Genetics Faculty Awarded $4.3 Million to Study Cleft Lip and Advance Computational Genomics Training

Susan Halloran Blanton, Ph.D., associate professor of genetics and neurology, and William K. Scott, Ph.D., professor of human genetics, have been awarded a total of $4.3 million in grants by the National Institutes of Health.

Blanton, who is also Executive Director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, was awarded a $3.6 million, five-year grant to identify the genetic causes of familial cleft lip with and without cleft palate. This is the 13th year of funding for the grant, “Mapping Nonsyndromic Cleft Lip and Palate Genetic Loci,” which was awarded in December 2012. Jacqueline T. Hecht, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Houston will serve with Blanton as co-principal Investigator.

Scott, who also serves as Vice Chair for Education and Training, received $731,740 for a five-year grant for the new University of Miami Computational Ocular Genomics Training Program. Addressing the need for scientists to be broadly trained in computational genomics and vision science, the grant will support five pre-doctoral and two post-doctoral trainees and create new NIH-supported training opportunities for students in computational ocular genomics that do not currently exist at the Miller School.

The program’s training faculty include 27 mentors from six departments, seven Ph.D. programs, and the first-year Programs in Biomedical Sciences. Under the direction of Scott, Sanjoy K. Bhattacharya, Ph.D., M.Tech., associate professor of ophthalmology and biochemistry and molecular biology, will serve as associate director of the program.

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