My research interests are broad as they reflect both my curiosity about basic genetic mechanisms contributing to health and disease and my keen interest in understanding how advances in genetics may impact individuals and societies. The primary efforts of my basic science research laboratory are focused on characterizing alterations in molecular genetic mechanisms underlying aberrant cell cycle regulation that are critical in the development of various solid tumor malignancies. In my laboratory we are currently engaged in a handful of different but related projects that stem from this basic research interest. One major effort in the laboratory is directed toward functional analysis of a human septin gene important in cell division, SEPT9/MSF, that we cloned in the laboratory from a region of allelic imbalance on human chromosome 17 in breast tumors.
We are actively developing and utilizing in vitro model systems to help us elucidate its role in cell proliferation and cancer. We are also working on related projects to analyze how alterations in other known cell cycle regulatory genes may interact in the progression of tumorigenesis. Specifically, we have been examining the roles of specific genes, including CHFR and mitotic spindle checkpoint genes, important in normal progression of the cell cycle from the G2/M phase through cytokinesis. In addition, as a clinical geneticist, I am very interested in further delineating the phenotypes of newly recognized human genetic syndromes and working with collaborators to map and isolate novel genes that may underlie these conditions when appropriate.
Outside of the laboratory I remain actively engaged in collaborative research projects to explore how people understand and use information about genetics in their lives and the impact advances in genetics, such as their understanding about the Human Genome Project, has on them. We are interested in how individuals use and think about genetic information and technology differently - not only as related to health care decision making and reproductive choices, but also as related to how it may shape their perceptions about other individuals and groups of people. Specifically, we are interested in learning more about how their genetic beliefs might influence their thoughts on various social issues and public policy agendas as it did in the era of Eugenics. For instance, do people who believe that genetic factors strongly influence an individual's sexual orientation have different opinions about the rights of gays to marry or adopt children than those who feel that sexual orientation is largely a matter of choice?
I am also interested in research on the delivery of clinical genetic services, from the past to the future, especially as related to the development of ethical and cost-effective applications of genetic technology and diagnostic testing.
1977-1981 BA, Clarke College, Dubuque, IA; (majors: Biology and Art History)
1982-1986 MD, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI
1986-1989 Pediatric Intern and Resident, Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
1989-1992 Postdoctoral Fellow in Medical Genetics, Departments of Genetics and Pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
1991-1993 Clinical Molecular Genetics (DNA Diagnostics) Fellow, Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
1992-1993 Postdoctoral Research Associate in Genetics, Department of Genetics, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
1995 Participant, Short Course in Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics, Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME
2000 Faculty Participant, Berlex Oncology Foundation, Genetics workshop for postdoctoral physician scientists, Houston, TX
Honors and Awards
1977-1986 Rose Totino Academic Merit Award
1977-1981 Presidential Academic Merit Scholarship Award
1977-1981 Academic Dean's List
1981 Kappa Gamma Pi Honor Society
1982-1986 Medical School Honor Roll/Deanís List
1985 Dr. TA Leonard Award for Obstetrics and Gynecology
1985 Harry A. Waisman Award for Excellence in Pediatrics
1985 Alpha Omega Alpha
1986 Janet M. Glassgow Memorial Achievement Citation
1995 KO8 - Clinical Investigator Award (1 KO8 CA66613-01) “Isolation of a chromosome 17q25 gene involved in breast cancer”
1996 Michigan Agenda for Women, Career Development Award
1997 American Medical Association Physician's Recognition Award
1997 Traditions of Leadership Award, University of Michigan Medical School
1999 Nominee Finalist, Kaiser Permanente Award for Excellence in Preclinical Teaching, University of Michigan Medical School
1999 Gender Equity Award in Medical Student Teaching, American Medical Women's Association, University of Michigan Medical School
2000 Featured Alumni Speaker, 1999-2000 Mackin-Mailander Endowed Lecture Series, Clarke College, Dubuque, Iowa
2000 Regent’s Award for Distinguished Public Service, University of Michigan
2001 Medical School Component I Teaching Award of Excellence, Voted by M1 students
2004 OVPR (OVPR #5097) Distinguished Faculty Seminar: “Beyond the boundaries of Western Michigan: Addressing multidimensional perspectives of life, death and disease”
2004 NSF Advance, Elizabeth Caroline Crosby Fund Award, “Cell cycle checkpoint gene, CHFR, in cell proliferation and malignant progression”
Gonzalez ME, Peterson EA, Privette LM, Loffreda-Wren JL, Kalikin LM, Petty EM. High SEPT9_v1 Expression in Human Breast Cancer Cells Is Associated with Oncogenic Phenotypes. Cancer Res. 2007 Sep 15;67(18):8554-64.
Sheldon JP, Epstein Jayaratne T, Feldbaum MB, DiNardo CD, Petty EM. Applications and implications of advances in human genetics: Perspectives from a group of Black Americans. Community Genet. 2007;10(2):82-92.
Sheldon JP, Pfeffer CA, Jayaratne TE, Feldbaum M, Petty EM. Beliefs about the etilogy homosexuality and about the ramifications of discovering its possible genetic origin. J Homosex. 2007;52(3-4):111-50.
Please contact Dr. Petty for information regarding current research projects.
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