Genetics and Genomics

Genetics, the science of inheritance and variation among living organisms, can be traced back to the seminal work of Gregor Mendel, published in 1866. Yet today genetics is one of the most fast-moving fields of biomedical research. Technological progress driven by the relatively new science of genomics, the study of the genomes of organisms, has led to rapid advances over the past few years. We now have the complete DNA sequence of many genomes and are able to decipher the mechanisms that regulate gene expression, configure chromatin architecture, recruit transcription factors and activate or silence individual loci or gene networks. Moreover, we can investigate the cross-talk between the genome and the epigenome, the modifications that alter gene expression but do not change the underlying DNA sequence. These dynamic processes are critical for normal development and differentiated function of distinct cell types in an organism and their failure results in a wide spectrum of human diseases.

Northwestern University is home to a vibrant and interactive group of scientists carrying out world-class, state-of-the-art research into fundamental mechanisms of genetics, genomics and epigenomics. The Genetics and Genomics cluster enhances and builds advanced training for our graduate students in these subject areas. This is an inclusive training opportunity that is available to all trainees on the several university campuses, irrespective of their primary field of study, or their departmental or geographical affiliations.

Training opportunities include:

1.  State of the art workshops.  Workshops will focus on technology or computational biology relevant to genetics and genomics Recent workshops include practical classes on bioinformatic pipelines, and programming skills.

2.  Genetics and Genomics seminars.  High profile scientists will be chosen and invited by the trainees.  Other relevant seminar series and journal clubs are ongoing.

3.  Annual Symposium.  This event is organized jointly by the cluster leadership and the trainees. It brings eminent keynote speakers to the university and includes talks from Northwestern faculty and students. The symposium provides an opportunity for the students to showcase their work and network in the Northwestern Genetics and Genomics community.

Cluster Director

  • Ann Harris, PhD Professor, Pediatrics, Director, Human Molecular Genetics Program, SMCRI

Training Faculty  

* Denotes Training Faculty for PhD students

1. Chromatin and Epigenetics.

2. Regulation of Gene Expression and Transcription Factors.

3. Animal Models for Human Genetic Disease.

4. Novel Genetic Technologies and Bioinformatics.

  • John Crispino*, PhD (DGP) Transcriptional regulation of normal and malignant blood cell development
  • Ishwar Radhakrishnan*, PhD (IBiS) Structure, function, dynamics and informatics of macromolecular complexes
  • Matthew Schipma, PhD, Technical Director NGS Core Facility
  • Ji-Ping Wang, PhD Bioinformatics and genomics

5. Genetics of Complex disease.

6. Clinical Genetics, Personalized Medicine, Genetic Counselling and Ethical, social and legal aspects of genetics.