Molecular Genetics at UNMC is focused upon cancer genetics; genetic control of embryonic development, including development of the skeletal, neurosensory, cardiovascular and urogenital systems; genetics of complex diseases, including diabetes, dyslexia, obesity and neurodegeneration; and characterization of gene-environment interactions. The ultimate goal of genetics research at UNMC is to integrate data from functional and population-based studies with information from the numerous genome projects to understand genetic predisposition, susceptibility, environmental influences and pathogenesis of human disorders and disease.
Infrastructure to support genetics research at UNMC includes: the Mouse Genome Engineering Facility for generation of knockout and transgenic animals; state-of-the art animal facilities; a Molecular Phenotyping Core for morphologic and histologic analyses and image processing; a DNA Microarray Core with full capabilities for whole genome expression profiling and bioinformatics support; and a DNA Sequencing and Genotyping Facility for high-throughput approaches and linkage analyses.
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of genetics research at UNMC, unique opportunities exist for interactions between the academic departments, the Eppley Institute and the Munroe-Meyer Institute. Numerous genetics-related seminars are sponsored each year by the departments and institutes, providing students and postdoctoral fellows with knowledge of basic research, clinical practice and clinical applications.
Genetics of human diseases:
- Linkage analysis, chromosomal mapping, and positional cloning
- Genes involved in hearing loss, learning disabilities, hyperactivity
- Genes involved in neural tube defects
- Identification of genes that contribute to development of cancer
- Neurosensory systems development and neurodegeneration
- Mechanisms of skeletal development
- Urogenital development and renal agenesis
- Neural crest development, and its role in birth defects
- Identification of regulatory elements that control gene expression in development
- Genome-wide transcriptional regulation of gene expression
- Role of folate in preventing birth defects
- Genetic basis of teratogen susceptibility
- Teratogen mechanisms of action
- Metabolic and nutritional control of gene expression