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Vishwajit Nimgaonkar

Pitt Researchers Awarded NIH Grants To Study Social, Ethical Implications Of Genetics Research In India

PITTSBURGH, November 5, 2002 — Two University of Pittsburgh researchers have received grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to initiate collaborations among scientists in India and the United States in the area of human genetics.

Daniel Weeks, Ph.D., professor of human genetics and associate professor of biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health; and Vishwajit Nimgaonkar, M.D., professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine , were awarded separate grants from the Fogarty International Center (FIC) of the NIH. Drs. Weeks and Nimgaonkar lead two of the six research projects newly funded by the FIC to support international collaborations in human genetic sciences

Dr. Weeks and colleagues, in collaboration with The Chatterjee Group-Indian Statistical Institute Centre for Population Genomics in Calcutta, India, will focus their research-training project on genetic epidemiology and ethical conduct of human genetics research in India, with particular emphasis on statistical and computational genomics and molecular genomics. They will train researchers in India to develop large-scale genetic epidemiological studies in that country.

Dr. Nimgaonkar and his team will collaborate with scientists at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, to conduct research training in psychiatric genetic epidemiology and ethics. In addition to conventional didactic and practical training in the United States, the program will involve supervised field training in New Delhi. The long-term goal of the program is to better understand severe psychiatric disorders. The data resulting from this project will facilitate future genetic counseling and gene mapping efforts.

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