Skip to content

Other ways to search: Events Calendar | UTHSC News

Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics

The mission of the Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics (GGI) is to carry out high impact research in genetics and related fields and to provide training in precision medicine and systems genetics.

Our faculty, staff, and students study interactions of DNA differences, environment factors, and life history on disease risk. We are interested in understanding many different processes and mechanisms that influence diseases ranging from Alzheimer's, autism, addiction, regeneration, through to cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. We also have faculty with expertise in genomic methods, sequencing and genome structure, expression analysis, and multi-scalar data integration.

We collaborate closely with health care professional and researchers in many other departments and colleges at UTHSC and other institutions and hospitals Members of our department are actively involved in large-scale national and international collaborations and training programs in genetics, bioinformatics, and precision medicine.

Our Faculty and Staff

You can learn more about the GGI faculty and staff including their contact information and professional profiles. 

Our Facilities

Most faculty and staff in GGI are located in the Translational Science Research Building and the Cancer Research Building.

Our Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in GGI receive training in genetics and genomics, and are able to carry out research with mentors and many other groups of researchers at UTHSC and our affiliates at St Jude Children's Research Hospital.

If you are interested in obtaining a PhD degree with our faculty please contact us directly and also apply to the GGI Track within the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program.

About our Curriculum

Students in the GGI track must complete their core curriculum described below. A minimum of 52 credits is required, consisting of 24 credits of IP 900, 12 credits of core courses, 6 credit hours (or two courses) of additional elective courses that suit the individual student's needs, and 8 credits of symposia and seminars. Any course required by the other Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. tracks is acceptable as an elective. Other graduate-level courses can be used to satisfy the elective requirement upon approval from the track director(s). Students must register for the GGI Seminar for credit which includes a discussion of a publication by the seminar speaker followed by a meeting with the seminar speaker. All GGI students must take the Informatics Summit in the Spring term of each year if offered. Students may opt not to take this course if they are defending their dissertation that term. Students must maintain at least 9 credit hours but no more than 12 credit hours each term. The following courses comprise the required and elective curriculum for students in the GGI track:

Required Curriculum

  • Integrative Genetics (3 credit hours) — GGI 901
  • Medical Genetics (3 credit hours) — GGI 903
  • Biostatistics for Integrated Biomedical Sciences (2 credit hours) — BIOE 845 or other acceptable Biostatistics course
  • Integrity in the Conduct of Scientific Research (1 credit hour) — IP 801
  • Bioinformatics I (2 credit hours) — MSCI 814
  • Bioinformatics II (1 credit hour) — MSCI 815
  • GGI Seminar (1 credit hour) — GGI 820
  • Bioinformatics Summit (1 credit hour) — GGI 905, spring term
  • IP 900 (24 credit hours)

Additional Requirements

  • GGI Seminar (1 credit hour) — GGI 820
  • Bioinformatics Summit (1 credit hour) — GGI 905, spring term
  • IP 900 (24 credit hours)

Electives

  • IP 805 (3 credit hours) Essentials of Molecular Biology OR IP 841 (3 credit hours) Essentials of Cell Biology (one of these must be chosen and constitutes 1 of the 4 elective courses required).
  • Genetic Epidemiology (3 credit hours) — BIOE 824
  • Pharmacogenomics (2 credit hours) — GGI 902
  • Special Topics in Genetics, Genomics, and Informatics (3 credit hours) — GGI 840

Laboratory Rotations

Students are required to do at least three, and up to six, 6-week lab rotations with IBS program faculty. These rotations can occur during any of the six Biomedical Sciences Program prescribed rotational periods during the first year. After three rotations, a student may begin work in his or her chosen mentor's lab or may elect to do more rotations. A mentor's lab must be identified by the end of the first year.

