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NHGRI opens behavior division

New 30- to 40-scientist branch will work to translate genomic work into health care gains

Maria Anderson(manderson@the-scientist.com)

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) announced last week the launch of the Social and Behavioral Research Branch (SBRB), a new intramural research division. SBRB researchers will “investigate social and behavioral factors that facilitate translation of genomic discoveries for health promotion, disease prevention, and health care improvements.”

The branch now has seven working scientists, according to Colleen McBride, SBRB senior investigator. Their current projects include research on testing and counseling strategies for families at risk for rare genetic disorders and bioethics studies of subjects including consent forms and communication between members of high-risk families. Future research will focus on how to “move the genomic discussion about high-risk families to the general public... and communicate genetic risk to the population at large,” she told The Scientist.

In January 2004, NHGRI will start a nationwide search to recruit researchers from a variety of disciplines, including communications, psychology, and...

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