Genetics Concentration

NOTE: This page is for detailed information about the Genetics Advanced Concentration only. All inquiries concerning admission to the BMS Admissions office at More information on admissions is also available on the Admissions Page.

Program Areas of Research | Program of Study | Program Contacts


The Advanced Concentration in Genetics is one of eight advanced concentrations leading to the Ph.D. degree under the auspices of the Graduate Program (BMS) in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

Genetics is the basis for all of biology and is the most rapidly evolving field in biomedical research, applicable from the most simple organism to humans. Genetics can include simply using tools to manipulate nucleic acids or employing a genetic strategy to develop and test hypotheses and translational resources. In our concentration, the goal is to use genetics to advance understanding of disease processes and potential therapies. Nearly 70 faculty are affiliated with the concentration, from six colleges, providing broad opportunities for graduate training involving genetics.

The Genetics concentration is highly flexible, allowing students/mentors to completely tailor all optional coursework, lab training, and other opportunities (e.g. professional development, community service, teaching, collaboration) for each student’s project and long-term goals. There are no specific required courses, and students may choose to take a different journal club in the spring of each year, to personalize their focus of study. Any graded journal clubs will count toward the coursework requirement after the first year.

With genetics and genomics being ubiquitous, Genetics dissertation projects are highly diverse and interdisciplinary.  Thus, our students graduate with a depth of skills and approaches that allow them to successfully pursue a variety of career paths.  Because many of our students have chosen the biotechnology/pharmaceutical path, our concentration has been given access to local biotechnology companies via an annual private tour, to learn firsthand about the facets of private industry, specific companies, and to make connections


Wordcloud of 86 most recent Genetics dissertation title key words

Areas of Research

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  • Gene therapy
  • Vector development
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Animal models of disorders and physiological systems
  • Cancer genetics and biology
  • Human genetics – Mendelian and multifactorial traits
  • Bioinformatics/computational biology
  • Structure/function mutation pathogenesis studies
  • Prokaryotic genetics
  • Development
  • Viral pathogenesis
  • Noncoding RNA in disease
  • Epigenetics and genetic imprinting
  • Stem cells and iPS cells in development and disease

Learn about the UF Center for NeuroGenetics.

Laura Ranum, Ph.D., Director of Center for NeuroGenetics

Program of Study

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Year One

Fall SemesterSpring Semester
BMS Required CoursesBMS Required Courses
GMS 6001: Fundamentals of Biomedical Research, 5 credit hours GMS 7877: Responsible Conduct of Biomedical Research, 1 credit hour
GMS 6003: Essentials of Graduate Research & Professional Development, 1 credit hour GMS 6090: Rotation #3, 1 credit hour
GMS 6090: Rotation #1, 1 credit hour GMS 6895: Journal Club, 1 credit hour
GMS 6090: Rotation #2, 1 credit hour Plus 6 hours of coursework: Based on discussion with potential mentors, other advisors and interest for thesis project. Examples of recommended spring first-year courses:
GMS 6895: Journal Club, 1 credit hour GMS 6012: Human Genetics
For students entering the program with a relevant Master’s degree, exceptions to the first semester curriculum may be granted with transfer of credit for equivalent coursework.GMS 6014: Applications of Bioinformatics to Genetics
BCH 6415: Advanced Molecular and Cell Biology
GMS 6065: Cancer Biology
GMS 6034-6: One or more of three 1-credit courses in Advanced Virology
GMS 6140: Principles of Immunology
One or more of 1-credit courses in Molecular Therapy

Beyond the First Year: Students must earn > 6 graduate credits in courses, which can include graduate credits transferred in with permission of concentration co-directors. Many Genetics students opt to take more than 6 course credits after the first year, and/or complete a minor or certificate program.

—GMS 6920 Genetics Journal Club (1 credit) in the fall of every year, with option to take a different journal club in the spring semesters.

—All graduate level Statistics and Biostatistics are acceptable, and any UF graduate-level courses not in the BMS curriculum list can be brought to the concentration co-directors for approval.

Courses most commonly chosen by Genetics students:

Human Genetics II (GMS 6015)

Epigenetics of Human Disease and Development (BCH 7412)

Advanced Gene Regulation (BCH 7410)

Special Topics: RNA Interference and MicroRNAs (GMS 5905)

Fundamentals of Biomedical Science Education (GMS 7950)

Advanced Applications of Bioinformatics (GMS 6232)

Genetic Model Systems (GMS 6151)

Stem Cell Biology  (GMS 6331)

Signal Transduction (GMS 6051)

Mitochondrial Biology in Aging and Disease (GMS 6622)

Mechanisms of Aging (GMS 6063)

Recent Advances in Cancer Metastatis (GMS 6338)

Advanced Stem Cell Biology: Tissue Engineering (GMS 6335)

Current Topics in Vision (GMS 6790)

Summer Option: GMS 5905 Special Topics: Genetics Grant Writing  (1 credit) typically taken after the end of the 2nd year, to prepare for the Qualifying Exam written proposal. This is a graded 1-credit course that counts toward the coursework requirement.

