Welcome to the Genetics and Epigenetics program!

The Genetics and Epigenetics program provides students an opportunity to undertake concentrated study in the areas of model organism genetics, human genetics, transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation, epigenetics, genomics and bioinformatics. Students also have the opportunity to train in the application of computational and modeling approaches in genetics, epigenetics and genomics. Over 80 faculty are affiliated with G&E, including members of the Genetics Department, Penn Epigenetics Institute, and of many other basic science and clinical departments at UPenn, Children’s Hospital, and the Wistar Institute. G&E also shares many faculty with the Genomics and Computational Biology (GCB) graduate group, which places greater emphasis on computation and modeling, and students can select coursework and dual mentors from both programs. G&E benefits from the support of an NIH-funded Predoctoral Training Grant.

G&E students typically complete their degree in 5 - 6 years. Students complete coursework and a thesis proposal-based Preliminary Exam in year two. Years 3+ are spent primarily on thesis research, supplemented by a variety of seminars and other activities that promote scientific interactions and continued development of communication and other career-relevant skills.

Advising | Teaching and Outreach | Tom Kadesch Prize | Kaushal Family Awards | G&E Resources | G&E Committees

Advising and Academic Review

The Advising and Academic Review Committee (AAR) provides advising to all students prior to their Preliminary Exam. The AAR committee meets three times per year, around the beginning of the Fall, Winter and Spring semesters. The purpose of the AAR is to review each student’s performance and address any concerns from the previous semester and to help finalize plans for the upcoming semester.

The AAR consists of 10 G&E faculty and 5 G&E senior student peer mentors. The Committee is divided into five advisory subgroups, each consisting of two faculty and one student representative. Each subgroup advises an assigned subset of incoming students from the Fall semester of their first year until their Preliminary Exam Committees are formed (Spring semester of 2nd year PhD students, 3rd year for CD students). Each advisee is assigned an advisory subgroup to serve as a consistent point of contact during this time.

The meetings scheduled around the beginning of the Fall, Winter and Spring semesters include ~15-min sessions with each student and the appropriate advisory subgroup. Students should come to these meetings with a carefully considered plan for course and laboratory work. These meetings are organized as follows. First, the AAR student peer mentor leaves the room so the advisee's academic file and other potentially sensitive issues can be discussed. Next, the student peer mentor returns to the room and the full subgroup discusses with the advisee plans for course and laboratory work in the upcoming semester. The subgroups are designed to include members with a wide range of experiences and expertise. Finally, an AAR Meeting Form is filled and returned to the G&E Coordinator. It is understood that not all course and rotation decisions will be finalized at this meeting. Students will have an additional two weeks to finalize their schedule and inform the G&E Coordinator, who registers students for all courses.

The AAR also provides feedback and approval for the Specific Aims page proposed by 2nd year PhD and 3rd year CD students (March-April), reviews the Preliminary Exam performance of all G&E students (May-June), and is available to consult on any other academic-related issues for dissertation-level students. Student peer mentors provide feedback and organize practice of preliminary exams for 2nd year PhD and 3rd year CD students (March-April).

Advising | Teaching and Outreach | Tom Kadesch Prize | Kaushal Family Awards | G&E Resources | G&E Committees

Teaching and Outreach

Teaching opportunities in Genetics

G&E students are not required to teach, but interested dissertation-stage students can gain teaching experience via Teaching Assistantships (TAs). Courses that need TAs include: Cell Biology (BIOM 600); Eukaryotic Gene Expression (BIOM 555); Epigenetics (CAMB 483); and Molecular Biology and Genetics (BIOL 221), which is an undergraduate course. Students also have opportunities to work with undergraduates in the lab through the Summer Undergraduate Internship Program (SUIP) or through individual lab initiatives. Senior students can also work as private tutors. Contact course directors, BGS (Compensation for Teaching Assistantships and Other Supplemental Activities), or the CAMB office for more information.

Outreach opportunities in Genetics

G&E students can participate in a variety of community outreach activities, including running a booth at the annual Philadelphia Science Festival or mentoring high school students in local science fairs through iPraxis.

