About the Program

How to Join PGG

Membership in the Program in Genetics and Genomics (PGG) is open to all Harvard BBS students. There is no formal application process for admittance. Any interested BBS student should email the Program Director, Scott Kennedy, kennedy[at]genetics.med.harvard.edu.



Students are encouraged to take all BBS core courses necessary to provide a broad foundation in genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry. BBS requirements include BBS 230, Genetics 201, BCMP 200, and CB 201. For those students with an exceptionally strong background in genetics, an exemption for Genetics 201 may be obtained after conferring with the Program director. Students will also be required to take one course in statistics/quantitative biology, and at least two advanced seminar courses in genetics. See the Curriculum page for course listings.

Rotations and Dissertation Lab

Students should follow regular BBS guidelines when selecting rotations and dissertation labs. There are no restrictions or requirements to choose a program-affiliated dissertation lab.




All BBS students are required to participate for one semester as an unpaid teaching assistant.  Students in the program in Genetics and Genomics should serve as a teaching assistant, preferably for either Genetics 201 or Genetics 202, when applicable.


Programmatic Activities


Monthly meetings: The Program in Genetics and Genomics has monthly meetings of three different types, as described below. All meetings are scheduled in the evening and include pizza. The meeting schedule for the 2019–2020 academic year can be found on our Events page.


Student and faculty talks. This meeting occurs once per year and consists of two 25-minute talks by a senior PGG student and by a PGG faculty member. These talks are open to all PGG students, faculty, and fellows.


Postdoc talks. Also open to all PGG students, faculty, and fellows, this meeting occurs two times per year and consists of two 25-minute talks by postdocs. For each meeting, one speaker is a postdoctoral researcher in a clinical and medical genetics lab and the second speaker is a postdoc from a PGG lab.


G3 meetings. These meetings occur in fall and feature all third year students presenting 20-minute talks about their research. This meeting is only open to third-year PGG students and the steering committee. Students will receive feedback from the steering committee after the talk.


Annual Genetics and Genomics Symposium. The largest PGG event features seminars by former BBS graduate students who are now successful independent investigators working in genetics and genomics, and by current senior PGG graduate students. All current PGG students present a poster during the poster session reception.


Department of Genetics Seminar Series. PGG students are strongly encouraged to attend these bimonthly seminars, followed by lunch with the guest speaker. Additionally, PGG students have the opportunity to invite and host two of the seminar speakers each year. Please check the schedule at the Department of Genetics website to see a complete listing of seminar speakers.


Journal Club 
PGG students are encouraged to participate in the PGG journal club. It is entirely student-run and meets twice per month during the school year.


Steering Committee


Scott Kennedy, Ph.D., 

Professor of Genetics


Fred Winston, Ph.D., 

Professor of Genetics, Program Director


Stirling Churchman, Ph.D.,

Assistant Professor of Genetics


Matthew L. Warman, M.D.,

Professor of Genetics


Cynthia Morton, Ph.D.,

Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology


Simon Dove,

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Kale Hartmann,

Curriculum Fellow


Genevieve Dobihal, BBS student


Emma West, BBS student


Brendan Smalec, BBS student

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