Frank Albert, a faculty member in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, was named a 2018 Sloan Research Fellow. The two-year fellowships are awarded to early-career scientists with the potential to make substantial contributions to their field.
Albert studies how differences among individual genomes contribute to variation in phenotypes. In particular, he focuses on regulatory genetic variation, which causes differences in gene expression among individuals and forms a major causal link between DNA variation and the biology of many traits, including many human diseases. His work combines experimental and computational genomics in yeast with the ultimate goal of making accurate predictions about the effects of genetic variation in human disease and evolutionary change.
“One of the biggest questions in the field of genetics research in the post-genome era is how do we identify which of the millions of DNA sequence variants that differ between two individuals of the same species actually play a role in generating alterations in inherited traits,” says Michael, O’Connor, GCD department head. “Frank is developing molecular and analytical methods for answering this exact question and it is especially relevant in the nascent field of personalized medicine for understanding susceptibility to human disease.”
"Your unique genome carries thousands of variants that each increase or decrease the expression of a given gene just a little bit,” says Albert. “We are looking into how exactly this happens, and what happens to the organism as a consequence."