Advising | Teaching and Outreach | Tom Kadesch Prize | Kaushal Family Awards | G&E Resources | G&E Committees

The Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics

In 2011, the Department of Genetics established the "Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics" to honor the legacy of our friend and colleague Dr. Tom Kadesch. Dr. Kadesch was a member of the Genetics department from 1984 until his death in 2011, and served as Interim Chairman for his final 4 years. He was not only an excellent scientist, but also a tremendously dedicated mentor, teacher and University citizen whose contributions inspired those around him. In his memory, with the help of many generous donors, we were able to set up an endowed fund that will support in perpetuity an annual award to "a graduate student demonstrating excellence in research achievement and citizenship".

Nominations for the Tom Kadesch Prize in Genetics are solicited each summer. This prize includes a $1000 monetary award and a public seminar to be presented to the Genetics Department. Eligible students can be members of any BGS graduate group. Students should be conducting research in the broad area of Genetics and should have received or anticipate receiving their PhD degree within a year of the application deadline.

Year Kadesch Prize Awardee Graduate Group Thesis Advisor
2011 Andrew Edmondson CAMB/GTV Dan Rader
2012 Ishmail Abdus-Saboor CAMB/G&E Meera Sundaram
2013 Maria Elena De Obaldia IGG Avinash Bhandoola
2014 Judy I-Ting Wang NGG Zhaolan Zhou
2015 Derek Oldridge GCB John Maris
2016 Celine Santiago CAMB/DSRB Greg Bashaw
2017 Philipp Mews CAMB/G&E Shelley Berger
2018 Katherine Palozola CAMB/G&E Kenneth Zaret
2019 co-winner Enrique Lin Shiao BMB Shelley Berger
2019 co-winner Camille Syrett CAMB/DSRB Montserrat Anguera
2020 Marco Carpenter PGG Elizabeth Heller
2021 Qin Zhu GCB Kai Tan and Junhyong Kim

Advising | Teaching and Outreach | Tom Kadesch Prize | Kaushal Family Awards | G&E Resources | G&E Committees

Kaushal Family Awards in Genetics

The Kaushal Family Awards in Genetics were established in 2016 to recognize pre-doctoral and post-doctoral scholars for excellence in Genetics research as evidenced by a notable publication.

Nominations for the Kaushal Awards are solicited each summer. Each prize includes a $1000 monetary award and a public seminar to be presented to the Genetics Department. The awards are open to BGS students and PSOM postdocs working in any area of Genetics. Applicants may nominate one of their first-author (or co-first author) publications from the current or prior academic year.

Year Kaushal Family Award: Pre-Doc Kaushal Family Award: Post-Doc
2016 Sumeet Khetarpal (Rader lab) Yao Yao (Epstein lab)
2017 Alan Tang (Kahn lab) Daniel Bose (Berger lab)
2018 Yong Hoon Kim (Lazar lab) Takashi Akera (Lampson lab)
2019 Jeremy Grevet (Blobel lab) Hui Chen (Good lab)
2020 Jennifer Luppino (Joyce lab) and
Eduardo Torre (Raj lab)
Qi Qiu (Wu lab)
2021 Kamen Simeonov (Lengner lab) Tingfang Chen (Epstein lab)

Advising | Teaching and Outreach | Tom Kadesch Prize | Kaushal Family Awards | G&E Resources | G&E Committees

G&E Resources

Departments, Centers, and BGS Graduate Groups with Genetics Focus
Genetics Societies and Conferences

More CAMB-wide resources can be found here.

Advising | Teaching and Outreach | Tom Kadesch Prize | Kaushal Family Awards | G&E Resources | G&E Committees

 

G&E Committees

Dr. Elizabeth Bhoj, Committee Chair
Dr. Golnaz Vahedi
Dr. Colin Conine
Dr. Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, Program Chair

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Dr. John Murray, Committee Chair
Dr. Naiara Aquizu
Dr. Doug Epstein
Dr. Klaus Kaestner
Dr. Jennifer Kalish
Dr. Erica Korb
Dr. Tom Jongens
Dr. David Raizen
Dr. Katalin Susztak
Dr. Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, Program Chair

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Dr. Hao Wu - G&E Representative to CAMB Curriculum Committee
Connor Hill - G&E Student Representative to CAMB Curriculum Committee

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Dr. Yoseph Barash, Committee Chair
Dr. Brian Capell
Dr. Michael Hart
Dr. Elizabeth Heller
Dr. Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, Program Chair

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Dr. Marisa Bartolomei
Dr. Doug Epstein
Dr. Tom Jongens
Dr. Zhaolan (Joe) Zhou, Program Chair

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Carolina Diaz
Sheridan Littleton
Claudia Lovell
Felicia Peng
Patrick Walsh

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