Computational Genetics Program

*** Travel Grants Available, see below ***

Advances in deciphering the human genome coupled with decreasing technology costs have greatly enhanced the role of genetics in disease diagnosis and in the development of individual therapeutic treatments using personalized genomic medicine.  As the fields of precision medicine, clinical diagnosis, and treatment of genetic disorders evolve, so does the demand for interpreting the information generated by innovative technologies.  The abundance of new genomic data and knowledge requires expertise in extensive genome annotation, sophisticated statistical analyses, large-scale data management, and novel computational algorithm development. The Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey is comprised of scientists whose research interests include all major computational and quantitative components of human genomics studies.  These researchers engage in both independent, investigator-initiated projects and collaborative ventures where large multi-institutional projects are carried out.  In addition, they offer genomic, statistical, computational, and bioinformatics consultation within the HGINJ network.

The Computational Genetics Program combines the skills of scientists in areas of genetics, medicine, biostatistics, mathematics, human genomic variation, large-scale data management and interpretation, molecular biology, computer programming, and evolutionary and comparative genomics, in order to bridge the gap between basic research and individualized treatments. Researchers at the institute apply molecular and computational techniques to investigate clinically relevant problems, with the ultimate goal of understanding gene function in both the pathologic and normal states. 

The Computational Genetics Program is structured to encourage the exploration of human genomic studies using diverse computational and quantitative methodologies.   One research aspect encompasses disease-focused research identifying genes involved in a variety of traits such as schizophrenia, autism, scoliosis, and others. This work includes the development of much-needed novel statistical methods.   Another approach uses large-scale population-level genomic datasets for the study of population genomic variation through the lens of evolution. This work uses evolutionary signals in genetic variation to find functional elements in genomes as well as increases our understanding of the forces that create and maintain genetic variation.  Additionally, focus is given to understanding the function and evolution of small regulatory RNAs and gene networks that control gene expression.  Much of the work being done in the HGINJ Computational Genomics and Genetics Program utilizes high-performance computing, both within the HGI and across Rutgers, as well as cloud-based computing.

Small travel grants are available for HGINJ members either presenting computationally-related work at a meeting or attending a computationally-related workshop or course, for up to $750 per request with a maximum of two requests total allowed per lab.  More info and link to application here.