The GST curriculum lays a strong foundation in genetics and genomics. Students then build on this framework in their dissertation projects, which, collectively, span a wide range of cutting-edge problems.

Research interests of GST investigators include:

  • Genetic basis of neural development in the brain
  • Growth control in stem cells
  • Cell cycle control and cancer formation
  • Bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogenesis
  • Human genetic disorders
  • Protein trafficking
  • Biosensor technology
  • Gene regulation at pre/post-transcriptional levels
  • Role of microbes in marine ecosystems and bioremediation