The Center for Human Genetics conducts research on the structure and function of the human genome. Investigator profiles and research interests are described for each area of research in which the Center is involved. Research projects are often multi-disciplinary, involving collaboration with other researchers at Marshfield Clinic as well as with external scientists.

Cancer Genetics

Researchers in this field investigate molecular mechanisms that result in cancer and affect response to treatment. Emphasis is placed on understanding the causes of cancer so that novel therapeutic interventions can be developed.

Clinical Genetics

Active Clinical Genetics research interests include the study of birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities, syndrome delineation, stillbirth, and provider and public education in the field of genetics. Researchers in these fields are: Elizabeth McPherson, M.D. and Tonia Carter, Ph.D.

Statistical Genetics

Research in this area is focused on developing and applying probabilistic methods to analyze large-scale genetic data, with an aim to discover genetic variants that underlie disease traits. Other statistical genetics interests include linkage disequilibrium patterns under disease models, shared chromosomal regions within founder populations, and the use and interpretation of full sequence data in mapping studies. Statistical genetics is a major component of the research conducted by: Max He Ph.D. and Steven Schrodi, Ph.D.


Studies in this field explore how genetic variants lead to variability in responses to medication use, including adverse drug reactions, and how data on such genetic variants are used in clinical care. Investigators with a strong research interest in this area are: Murray Brilliant, Ph.D., Richard Dart, M.D., Max He Ph.D., and Scott Hebbring Ph.D.

Molecular Microbiology

The Molecular Microbiology laboratory focuses on the mechanisms and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA); the surveillance and molecular epidemiology of a tick-borne zoonotic pathogen; and the discovery, characterization, and phylogenetic analysis of novel human and animal pathogens. Researchers in molecular microbiology include: Sanjay Shukla, Ph.D.

Personalized Medicine Research Project

The Personalized Medicine Research Project is attempting to translate genetic data into specific knowledge about disease that is clinically relevant and will enhance patient care by helping physicians diagnose genetically influenced problems, prescribe personal preventive measures and select the most effective medications that are least likely to cause adverse reactions.