Howard University National human Genome Center
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From the Founding Director


Founding Director Georgia M. Dunston, Ph.D
As the only research center of its kind at a predominantly African American university, the National Human Genome Center (NHGC) is singular in its capacity to provide leadership for America and the global community in genetic studies of diseases common in African Americans and other people of color throughout the African Diaspora. In concert with the mission of Howard University, particular emphasis at the NHGC is placed on providing education opportunities for exceptional quality for African Americans and other historically disenfranchised groups.The NHGC is also dedicated to attracting, sustaining, and developing a cadre of research scientists, who through their investigations, are committed to reducing health disparities among ethnic groups, preventing disease and promoting health. Establishment of the NHGC is historic and marks another first for Howard University, African Americans, this nation, and the world.As an academic center, the NHGC is unique in its capacity to bring multicultural perspectives and resources to an understanding of knowledge gained from the human genome project and research on human genome variation.
The fulfillment of this goal is a scientific imperative, if the human genome project is to now shift from the success of sequencing the three billion nucleotides in the human genome to the significance of applying the knowledge gained towards eliminating health disparities among different ethnic groups in the promotion of health and prevention of disease.As the Human Genome Project progresses from structural to functional genomics, the absolute importance of population variability in the genetic diagnosis, treatment and management of complex diseases cannot be marginalized or ignored. Among this nation's academic centers, Howard University is uniquely poised and prepared by virtue of its identity, history, and purpose, to provide leadership for America and the global community in addressing the array of very challenging biological, ethical, legal, and social issues introduced at this time by the emergence of the Human Genome Project.

We believe that the greater genomic variation found in African populations provides a rich and unique resource for human and medical genetic research in the United States and throughout the world. In barely two years, core research units have been created in molecular genetics, statistical genetics and bioinformatics, genetic epidemiology, and genethics. Significant and funded research projects have already been put in place in diabetes, hypertension and obesity, prostate cancer, breast cancer and asthma. In addition, community programs are being designed, and the statistical genetics and bioinformatics unit is launching three computer software packages for genetic analysis on the internet for worldwide distribution.  

The individual and collective strengths of the NHGC research faculty together with a very talented team of investigators, dedicated support staff, and enthusiastic students provide the foundation and strategic framework for human genome research at Howard University.




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