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A Note From the Department Head


January 27, 2020

Dear Friends and Alumni of the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development (GCD),

We’re at the beginning of a new year and my second year as head of GCD. Looking back on 2019, we can be proud of the many accomplishments made by our GCD faculty, staff and students. Notably, in a department first, our own Dan Voytas has been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. Kudos to Dan for his pioneering work in DNA editing technologies!  

To stay connected with you and share our successes, we are launching this newsletter to keep you informed of what’s happening in GCD. We hope you enjoy the highlights in this inaugural issue and stay tuned for what’s on the horizon. You won’t want to miss our upcoming “Leading Edge” series of public conversations. Check it out!

The research and teaching activities of GCD focus on the molecular structures and processes of cellular life and their roles in the function, reproduction and development of living organisms. A primary goal for GCD in the near term is to enhance the department’s research profile by hiring strategically to increase strength in genomics and developmental biology while ensuring strong connections and synergy with the existing strengths in cellular biology and biophysics. We are leveraging the growing intersection between biomedical research, and the computational and engineering sciences, with faculty exploring synthetic avenues to study biology and associated entrepreneurial opportunities. It’s an exciting time to be studying biology with an array of new and powerful tools available, while a challenging time to prepare students to enter a dynamic and competitive landscape in the life sciences. In this regard, we are thrilled about upcoming faculty hires and the opportunity to build strong networks of interdisciplinary research groups and expand course offerings for our amazing undergrads in bioinformatic analysis, quantitative imaging and human genomics. Our priority is to build productive research networks capable of taking multidimensional approaches to biological problems, elevating our discovery mission, translational/entrepreneurial endeavors, and the educational missions of both CBS and the Medical School.

As alumni and friends, you know this department well, and I am sure you agree that it is a fantastic place to do science, with outstanding colleagues, a vibrant pool of postdocs and graduate students, amazing undergraduates and state-of-the-art facilities. We hope you will remain actively committed to our department and help us sustain our success as a place for discovery, scholarship and innovation. 

Tom Hays
Professor and Head, Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development