All grad level Statistics and Biostatistics courses are acceptable; graduate courses not listed in the BMS curriculum must be brought to the co-directors for approval.

Most Genetics students take at least half of the 6 credits in the second year, but they can be spread throughout the training as well.

The Faculty and Their Research

For a list of faculty members in the Genetics advanced program, please click here.

Meet Eric Wang, Ph.D. and learn about his research in RNA regulation.

Alumni Spotlight

Meet Dr. Angela McCall, a 2017 Genetics Concentration graduate:

Student Outcomes

Over the 20 years of this program, our concentration has graduated over 100 PhDs, with an average of 1.8 first author papers and 2.2 co-authorships.  Students have successfully competed for fellowships from the NIH, American Heart Association and UF’s Clinical and Translational TL1 program. In addition, students often gain positions on UF Health Science Center training grants. Students who are awarded an individual fellowship receive a bonus for each semester he/she holds the award.

Based on students from the first 15 years of the program, career distribution is:  63% academia (tenure track and non-tenure track), 20% private industry, 7% federal positions (CDC, NIH, FDA, etc), 10% other (e.g. science law, clinical research, clinical lab director, science policy, science business administration, non-profit foundations).

What We’re Publishing

Somatic Gene Editing of GUCY2D by AAV-CRISPR/Cas9 Alters Retinal Structure and Function in Mouse and Macaque.

McCullough KT, Boye SL, Fajardo D, Calabro K, Peterson JJ, Strang CE, Chakraborty D, Gloskowski S, Haskett S, Samuelsson S, Jiang H, Witherspoon CD, Gamlin PD, Maeder ML, Boye SE. Hum Gene Ther. 2019 May;30(5):571-589. doi: 10.1089/hum.2018.193. 

Downregulation of the human peripheral myelin protein 22 gene by miR-29a in cellular models of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Serfecz J, Bazick H, Al Salihi MO, Turner P, Fields C, Cruz P, Renne R, Notterpek L. Gene Ther. 2019 Aug 27. doi: 10.1038/s41434-019-0098-z.

Culturing C2C12 myotubes on micromolded gelatin hydrogels accelerates myotube maturation.

Denes LT, Riley LA, Mijares JR, Arboleda JD, McKee K, Esser KA, Wang ET. Skelet Muscle. 2019 Jun 7;9(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s13395-019-0203-4.

Co-Delivery of a Short-Hairpin RNA and a shRNA-Resistant Replacement Gene with Adeno-Associated Virus: An Allele-Independent Strategy for Autosomal-Dominant Retinal Disorders.

Massengill MT, Young BM, Lewin AS, Ildefonso CJ. Methods Mol Biol. 2019;1937:235-258. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9065-8_15.

A mouse model of Angelman syndrome imprinting defects.

Lewis MW, Vargas-Franco D, Morse DA, Resnick JL. Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Jan 15;28(2):220-229. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy345. Mol Ther. 2018 Oct 3;26(10):2407-2417. doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2018.07.016. Epub 2018 Jul 19.

Associations of P2RX7 Functional Diplotypes with Localized Aggressive Periodontitis

Harris TH, Wallace MR, Huang H, Li H,  Shaddox LM.  Association of P2RX7 functional diplotypes with localized aggressive periodontitis.  JDR Clinical and Translational Research. 2019. Oct;4(4):342-351.  doi: 10.1177/2380084419863789.    

Retinal homeostasis and metformin-induced protection are not affected by retina-specific Ppard knockout.

Xu L, Brown Eem, Santiago CP, Keuthan CJ, Lobanova E, Ash JD.  Retinal homeostasis and metformin-induced protection are not affected by retina-specific Ppard knockout. Redox Biol. 2020. Aug 25:101700.  doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101700.  

Computational analysis of ribonomics datasets identifies long non-coding RNA targets of gamma-herpesviral miRNAs.

Sethuraman S, Thomas M, Gay LA, Renne R.  Computational analysis of ribonomics datasets identifies long non-coding RNA targets of gamma-herpesviral miRNAs.  Nucleic Acids Res. 2018. Sep 19;46(16):8574-8589.  doi: 10.1093/nar/gky459.  

Concentration Contacts

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Margaret (Peggy) Wallace, Ph.D.
Coordinator, Genetics Advanced Concentration
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology | (352) 392-3055

Lei Zhou, Ph.D.
Co-Coordinator, Genetics Advanced Concentration
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology | (352) 273-8169

Kris Minkoff
Graduate Administrator
Phone: (352) 273-6380 | Email: