Information for Prospective Students

On behalf of our faculty, thank you for your interest in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Established in 2003, we are the newest academic program at the Harvard Chan School and our department includes 8 full-time faculty, 10 doctoral students, 28 research associates and fellows. The cutting edge basic research of our department focuses on the interactions between genetic and biological determinants and environmental signals that contribute to complex (multigenic and multifactorial) diseases. Our principal mission is to systemically resolve the integrated adaptive responses of cells and organisms to exogenous signals and stresses, including nutrients and environmental stressors. This critical interface is a core biological landscape from which many chronic and inflammatory diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer emerge. We seek academic excellence, low student-to-faculty ratios, and strong collaborative ties within the greater Harvard community of the Longwood Medical area to offer students a unique learning experience. We offer training and fellowship opportunities through programs in radiation biology, molecular toxicology, and nutritional biochemistry, along with a unique program for interdisciplinary training in genetics and complex diseases. If you are interested in tackling the complex mechanistic basis of these chronic, non-infectious diseases that are among the greatest threats to global health and contribute to exploring the application of your discoveries for prevention, treatment and eradication of these problems, this is the right program for you.

Students interested in our department should apply to the Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH) Ph.D. degree program administered through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. I invite you to visit the BPH website for more detailed information. For faster processing, our admissions office encourages applicants to use the on-line application forms. All application materials (including transcripts, reference letters, test scores, and essay) should be sent directly to the GSAS admissions office. Be sure to apply prior to the deadlines that they set.

I hope you find this site informative and helpful in determining whether our department offers training in areas of interest to you. Answers to most of your questions may be found on our website, but if you have other questions, please email members of the department directly or contact our department administrator, Angela Epshtein (aepshtei[at] We look forward to reviewing your application should you decide to apply.

Gökhan Hotamisligil