Timeline

A History of the Department of Genetics and Development

  • 1904

    Thomas Hunt Morgan becomes a Professor of Experimental Zoology at Columbia and establishes the world's first Fly Lab, where he studies the inheritance of various mutations.

    A close-up image of flies.
  • 1910

    Morgan shows that genes reside on specific chromosomes.

  • 1969

    The Department of Human Genetics and Development is established by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York (without any allocation of funds for hiring faculty or providing laboratory or office space).

  • 1970

    Dr. Paul Marks, the founding chairman of the department, is named dean of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

    A black-and-white photo of Dr. Paul Marks sitting at a microscope.
  • 1970

    Dr. Robert Krooth is recruited as chair of the department.

  • 1974

    Dr. Arthur Bank is named first chair of the Training Committee.

  • 1974

    The Training Program in Genetics and Development is established as one of the first predoctoral training programs under the National Institutes of General Medical Science.

  • 1980

    A unique qualifying exam process is developed under the supervision of Dr. Arthur Bank, in which students have to demonstrate they are deeply immersed in a project and can carry out pertinent experiments. (1980-1989)

  • 1981

    Dr. Charles Cantor is named chair of the department.

  • 1984

    Charles Cantor and David C. Schwartz develop pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.

  • 1985

    In a shift of focus to fundamental genetic research, the word "Human" is removed from the department title. The Department of Genetics and Development is officially formed.

  • 1989

    Dr. Argiris Efstratiadis becomes acting chair of the department.

  • 1993

    Claudio Stern becomes chair of the department.

  • 1995

    Dr. Ginny Papaioannou becomes the chair of the Training Committee.

  • 2001

    Frank Costantini takes over as acting chair of the department.

  • 2005

    Our current chair, Dr. Gerard Karsenty, is recruited to take over the department.

  • 2016

    Dr. Michael Shen takes over as chair of the Training Committee.

    Dr. Michael Shen