student in a lab coat

Alexandra Marrero Quinones

In 2020 STEM students at VCU established a group associated with the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Over the next academic year they created a project called Striving & Thriving in STEM which highlights the journeys of underrepresented STEM students, including one of our Ph.D. students Alexandra Marrero Quinones. Alex works in Dr. Nicholas Johnson on a type of muscular dystrophy. You can read about Alex’s story here.


Students wrapping gifts for the holidays

Holiday Cheer

To get into the spirit of the season and take their minds off of finals, department students volunteered to wrap Christmas presents for children who have one or both parents incarcerated during the holiday season. Christiane Morecock recruited her fellow students for this meaningful community activity through the nonprofit Offender Aid and Restoration or OAR. Pictured clockwise from bottom left: Alexander Marrero-Quinones, Walker Rodgers, Christiane Morecock, Ting-Xuan Lu and Alison Gaynor.

Lindon J. Eaves, Ph.D., D.Sc., MA (Oxon)

Our dear friend, mentor, and colleague, The Rev. Dr. Lindon John Eaves, a giant in the field of behavioral #genetics and professor emeritus in the VCU School of Medicine, unexpectedly passed away on March 8, 2022. 

Dr. Eaves studied genetics at the University of Birmingham and theology at Ripon College Cuddesdon. He was professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oxford until 1981, when he moved to Virginia Commonwealth University where Walter Nance and Linda Corey had established the Virginia Twin Registry. In 1996, he and Kenneth Kendler founded the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, where he is currently professor emeritus and actively engaged in research and training.

Dr. Eaves' interests embraced, but were not confined to, the study of human variation, with particular focus on human behavior and its disorders. His research encompassed the development of mathematical models that reflected competing theories of the causes and familial transmission of human differences, the design of studies for the resolution, analytical methods for parameter estimation and hypothesis-testing and application to substantive questions about specific human traits.

man sitting in front of a computer

Walter E. Nance, M.D., Ph.D.

It is with great sadness that we deliver the news that Dr. Walter Nance passed away on Sunday, October 17, 2021, at age 88.  Dr. Nance served as the Chair of the Department of Human Genetics from 1975 through 2002.  He established a strong Department, and he is fondly remembered by many at VCU and beyond who knew him as a colleague, scientist and mentor.

Dr. Nance was a scientific Renaissance man, with a career spanning the many facets of human genetics.  His work encompassed twin studies, gene mapping, gene identification for genetic syndromes, the study of polymorphisms, genetic epidemiology, molecular genetics, genomics, functional genomics and the genetics of deafness.  In recognition of his illustrious career, Dr. Nance received the 2007 American Society of Human Genetics Leadership Award, having served as President of the Society in 1992.

He was an expert at many things beyond science, including photography, drawing, writing and cooking.  What is more, he will be remembered for his dry wit, kindness, and refusing to cast others in a negative light. 

The Department of Human and Molecular Genetics offers our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of such an important member of the VCU community.