Professor Leonid Kruglyak of human genetics and biological chemistry has been appointed chair of the UCLA Department of Human Genetics, beginning July 1. A world-class scientist and educator, he will replace professor Karen Reue, who has served as interim chair for the past two years.


Human genetics is the youngest basic science department in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. It was launched just prior to the sequencing of the human genome and is dedicated to turning mountains of raw genetic data into a detailed understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of human disease. 

A member of the UCLA faculty since 2013 and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Kruglyak received his A.B. degree in physics from Princeton University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in physics from UC Berkeley. After postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and at Oxford University, he joined the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research as a research scientist. Subsequently, he held a faculty position at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, where he was also an HHMI investigator and an affiliate professor of genome sciences at the University of Washington.

In 2005, Kruglyak returned to Princeton University as a professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. In 2010, he was named the inaugural William R. Harman and Mary-Love Harman Professor in Genomics. He founded and chaired the graduate program in quantitative and computational biology at Princeton.

Kruglyak serves on the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science Magazine, the editorial board of PLoS Genetics, the advisory board of bioRxiv and the scientific advisory council for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. His research interests focus on understanding the genetic basis of complex phenotypes.  Among the many honors and awards he has received, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2007 for distinguished contributions to the study of variation in the human genome and for pioneering genetic studies of gene expression variation. 

In a joint announcement of Kruglyak’s appointment, Dr. John Mazziotta, vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health, and Dr. Kelsey Martin, interim dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said he will be “an essential partner in new academic and clinical initiatives involving precision health, biomedical informatics and computational medicine, and quantitative and computational biosciences.”