Admission-to-Candidacy Exam

At the end of their second year, students must pass a qualifying exam before admission to Ph.D. candidacy. For the exam, students write a grant application in the form of an NIH F31, National Research Service Award (NRSA) on the topic of their research. As part of the examination, the student must give an oral presentation and defend the application to his or her graduate committee. Students are expected to demonstrate mastery of the required GGI coursework. Passing this exam is required for continuation in the program. If the first submission and defense are found to be unsatisfactory, the student is given one and only one chance for re-examination. Students who do not complete this examination satisfactorily will not be allowed to continue in the program.

Sample Curriculum—GGI Track

Year 1

Fall Semester

  • Integrative Genetics (3 credit hours) — GGI 901
  • GGI Seminar (1 credit hour) — GGI 820
  • Essentials of Cell Biology (3 credit hours) — IP 841
  • Two 6-week lab rotations (1 credit hour) — IP 900

Spring Semester

  • Biostatistics for Integrated Biomedical Sciences (2 credit hours) — BIOE 845 or other acceptable Biostatistics course
  • GGI Seminar (1 credit hour) — GGI 820
  • Bioinformatics Summit (1 credit hour) — GGI 905
  • Integrity in the Conduct of Scientific Research (1 credit hour) — IP 801
  • 6-week lab rotation (1-4 credit hours) — IP 900
  • Elective
  • Select Mentor and begin research in mentor’s lab

Year 2

Fall Semester

  • GGI Seminar (1 credit hour) — GGI 820
  • Medical Genetics (3 credit hours) — GGI 903
  • Special Topics (3 credit hours) — GGI 840
  • Dissertation Research (up to 9 credit hours) — IP 900
  • Elective
  • Assemble faculty committee

Spring Semester

  • GGI Seminar (1 credit hour) — GGI 820
  • Bioinformatics I (2 credit hours) — MSCI 814
  • Genetic Epidemiology (3 credit hours) — BIOE 824
  • Dissertation Research (up to 9 credit hours) — IP 900
  • Special Topics (3 credit hours) — GGI 840
  • Bioinformatics Summit (1 credit hour) — GGI 905
  • Elective
  • Candidacy exam (research proposal submitted to committee followed by oral defense of proposal)

Year 3

  • Dissertation Research — IP 900
  • GGI Seminar, each semester — GGI 820
  • Bioinformatics Summit (1 credit hour)— GGI 905

Year 4 and Beyond

  • Dissertation Research — IP 900
  • GGI Seminar, each semester — GGI 820
  • Bioinformatics Summit (1 credit hour)— GGI 905
  • Students will defend their dissertation in front of their faculty committee.

You can apply via our online application. Most students apply before December, and those applying before December 1 will be given priority status. The final application deadline is March 1. Applications are reviewed as received, and our top domestic candidates are supported for travel to campus for interviews beginning in January.

It is important that you complete the application and send all required materials as soon as possible. You can apply online, and it is free and easy. Most of the options on the Application Checklist are self-explanatory, but under Planned Course of Study, choose the Integrated Biomedical Sciences-PhD option. Then, select up to three tracks of interest using the drop down menus associated with the concentration options. We will assume that the first concentration you select is your preferred research track.

General requirements are a bachelor's degree with a grade-point average of at least 3.0 from an accredited college or university, previous research experience, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. The GRE is optional. For students whose native language is not English, a score of at least 90 on the TOEFL or 6.5 on the IELTS is required.

US Applicants

For US applicants, official transcripts and official test scores should be sent directly from the contributing source and not by the student. Three recommendation letters are required. Names and contact information of three referees will be entered on the application and the system will contact them with instruction on how to submit their recommendation.

Non-US Applicants

For non-US applicants, official test scores should be sent directly from the contributing source and not by the student. Official transcripts and three recommendation letters are required.

Transcripts from any non-US institution must be verified and certified to generate a grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 scale. Verification must be completed before matriculation. Service agencies include, but are not limited to, Educational Credit Evaluation (ECE) and World Education Services (WES). A document-by-document certification is not acceptable. These agencies charge a fee for their service.

Dec 6, 2022