Human Genetics Program

José Luis Millán, Ph.D. and young patient

Gene effects

Most genetic disorders are present from birth and are quite rare, often affecting only one person in every several thousand or million.

While some of these genetic diseases are well known, such as sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis, others are so rare that there is only one affected person in the world. Whether a genetic disease affects thousands or just one person, there are many challenges for patients, their families, and caregivers, including the time it takes for many patients to get a correct diagnosis. 

Director's statement

Our focus is on the discovery of new genetic disorders and improving our understanding of those we already know. Using zebrafish, mouse models, patient cells and stem cell technologies, we are probing the pathological mechanisms of genetic disorders to address unanswered questions. Our fundamental research has led to clinically useful diagnostic tests and novel therapies for patients. Strong patient and advocacy relations serve as a foundation for our goal to shed light on the obscure paths of genetic disorders and provide solid information and guidance.

– Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., Program Director



Inhibition of Tissue-Nonspecific Alkaline Phosphatase Attenuates Ectopic Mineralization in the Abcc6-/- Mouse Model of PXE but Not in the Enpp1 Mutant Mouse Models of GACI.

Li Q, Huang J, Pinkerton AB, Millan JL, van Zelst BD, Levine MA, Sundberg JP, Uitto J

J Invest Dermatol 2019 Feb ;139(2):360-368

A mammalian homolog of the zebrafish transmembrane protein 2 (TMEM2) is the long-sought-after cell-surface hyaluronidase.

Yamamoto H, Tobisawa Y, Inubushi T, Irie F, Ohyama C, Yamaguchi Y

J Biol Chem 2017 May 5 ;292(18):7304-7313

A Recurrent De Novo Heterozygous COG4 Substitution Leads to Saul-Wilson Syndrome, Disrupted Vesicular Trafficking, and Altered Proteoglycan Glycosylation.

Ferreira CR, Xia ZJ, Clément A, Parry DA, Davids M, Taylan F, Sharma P, Turgeon CT, Blanco-Sánchez B, Ng BG, Logan CV, Wolfe LA, Solomon BD, Cho MT, Douglas G, Carvalho DR, Bratke H, Haug MG, Phillips JB, Wegner J, Tiemeyer M, Aoki K, Undiagnosed Diseases Network., Scottish Genome Partnership., Nordgren A, Hammarsjö A, Duker AL, Rohena L, Hove HB, Ek J, Adams D, Tifft CJ, Onyekweli T, Weixel T, Macnamara E, Radtke K, Powis Z, Earl D, Gabriel M, Russi AHS, Brick L, Kozenko M, Tham E, Raymond KM, Phillips JA 3rd, Tiller GE, Wilson WG, Hamid R, Malicdan MCV, Nishimura G, Grigelioniene G, Jackson A, Westerfield M, Bober MB, Gahl WA, Freeze HH

Am J Hum Genet 2018 Oct 4 ;103(4):553-567

CAMLG-CDG: a novel congenital disorder of glycosylation linked to defective membrane trafficking.

Wilson MP, Durin Z, Unal Ö, Ng BG, Marrecau T, Keldermans L, Souche E, Rymen D, Gündüz M, Köse G, Sturiale L, Garozzo D, Freeze HH, Jaeken J, Foulquier F, Matthijs G

Hum Mol Genet 2022 Mar 9 ;

Clinically relevant orthotopic xenograft models of patient-derived glioblastoma in zebrafish.

Ai X, Ye Z, Xiao C, Zhong J, Lancman JJ, Chen X, Pan X, Yang Y, Zhou L, Wang X, Shi H, Zhang D, Yao Y, Cao D, Zhao C

Dis Model Mech 2022 Apr 1 ;15(4)

Chemical Therapies for Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation.

Sosicka P, Ng BG, Freeze HH

ACS Chem Biol 2021 Nov 17 ;

Downregulation of Grem1 expression in the distal limb mesoderm is a necessary precondition for phalanx development.

Lancman JJ, Hasso SM, Suzuki T, Kherdjemil Y, Kmita M, Ferris A, Dong PDS, Ros MA, Fallon JF

Dev Dyn 2021 Oct 31 ;

Corrigendum: ALG1-CDG Caused by Non-Functional Alternative Splicing Involving a Novel Pathogenic Complex Allele.

González-Domínguez CA, Fiesco-Roa MO, Gómez-Carmona S, Kleinert-Altamirano API, He M, Daniel EJP, Raymond KM, Abreu-González M, Manrique-Hernández S, González-Jaimes A, Salinas-Marín R, Molina-Garay C, Carrillo-Sánchez K, Flores-Lagunes LL, Jiménez-Olivares M, Muñoz-Rivas A, Cruz-Muñoz ME, Ruíz-García M, Freeze HH, Mora-Montes HM, Alaez-Verson C, Martínez-Duncker I

Front Genet 2021 ;12:777731

Active site variants in STT3A cause a dominant type I congenital disorder of glycosylation with neuromusculoskeletal findings.

Wilson MP, Garanto A, Pinto E Vairo F, Ng BG, Ranatunga WK, Ventouratou M, Baerenfaenger M, Huijben K, Thiel C, Ashikov A, Keldermans L, Souche E, Vuillaumier-Barrot S, Dupré T, Michelakakis H, Fiumara A, Pitt J, White SM, Lim SC, Gallacher L, Peters H, Rymen D, Witters P, Ribes A, Morales-Romero B, Rodríguez-Palmero A, Ballhausen D, de Lonlay P, Barone R, Janssen MCH, Jaeken J, Freeze HH, Matthijs G, Morava E, Lefeber DJ

Am J Hum Genet 2021 Nov 4 ;108(11):2130-2144

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