Graduate Education in Genetics at MSU

The MSU Genetics Program is an interdisciplinary, degree-granting program that provides graduate education and training to students whose primary interest lies in the realm of modern genetics. The approximately 100 faculty members in the Genetics Program have academic appointments in 24 different departments or affiliated institutions, such as the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, or USDA facilities at MSU. Although these departments and units are affiliated with eight different Colleges, the College of Natural Science is the home and sponsor of the Genetics Program.

The breadth of genetics at MSU is reflected in the research programs, which utilize all types of organisms: viruses, fungi, bacteria, algae, higher plants, animals, and humans. The research programs of our faculty can also be grouped thematically into twelve areas of excellence. In alphabetical order, these areas are: chromatin structure and function, DNA replication and repair, evolutionary and conservation genetics, gene expression and regulation, genetics of the cell cycle and cancer, genetics of development and aging, genetics of human and animal inherited disorders, genetics of infectious disease, genetics of plant biochemistry, genetics of plant-pathogen interactions, genomics and proteomics, and organelle genetics. The on-going research in these areas is summarized at our web site and in our published materials, and sub-listings of faculty in those various disciplines are included there.

Other departments and programs with Genetics related research
Other programs and departments at MSU have interests in genetics-related research. These include the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biotechnology Program, which caters to students interested in research on breeding and improvement of commercially important plants, the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, which features research in classical microbiology and eukaryotic molecular genetics, and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where there is emphasis on research focused on gene regulation and plant biochemistry. The Cellular and Molecular Biology Program is also an interdisciplinary program for graduate training at MSU, but its focus is at the cellular level through the application of molecular and immunological approaches. Many faculty overlap between the CMB and Genetics Programs, with students choosing a graduate degree program that best fits their interests and goals.

The MSU Genetics Program offers the widest scope of research opportunities
Most of the faculty with research programs in genetics are members of the interdisciplinary Genetics Program, irrespective of their home departments at MSU. The faculty represent a diverse scope of expertise, including genomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, population biology, biochemistry, and structural biology. Thus the Genetics Program provides a central, unifying academic program for the training of outstanding students.

As a graduate training program, rather than a department, the Genetics Program is an efficient academic unit, where the focus is the education and training of our graduate students. Although the program has several uniform course requirements, we try to work with each student in tailoring a program that fits his/her particular interests and goals. Our goal is to train the geneticists of tomorrow. Towards that end, we are committed to ensuring that our students are broadly exposed to the breadth of genetics, familiar with important advances in the field and current methodologies, and successful in the pursuit and execution of a significant research project. We strive to provide a community for our students and to help their graduate years be an experience that will remain special throughout their lives. If you are interested in genetics, and you’re looking for a graduate school home, we hope you will consider the MSU Genetics Program.