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I am always in the search for good graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to join my laboratory.  I find my laboratory exciting precisely because of my trainees who bring new perspectives, questions and ideas…and, of course, new interests and new personalities!  Over the past 32 years, and ever since I have been a preceptor in one or more graduate and post-graduate training programs, I have been fortunate to recruit a large number of talented trainees who have taught me just as much as we have been able to teach them.

My laboratory is focused on the fundamentals of human genetics, particularly as it relates to the understanding of human disease. Our current research is focused on two disorders of the nervous system where disease onset is early (Hirschsprung disease, autism) and two disorders of the cardiovascular system where disease onset is late (sudden cardiac death, hypertension). This breadth emphasizes the gamut of human genetic mechanisms. I expect that human genetic diseases are the photographic ‘negatives’ from which the ‘positives’ of normal physiology will emerge.  To do so, we successfully use both experimental and computational approaches in human genetics and genomics, as well as use model organisms to test mechanistic hypotheses emerging from gene discovery.

My philosophy has been to let trainees choose what they want to study within the confines of the broad interests and grant support of the laboratory.  I do not tell any of them, graduate students or postdoctoral fellows, what to focus on or what to do, but do help and guide them to the extent that they need and request my help; rather, I expect my trainees to learn to think independently but work collaboratively because this is what they will need to do when they start their careers.  Nevertheless, I do work with all of my trainees very closely and expect them to gain expertise in both experimental and computational approaches.

Mine is not a very large lab nor one where high-throughput technologies dominate but one where genetic arguments and genetic perspectives are central: we use the tools, both small and large, necessary for answering the question at hand.  For any potential PhD trainee interested in our research you will have to gain admission in either the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Human Genetics & Molecular Biology Training Program or the Bloomberg School of Public Health Biostatistics Training Program; postdoctoral fellows should write to me directly at least 9 months prior to an expected start.  For any trainee a visit to the lab is always a good idea but this is expected for all fellows.

My lab also hosts visiting international undergraduate students in the summer, and any Hopkins undergraduate throughout the year through a practicum.  For all such students, research work in my lab can be taken for academic credit. We also host exceptional high school students who have a deep interest in human genetics.

Aravinda Chakravarti

Principal Investigator



Prospective Trainees

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