Genetics and Complex Diseases
Gökhan Hotamisligil, MD, PhD
Director of Administration
David Hastings email@example.com
Adaptation to alterations – in nutrients, lifestyle and dietary exposures, and environmental factors – is central to human health. The emphasis of the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases is the elaborate interplay of biological processes with environmental factors as they apply to chronic, multigenic, and multifactorial diseases, with special attention to metabolism.
Research programs in the department focus on major threats to global health. They explore the molecular mechanisms of adaptive responses to environmental signals in order to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the intricate interaction among genetic determinants and their divergent responses to stress signals or metabolic input. Alterations in these integrated adaptive mechanisms, which are central to many devastating disorders – such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer – have a major effect on the health of human populations worldwide.
The research activities in the department and its doctoral and postdoctoral training programs concentrate on the molecular, cellular, and organismic adaptations and responses to nutrients, toxins, and radiation stress. They also explore the genetic and molecular networks controlling these interactions in experimental systems. The programmatic focus is on the genetic and mechanistic approaches to biological adaptation. Integrated interdisciplinary opportunities also aim to apply this knowledge to human populations so that complex human diseases can be understood, prevented, and treated using innovative approaches.
Faculty research is concentrated within several broad categories, including stress and inflammatory signaling pathways, chronic inflammation, nutrient sensing and molecular transport, oxidative stress and adaptive stress resistance, hormone action, metabolic homeostasis, endoplasmic reticulum dysfunction and the unfolded protein response in metabolism, nuclear hormone receptors, cell growth and proliferation, and protein stability.
The areas under study include nutritional and metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases; inflammatory bowel disease; cancer; and aging. Since most of these health problems emerge as clusters, understanding the common underlying mechanisms carries the potential to translate research findings into new and effective interventions against multiple common and chronic diseases. Several research programs involve multidisciplinary collaborations with faculty members in other HSPH departments and Harvard-affiliated centers, as well as other institutions particularly involved in gene-environment interactions and the application of high-density and genomic based technologies, proteomic approaches, and chemical biology and physiology platforms.
Degree Programs in Genetics and Complex Diseases
The department offers only the PhD. No master’s programs or other doctoral programs are available.
All program requirements are in addition to the schoolwide degree requirements.
Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences in Public Health (Genetics and Complex Diseases)
The department’s PhD program is run through the HSPH Division of Biological Sciences, an umbrella organization comprising several of the school’s departments. Prospective students should apply to the PhD program in the Division of Biological Sciences. Application is through the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
For more information about research and training in genetics and complex diseases, please contact:
Director of Administration
Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases
665 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Schoolwide degree requirements
Online application to the PhD program in the Division of Biological Sciences is required. Use the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences online application form, available at: http://www.gsas.harvard.edu/prospective_students/ application_instructions_and_information.php.