Cover Story

The creation of the new Social and Behavioral Research Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) gives psychologists and other social science and health researchers a new opportunity to make use of the discoveries of the Human Genome Project.

The new branch will fund research that seeks cutting-edge approaches to translating Human Genome Project information into interventions for health promotion and disease prevention, and for counseling patients and families dealing with the impact of devastating genetic disorders, according to NHGRI spokesman Geoff Spencer.

The branch is headed by behavioral epidemiologist Colleen McBride, PhD, of Duke University, whose past work has emphasized population-based interventions for improving public health. She plans to foster research in four conceptual domains:

  • Testing communication strategies aimed at best elucidating an individual's risk for developing a genetic condition.

  • Developing and evaluating interventions aimed at reducing genetically susceptible individuals' risk of acquiring a disease.

  • Translating genomic discoveries to clinical practice.

  • Understanding the social, ethical and policy implications of genomic research.

--K. KERSTING

Further Reading

For more information on NHGRI, go to www.genome.gov.