Pritchard will study human genetic variations with Packard grant

November 3, 2004

Jonathan K. Pritchard, assistant professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago, is among 16 researchers nationwide to receive a 2004 Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Pritchard will receive an unrestricted research grant of $625,000 over five years as a Packard Fellow.

He will use the grant to continue his research studying genetic variation in humans and other organisms. Pritchard’s research uses human genetic variation to study human history and population structure, as well as biological processes including mutation, recombination and natural selection. Ultimately, his work may shed light on understanding the role that genetic variation plays in common human disease.

Pritchard plans to develop statistical methods for searching HapMap, a new publicly available data set of human genetic variation that spans the entire genome. Searching this data set for signals of genes that are currently (or have recently been) targets of natural selection may help understand the evolution of modern humans, and may implicate genes that play a role in common diseases.

Prior to joining Chicago in 2001, Pritchard earned a doctorate in biology at Stanford University and then spent three years working in statistical genetics at the University of Oxford.

The Packard Fellowship Program was established in 1988 and arose out of David Packard’s commitment to strengthening university-based science and engineering programs. By supporting unusually creative researchers early in their careers, the foundation works toward its goal to help develop scientific leaders, further the work of promising young scientists and engineers, and support efforts to attract talented graduate students into university research in the United States.

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