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

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. 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.

Multi-Disciplinary Training Environment

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.

Informal Interactions with Faculty (372x158)
credit: BCM

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.

Genetics Students (372x158)

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

Tracking down microRNA candidates that can contribute to disease

What started as Ninad Oak’s side project turned out into something much larger, his doctorate thesis. “The project started as my qualifying exam that I proposed at the end of my first year of graduate school,” said Oak, a graduate student in molecular and human genetics in Dr. Sharon E. Plon’s lab. “This was an off topic qualifying exam at the time, meaning the lab had not worked on this topic before.”

Connecting mTOR and Src, two major players in cancer growth

To balance cellular metabolism, mTORC1 integrates a number of signals, including those related to growth factors and amino acid availability. Signals that promote mTORC1 activation trigger cell growth by promoting protein synthesis. On the other hand, signals that inactivate mTORC1 result in the cells breaking down complex molecules to produce energy. In this study, the researchers studied whether Src contributed to the regulation of mTORC1 that is mediated by amino acids.

Solving the mystery of NPM1 in acute myeloid leukemia

Although it has long been recognized that mutations of gene NPM1 play an important role in acute myeloid leukemia, no one has determined how the normal and the mutated forms of the protein NPM1 function. BCM researchers developed new strategies to exploit CRISPR technology to readily target and manipulate solely the mutant form of the protein, also called NPM1c, leaving the rest of the cell intact. This enabled the research team to unlock its function.

credit: Meike van der Heijden/the Zoghbi lab/eLife, 2018
How to ‘jumpstart’ rhythmic breathing at birth

Breathing, as it is performed by higher vertebrates, is a complex biological function involving many types of neurons. BCM researchers have found two neuronal lineages in the hindbrain that act as ‘conductors’ of this exquisite biological symphony. They coordinate and relay the sensory information obtained from various chemosensors to the rhythmogenic neurons in the central respiratory circuit to establish and maintain optimal breathing rhythms, which are especially critical for the survival of a newborn.

Gene therapy offers potential treatment for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a multifactorial degenerative joint disorder that poses a major challenge for treatment. This condition currently affects 28 million people in the United States and most of them rely on symptomatic relief to manage joint inflammation and chronic pain. There are no current disease-modifying therapies for osteoarthritis, but researchers at BCM have identified a potential strategy for treating the disorder from both asymptomatic and disease-modifying perspective by using gene therapy.

credit: National Human Genome Research Institute/Darryl Leja
The genetic diversity in Africa is greater than in any other region in the world

Looking at a subset of HIV-positive children from Botswana, an international team of researchers, co-led by scientists from Baylor College of Medicine, characterized the genetic variation of the population and gained insight into genetic variations that may be important to disease progression.

Fruit flies: ‘living test tubes’ to rapidly screen potential disease-causing human genes

It all began with one young patient; a 7-year old boy who was born without a thymus, an important organ of the immune system, and without functional immune cells. The boy also presented with cardiac and skeletal defects, dysmorphic craniofacial features and some signs of autistic behaviors. Read about how BCM researchers used fruit flies to find a diagnosis.

Novel structure found in ‘antennae’ of light-sensing neurons

Graduate student, Rachayata Dharmat, her mentor,  Dr. Rui Chen and colleagues discovered that the antennae-like structures on light-sensing neurons, called photoreceptors, have a unique feature not observed in the ‘antennae’ or cilia of other types of cells.

credit: National Human Genome Research Institute/Darryl Leja
Unprecedented initiative will sequence genomes of all known species

In what is perhaps the most ambitious biological proposal since the initial Human Genome Project, an international group of researchers, including a team from Baylor College of Medicine, seeks to sequence every known species that calls planet Earth home.

What matters the most to cells

A study in Nature, authored by graduate student, Priya Sivaramakrishnan, her mentor, Dr. Christophe Herman and colleagues, demonstrated that accurately transcribing DNA overrides DNA repair.  

Training Grant

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 GM008307.

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).