A Message from the Director

Stephen S. Rich, PhD

Stephen S. Rich, PhD Director, CPHG

WELCOME to the Center for Public Health Genomics (CPHG)! Since its establishment in January 2007 the CPHG has continually expanded its faculty and its research efforts. The original six-member team has increased to 12 resident faculty, along with over 50 affiliated faculty across the University with whom we share ongoing interests and collaboration. Our research projects range from gene discovery to pharmacogenomics to mouse models of human disease. Along with this growth in personnel, our facilities have necessarily expanded to include high throughput genotyping, third generation sequencing and bioinformatics laboratories.

The CPHG has enjoyed a very positive response to our weekly Genome Sciences Seminar Series offered Wednesdays at 1pm, each spring and fall semester. We sponsor presentations from an outstanding slate of speakers who discuss their cutting-edge research in areas such as systems biology, epigenetics and the genetic analysis of complex human disease. Additionally, the semi-monthly CPHG Research in Progress (RIP) offers a chance to hear from members of the various CPHG labs and affiliate faculty regarding current and future research projects.

There is both public and scientific excitement as well as anxiety over the prospects of a new era of healthcare and disease prevention. Genomics is at its center, in its discovery of disease susceptibility genes, how they act and interact with other genes, how genetic risk is modified by infections, chemicals, social factors and behaviors. Advances in genetic research have helped to identify causes for diseases that have been traditionally considered “genetic”, such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and Huntington’s disease. However, genome sciences has also contributed to our understanding of the basis of common adult chronic diseases (cancer and heart disease), childhood conditions (asthma and autism), infectious diseases and diseases caused by harmful environmental exposures.

Our CPHG members have demonstrated outstanding research innovation and productivity and are poised to play a key role as new discoveries in public health genomics are made and our understanding in this field increases. As a relatively new Center in the University of Virginia School of Medicine, we look forward to continued growth and interactions with others in the scientific and local community.

Stephen S. Rich, PhD
Director, Center for Public Health Genomics
Harrison Professor of Public Health Sciences