Genomics research offers opportunity for USD med school

VERMILLION, S.D. -- A federal grant awarded to Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center will increase opportunities for genomics research for medical students and residents. A clinical faculty member of the Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota will be one of the leaders of the research project in collaboration with colleagues at South Dakota State University.

The National Institute of Mental Health awarded a $3.76 million grant for a study titled, “Genomics of Developmental Trajectories in Twins.” The goal is to identify specific genes that influence the development of child psychiatric illness, according to the principal investigator for the grant, James Hudziak, M.D., of the University of Vermont and the Vrije University in Amsterdam.

In South Dakota, Gareth Davies, Ph.D., will lead cutting-edge research at the Avera Institute for Human Behavioral Genetics located at the Avera Behavioral Health Center in Sioux Falls. Davies is a research associate professor in the USD Sanford School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at SDSU.

“Our Department of Psychiatry has been very successful in developing more and more research,” said Rod Parry, M.D., dean of the Sanford School of Medicine. “This collaborative project adds not only more opportunities for our students and residents, but it also enhances the national and global reputation of the research conducted in our school and our state.”