The PhD in Human Genetics Prepares Future Leaders in Human Genetics and Genomics

This rapidly evolving field of research incorporates multiple areas of modern experimental biology (including but not limited to molecular and behavioral genetics, epigenetics, biochemisty, cell and developmental biology, imaging, and large-scale omics approaches such as genomics, transcriptomics and functional genomics) and of computational biology (including bioinformatics and biostatistics). In their research, Human Genetics PhD Program students tackle Mendelian diseases and genetically complex traits of key relevance to human health.

Our Graduate Program hosts the Genetics and Genomics Home Area of the Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB). We are also associated with the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).  Prospective Human Genetics PhD Program students may apply through the GPB or MSTP admission mechanisms.

The program offers:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Master of Science (MS) on PhD track

A wide variety of courses are offered to equip future independent researchers with fundamental knowledge about state-of-the-art methods for generating experimental data on a genome-wide scale and computational and statistical approaches to draw from the data sound conclusions of biological and medical significance. In addition, courses on medical and ethical issues provide students with a societal perspective on human genetics.

The average time to degree (defined as the time since admission to graduate school at UCLA, including years spent in other graduate programs) in our PhD in Genetics and Genomics Program is approximately five years. Many of our PhD in Genetics and Genomics alumni have published parts of their dissertation work in top scientific journals and become successful scientists in academy or industry.

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The Human Genetics PhD Program is within the Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB)

The Genetics and Genomics Home Area, which is affiliated with the degree-granting Human Genetics PhD Program, is a member of the broader UCLA Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB). There are eleven different Home Areas in GPB, each consisting of an interdepartmental group of faculty and students with shared interests in research areas and approaches. The interdepartmental Home Areas provide in-depth, cutting-edge training for Human Genetics PhD Program students and a wide variety of outstanding faculty research programs for PhD training. Home Areas are integrated under GPB, which coordinates common activities and allows students to move between Home Areas under appropriate circumstances to best pursue their research interests. In these ways, GPB fosters interdisciplinary, collaborative research training aimed at breaking through major boundaries in basic and biomedical biosciences.

The main goal of our Home Area is to inspire and educate young scientists in Genetics and Genomics. This is the best time in history to join our field, as fast and cost-effective high-throughput sequencing of multiple types and layers of genomic information are rapidly revolutionizing the role of Genetics and Genomics in medicine and society. Research in Genetics and Genomics is quickly becoming the key source of new insights, better understanding, and targeted treatments of both rare monogenic diseases and common complex diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, autism, and diabetes.

The investigators at the Genetics and Genomics Home Area at UCLA are developing networks, systems, and other multilayer approaches combining large data sets and high-throughput information at genomic, transcriptomics, methylomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and phenome level to address the complex architecture and multiple properties leading to human disease. The overall research emphasis of the Genetics and Genomics Home Area at UCLA is on identification and characterization of genes, pathways, and molecular mechanisms converting human health to a disease, utilizing new and state-of-the-art computational, bioinformatics, and molecular genetic and genomics approaches in an integrative way. Investigation across species, in model organisms, and at the cellular level is also utilized to elucidate fundamental biological principles and disease-causing mechanisms. The broad expertise among the researchers in our Home Area extends from plant, animal, and human molecular genetics and genomics to computational biology and systems genomics.

In our research efforts, we highly value interdisciplinary knowledge and institutional, national, and international collaboration as the core of our success. Translation to novel medical preventative tools and targeted treatments is the key research goal of the studies in the Human Genetics PhD Program. We anticipate that these translational and multilayer genomics approaches will soon lay a foundation for personalized medicine that allows interpretation of biological high-throughput data at multiple levels through-out an individual’s life in order to tailor preventative measurements and treatments based on his/her genetic, behavioral, and environmental makeup.