The UCSF Institute for Human Genetics (IHG) serves as the hub for all activities in human genetics at the University of California, San Francisco.
OUR MISSION is to create an exciting, productive, and collaborative environment for research, training, and clinical application in human genetics.
Our faculty span all four schools (Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy), and many departments within those schools, reflecting the broad importance of human genetics both in basic scientific research and in modern day health care. The sequencing of the human genome, accompanied in recent years with the dramatic reduction in cost for obtaining an individual’s genome sequence, augurs a new era in translational human genetics, impacting not only rare, Mendelian diseases but effectively all diseases affecting the human population. The IHG and its members intend to be in the forefront of these transformational developments.
The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) launched a public research consortium named ENCODE, the Encyclopedia Of DNA Elements, in 2003, with the goal of understanding the DNA grammar of non-coding sequences, which constitutes 98% of the human genome. A new round of funding for five centers was announced on February 2nd to expand this flagship program.
Two of our IHG faculty members, Drs. Nadav Ahituv and Yin Shen, will lead two of the five new “characterization centers” to study how non-coding regulatory elements influence gene expression and, consequently, cell behavior. The Ahituv and Shen labs will be employing novel techniques to study enhancers, which play a critical role in gene expression.
The work of Drs. Ahituv and Shen epitomizes how basic characterization of the human genome and its expression can lead to a fuller understanding of how disease develops and to potential treatment strategies. Hearty congratulations to Nadav and Yin!