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Rex L. Chisholm, PhD

Vice Dean for Scientific Affairs and
Graduate Education

Adam and Richard T. Lind Professor
of Medical Genetics

Center for Genetic Medicine
Dept. of Cell and Molecular Biology

Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University
Chicago, Illinois USA




Research Interests

Selected Publications

Contact Me


A Brief History

I was a graduate student with Dr. David A. Jackson in the Deptartment of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School. My PhD work focused on the molecular genetics of phage P22 and the use of SV40 as a vector for the introduction of genes into animal cells. My postdoctoral work was with Dr. Harvey Lodish in the Department of Biology at MIT and the Whitehead Institute. My work there focused on the molecular genetics of the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum.

I began on the faculty at Northwestern in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy (which became the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology) as an assistant professor in 1984. The main focus of my research lab through 2005 was the role of molecular motors in cell migration. We used both cultured mammalian cells and Dictyostelium in these studies.

In 2000 I became the founding director of the Center for Genetic Medicine a cross campus Center that currently has 140 faculty members in 18 different departments in four different schools at Northwestern University. The Center for Genetic Medicine provides an umbrella for genetics and genomics throughout the University. You can learn more about the Genetic Center here.

My role in the Genetics Center led to an evolution in my research interests. I have begun to focus my research efforts in the areas of bioinformatics and understanding the contribution of genetic variation to human disease, especially common, complex disease. I currently serve as PI of dictyBase, the model organism database for Dictyostelium. I am also PI of the NUgene project, a biobank linked to the electronic health records of consented participants who receive their health care through the Feinberg School's clinical affiliates: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation and Children's Memorial Hospital. NUgene currently has over 8000 participants enrolled. NUgene is also a member of the NHGRI (National Human Genome Research Institute-one of the institutes of the National Institutes of Health) eMERGE network. The eMERGE network is a consortium of biobanks that are linked to electronic health records.

I am also an active particpant in the Gene Ontology Consortium where I am PI of a subcontract to the main GO grant.

As Vice Dean for Scientific Affairs at Feinberg School of Medicine I am responsible for facilitating over $300 million of research activity annually. Our research environment encompasses over 550,000 sq. feet of bench research space and almost 300,000 sq. feet of "dry lab" space on the Chicago Campus of Northwestern. My primary focus is to help build a research enterprise that allows investigators at the Feinberg School of Medicine to accomplish their research in a vital, enthusiastic and supportive environment. My goal is to assure that FSM researchers have an environment that allows them to do the best research they can possibly do. You can learn more about research at the Feinberg School of Medicine here.