About Us

About the HIHG

The John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG), which was established at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (UMMSM) in January 2007, is dedicated to using the very latest in cutting-edge technologies to identify genes involved in human diseases for the diagnosis, intervention, and prevention of illness. Our work ranges broadly across many scientific disciplines and involves close collaboration with the global community of scientists and medical professionals, as well as the community at large.

Our scientists are among the first generation of researchers realizing the potential of the Human Genome Project, the working genetic “map” of human DNA that was completed in 2003. They are leaders in the application of clinical, molecular, and mathematical techniques to identify genes leading to human disease

Vision and Commitment:

• To discover the genetic influences on human health and apply this knowledge to the practice of medicine through improved diagnostics, treatments, and therapies as an integral part of the national effort in precision medicine
• To expand community outreach efforts and education to bring the promise of precision medicine to a broader community of patients and families. As a multi-disciplinary, interdepartmental organization, the HIHG is committed to collaborative pan-institutional initiatives, ensuring that resources, skills, and ideas from novel genetic and genomic approaches will be made available to the entire University of Miami (UM) community as well as serve as a resource for the state of Florida and the national and international human genomics community

HIHG Administrative Structure:

The HIHG has nearly 30 faculty members with academic appointments from the Departments of Human Genetics (DHG), Pediatrics, Medicine, Neurology and Pathology, and dozens of associate members from numerous schools, departments and institutes. Dr. Margaret Pericak-Vance is the Director of the HIHG and Executive Vice-Chair of the DHG. Dr. Stephan Züchner, the Chair of the DHG, serves as the Co-Director of the HIHG. There are over 100 HIHG staff members.

Four Strategic Operational HIHG Centers:

1) Center for Genome Technology (CGT) (Dr. Jacob McCauley, Director; Dr. Anthony Griswold, Associate Director)
2) Center for Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics (CGESG) (Dr. Eden Martin, Director)
3) Center for Genomic Education and Outreach (C-GEO) (Dr. Jeffery Vance, Director; Drs. Michael Cuccaro and William Scott, Associate Directors)
4) Center for Molecular Genetics (CMG) (Drs. Derek Dykxhoorn and Juan Young, Directors)

HIHG Core Services:

Biorepository (in CGT) DNA Extraction, archiving, retrieval and allocation, tissue culture. One of the largest academic biorepositories in the country, supporting >155 studies, tracking >1.2 million biospecimens, on ~300,000 unique individuals from across the globe
Genotyping (in CGT)
Whole-Genome, Targeted & Custom Genotyping and Methylation Analysis
IPSC Core (in CMG)
Reprograming and establishment of iPSC lines and differentiation into multiple cell types
Mouse Behavioral Core (in CMG)
Planning, execution, and analysis of behavioral experiments involving mice
Sequencing (in CGT)
Whole Exome / Custom Capture, Whole Genome Sequencing, RNA Sequencing
Microbiome / Metagenomics/ Epigenomics
Gene Expression (in CGT)
Genetic Analysis (in CGESG)
Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology
Bioinformatics for DNA, RNA sequencing/Clinical Informatics Data Storage

HIHG Genomics Research:

The HIHG is committed to excellence in all aspects of genetics and genomics research. The HIHG faculty are leaders in applying genomic technology and genetic analysis methods to common complex disorders that have the largest impact on public health, such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, autism, age related macular degeneration, cancer, and stroke, as well as traditional Mendelian disease. We actively promote interdisciplinary and multilateral projects that contribute to the better understanding of inherited genetic and genomic conditions. Our renowned faculty, committed staff, and outstanding support facilities enable us to undertake pioneering research that has applications in some of today’s most important critical health conditions. The HIHG faculty are recognized for their excellence by international leadership roles, awards, and substantial continued NIH support.

HIHG Outreach, Diversity, and Education:

The HIHG also develops and disseminates information and resources to improve and inform the use of genomic technologies in health care through the HIHG Center for Genomic Education and Outreach. The HIHG’s goal is to enhance public awareness and acceptance of genomics in health care, with an emphasis on addressing health disparities. The HIHG developed a strong presence in diversity outreach efforts through the nationally based “Why We Can’t Wait: Conference to Eliminate Health Disparities in Genomic Medicine” and the Genetics Awareness Project (GAP), and continues to pursue initiatives designed to ensure that personalized medicine will benefit everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. The HIHG also serves the local Miami-Dade and Broward County high school communities by educating the next generation of scientists through the NIH funded JJ Vance Memorial Summer Internship in Biological and Computational Sciences for rising high school seniors. Established in 2002, the internship is now a recognized and treasured resource in the local South Florida community, with well over 100 applicants for 12 highly coveted positions.