History

1938

Dr. Roscoe D. Hughes forms the Department of Biology and Genetics in the Medical College of Virginia’s School of Pharmacy, one of the first departments with genetics in its title.

1953

First Graduate degree was awarded.

1962

The department was transferred to the new School of Basic (Health) Science as a Program in Human Genetics.

1968

Virginia Commonwealth University is born, and the Human Genetics program becomes part of VCU’s School of Basic Health Sciences.

1975

Human Genetics attains full department status, making VCU one of only a handful of institutions with autonomous departments of human genetics, and the only one in the southeast. Dr. Walter Nance is recruited to be the first Chair of the Department.

1976

Drs. Linda Corey and Walter Nance establish the Virginia Twin Registry (VTR).

1978

First departmental Ph.D. awarded.

1981

Dr. Lindon Eaves was recruited from the University of Birmingham to establish the Genetic Epidemiology Research Group (GERD).

1983

The Department of Human Genetics becomes part of the VCU School of Medicine.

1984

Dr. Barry Wolf initiates first Statewide screen to test for biotinidase deficiency in newborns.

1986

Dr. Walter Nance becomes President of the American Board of Medical Genetics and the International Society of Twin Studies.

1987

The Stony Point Antenatal Testing Facility is opened.

1990

The Department of Human Genetics creates a graduate Track in Genetic Counseling and matriculates its first students.

1992

Dr. Walter Nance becomes President of the American Society of Human Genetics.

The M.S. in Genetic Counseling graduate program is approved by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

1993

The Fellowship Program in the Department of Human Genetics becomes one of only 24 programs accredited by the American Board of Medical Genetics, one of only two boards providing medical certification to both Ph.D. and M.D. trainees.

1994

The M.S. in Genetic Counseling attains full accreditation by their professional governing body, The American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC).

1996

The Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics is established by merging the GERD (see 1981) and Psychiatric Genetics Research Program (PGRP) in the Department of Psychiatry. The Institute is headed by Drs. Lindon Eaves and Kenneth Kendler.

1997

The Virginia Twin Registry (VTR) and the North Carolina Twin Registry merge to form the VCU Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR) and is directed by Drs. Linda Corey and Lenn Murrelle.

2002

Dr. Peter O’Connell becomes Chair of the department.

2004

The Department establishes an M.S. in Genetic Counseling-Ph.D. in Human Genetics dual degree program.

2006

The VCU Mid-Atlantic Twin Registry (MATR) becomes part of VCU’s Office of Research and Dr. Judy Silberg is appointed the Scientific Director.

2007

Dr. Walter Nance receives the McKusick Leadership Award from American Society of Human Genetics.  Please click here for Dr. Cynthia Morton’s (Ph.D. in Human Genetics, 1982) introduction and Dr. Nance's speech.

2008

Dr. Paul Fisher becomes Chair of the department and the inaugural Head of the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine.

The department changes its name from the Department of Human Genetics to the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics.

2010

Human and Molecular Genetics faculty members establish two new research training programs, the VCU Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) and the VCU-IRACDA postdoctoral program to help diversify the biomedical workforce in conjunction with the VCU Center for Health Disparities.

2012

Human and Molecular Genetics faculty members, Drs. Joyce Lloyd and Devanand Sarkar establish the Cancer and Molecular Medicine Ph.D. training concentration in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

2013

Dr. Lindon Eaves is named Emeritus Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics.