Mission

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Our research mission is to investigate how heritable and acquired gene variants interact with the environment to affect human health.  Investigator expertise encompasses identification of disease-associated gene variants, control of gene expression, cancer genetics, developmental genetics, gene-environment interactions and behavioral or psychiatric disorders.  These studies are facilitated by the department’s fruit fly, zebra fish and mouse models of human disease, and our internationally recognized Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry resources.

Our educational mission is to develop and maintain a curriculum that effectively prepares students for successful careers in human genetics, a challenging task for a discipline that reinvents itself on a regular basis.  We achieve our education and training objectives by offering undergraduate, graduate, professional and higher level specialty courses, as well as mentored research and clinical training opportunities.

Our clinical mission is to diagnose disorders, estimate individual risks via genetic counseling, and where possible, use information about patient’s genetic variation to specify risk and identify optimized individual therapies.  For example, we carry out Virginia’s statewide newborn screening to detect and treat infants with inherited metabolic disorders, outpatient genetic evaluation and counseling services, inpatient pediatric services, and diagnostic genetic testing services through a collaborative program with the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology.