Contribute to our understanding of fundamental genetic and genomics principles. Use the insights you gain to illuminate evolution, elucidate new biology, and potentially guide the development of new treatment options to improve human health.
Frontier Scientific Research
As the home of the number one NIH funded genetics department, the largest clinical genetics program in the nation and the BCM Human Genome Sequencing Center -- one of only four such centers in the nation and one of the three leaders of the Human Genome Sequencing Project -- Baylor College of Medicine is an international leader in genetics and genomics. Our faculty members and students publish investigations from fundamental to translational research in top-tier journals in the biomedical field. BCM ranks fourth in the world in the Nature Index of high affiliation articles in genetics. For over 40 years, BCM has not only been making breakthrough discoveries in genome integrity, molecular evolution, gene regulation and brain function, we have been creating the tools and techniques that make these discoveries possible.
We are a global leader in the translation of genomic technologies to clinical diagnostics, with 80,000 tests performed annually. As a student in our program, you will witness the tremendous impact of these technologies on the evaluation of Mendelian disorders and apply this information in your research.
If your goal is to contribute to our understanding of fundamental genetic principles and use the insights you gain to guide the development of new treatment options to improve human health, then we invite you to join us. For more information view our Department of Molecular and Human Genetics brochure.
Multi-Disciplinary Training Environment
At BCM, faculty members have the freedom to select the programs that align with their research. Rather than be bound by the department or center into which they were hired, faculty members opt into participation in graduate programs. This ensures that you will interact with faculty who bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives across the full depth and breadth of genetics and genomics.
Personalized Training & Career Development
Partnering with program leadership and your mentor, you will have the flexibility to tailor your training to match your interests and prepare for the career you want.
Where Will Your Ph.D. Take You?
From day one we encourage you to think deeply about your career choices. Wherever your ambition leads, you will receive the support you need to follow a path well worn by our alumni who have built successful careers across diverse endeavors.
Genetics & Genomics News
Book release: “Genomics of Rare Diseases. Understanding Disease Genetics Using Genomic Approaches”
“Genomics of Rare Diseases” offers readers a broad understanding of current knowledge on rare diseases from a genomics perspective.
Sorting out cell type-specific molecular barcodes
In the last 10 years, scientists generated thousands of whole genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) data sets costing millions of dollars, yet were unable to appreciate much of the information available in the data. WGBS is a next-generation sequencing technology, the current gold-standard approach to determine DNA methylation of each cytosine, one of the DNA building blocks, in the entire genome. Existing analytical approaches can not distinguish methylation signals arising from different cell types. Baylor researchers developed a software that identifies cell type-specific methylation patters.
PolyA-miner accurately assesses the effect of alternative polyadenylation on gene expression
Researchers with an interest in unraveling gene regulation in human health and disease are expanding their horizons by closely looking at alternative polyadenylation (APA), an under-charted mechanism that regulates gene expression. The interest in APA has resulted in the development of several 3′ sequencing (3′Seq) techniques that allow for precise identification on APA sites on RNA strands. But what researchers are missing is a robust computational tool that is specifically designed to analyze the wealth of 3′Seq data that has been generated. Baylor researchers developed a tool for this they call PolyA-miner.
Watch that smell! Scents can regulate fat storage
Is it possible to change the body’s fat storage without changing eating habits? Working with the laboratory worm C. elegans, researchers conducted a broad screen to investigate whether neurons can actively send signals that, without affecting feeding habits, could alter lipid metabolism. Graduate students, Marzia Savini created the illustration shown here for the article.
Solving the puzzle of Mitchell disease
When a patient with puzzling neurological symptoms enrolled in the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, researchers were set on solving the mystery. The patient presented with an unidentified late-onset neurodegenerative disorder. The team named this new syndrome “Mitchell disease” in reference to the first patient to be diagnosed with this disorder and looked to identify its genetic basis.
From the labs to bedside: Genomics can drive precision medicine
You can’t escape your genetics, but with a little help, you can be proactive and intervene. That is why researchers at Baylor College of Medicine’s Human Genome Sequencing Center are working with Baylor cardiologists to determine patients’ genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. As part of the HeartCare study, participants will undergo genetic testing to identify genes that influence risk for cardiovascular disease and related conditions.
AKAP8 and the delicate balance between normal and metastatic states
A protein naturally produced in the body has been found to suppress breast cancer metastasis in animal models of human tumors. In this study, the same team at BCM that published a pioneering study that brought alternative splicing to the field of cancer research, investigated how alternative splicing contributes to cancer metastasis by looking for proteins that regulate alternative splicing events linked to metastasis.
A closer look at severe malnutrition
Severe acute childhood malnutrition presents in two clinically distinct forms: edematous severe acute malnutrition (ESAM) and non-edematous SAM (NESAM). Children with ESAM tend to show body swelling and extensive dysfunction of multiple organs, including liver, blood cells and the gut, as well as skin and hair abnormalities. NESAM, on the other hand, typically presents with weight loss and wasting. BCM researchers and colleagues looked at these conditions from a molecular perspective. Specifically, they investigated whether DNA methylation differed between ESAM and NESAM. Their findings suggest novel opportunities for improving these conditions in the future.
The herpes virus dilemma in Alzheimer’s disease
There is currently a debate about whether herpes virus infections play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and BCM researchers are actively contributing to the discussion. They looked into the proposed link between herpes virus infections and Alzheimer’s disease and found unexpected results.
There is a new player in adult bone healing
Having a better understanding of how adult bones heal could reveal new ways of repair fractures faster and help find novel treatments for osteoporosis. Dr. Dongsu Park, assistant professor of molecular and human genetics and an alum of the BCM Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and his colleagues investigate adult bone healing and recently uncovered a new mechanism that has potential therapeutic applications.
Student Research News
Students are critical members of research teams and often the first authors on the newsworthy publications from faculty laboratories. View student research news.
From the Labs
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The Genetics and Genomics Graduate Program is supported by National Institute of General Medical Sciences Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) Training Grant GM139534.
In order to earn this grant, our program successfully demonstrated that we provide high-quality research training, mentored research experiences, and additional training opportunities that equip trainees with the technical (e.g., appropriate methods, technologies, and quantitative/computational approaches), operational (e.g., independent knowledge acquisition, rigorous experimental design, and interpretation of data) and professional (e.g. management, leadership, communication, and teamwork) skills required for careers in the biomedical research workforce (i.e., the breadth of careers that sustain biomedical research in areas that are relevant to the NIH mission).
Stipends and Benefits
At BCM we are focused on you and your training. If your vision for your future includes teaching, you may choose to gain experience as a teaching assistant. If you do not want to teach, you have the freedom to focus exclusively on your education and research as well as to work with your mentor to take advantage of other BCM resources that match your interests.
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
The Genetics & Genomics graduate program is part of the Baylor College of Medicine Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Learn more about our curriculum and admissions process as well as find resources and services designed to support your success throughout graduate school and your future career.
Many of the faculty members in our inter-disciplinary program are members of the BCM Department of Molecular and Human Genetics. The Department's mission is to transform medicine with the practice and science of genetics.