Cincinnati--Ranajit Chakraborty, PhD, an internationally
distinguished geneticist, has joined the University of Cincinnati
Medical Center in the Department of Environmental Health. Chakraborty
will serve as the first Robert A. Kehoe Chair of Environmental Health
and will be the director of the newly created UC Center for Genome
"Medical schools rarely have the opportunity to
recruit an internationally renowned, highly productive scientist like
Dr. Chakraborty," said John Hutton, MD, dean of the UC College of
Medicine. "Many of our faculty worked very hard to bring him here. His
presence truly propels Cincinnati to leadership in the burgeoning and
important field of human genomics by taking advantage of knowledge of
the sequence of human DNA to identify causes of common human diseases."
Kehoe Chair has a total endowment of $2 million and supports research
and growth in the field of environmental health and preserves the
memory of the lasting and invaluable accomplishments of Robert Kehoe. A
committed faculty member of the Medical Center for over forty years,
Kehoe helped pioneer the techniques and research that developed into
the field of environmental health at UC. Upon his death in 1992, he
left a bequest of $1.3 million, which provided the base for the Kehoe
The mission of the UC Center for Genome Information is to
establish a research program for understanding the genetic basis for
complex diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
diseases. A state of the art molecular laboratory and high-efficiency
computer facility have already been set up within the center for
collection and analysis of genetic materials from affected individuals
to find genes underlying these diseases.
"I am confident we can
set up a national Center for Genome Information here that will be one
of the best in the country," Chakraborty said. "UC already has an
established environment for genetic studies which will be further
enhanced by our involvement."
Chakraborty comes to the Medical
Center from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston,
where he was the distinguished Allan King Professor of Biological
Sciences, Population Genetics and Biometry. He has done pioneering work
on DNA forensics and has often been called on as an expert for forensic
Presently, the New York Medical Examiner's Office
and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have requested
Chakraborty's help in identifying the remains of the victims in New
York and Washington D.C. from the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Chakraborty and a graduate student wrote the software the government is
using to identify the DNA of the victims. He has been selected as a
member of two commissions set up for collection and laboratory typing
of DNA from the remains and interpretation of the data for
identification. For the last 13 years, his research on the use of DNA
analysis has helped numerous courts in the U.S. and Canada convict
criminals and also exonerate wrongly accused suspects.
is the author of over 500 research papers and coeditor of eight books.
He has served on many international governmental committees and U.S.
National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation review
panels, as well as editorial boards of many international journals of
genetics and genetic epidemiology. A founding fellow of the American
College of Epidemiology, Chakraborty is currently a member of the
International Committee of Radiological Protection task force to
evaluate the effects of radiation on increasing the risk of complex
In addition, he served on the National DNA
Advisory Board, enacted by the DNA Act of 1994 of the U.S. Congress,
and on the DNA Subcommission of the State of New York, whose tasks
include formulating guidelines for quality control and quality
assurance of DNA testing. Chakraborty was given the award for
"Outstanding Contributions during the Decade of DNA, 1988-1998 " from
the FBI in 1998 and the "Man of the Year Award" in 1996 by the Cultural
Association of Bengal, New York.