Kruglyak Wins Novitsky Prize




13-kruglyak, prof leonidLeonid Kruglyak, a UCLA professor of human genetics and biological chemistry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been awarded the 2016 Edward Novitski Prize for his pioneering body of work in genetics.

The Novitski Prize is awarded annually by the Genetics Society of America in recognition of either a single experimental accomplishment or body of work that represents “an extraordinary level of creativity and intellectual ingenuity in the solution of significant problems in genetics research.”

Kruglyak’s contributions to the fields of linkage genetics, population genetics and genomics have drawn upon a combination of mathematical, computational and experimental approaches, and continue to advance the scientific community’s understanding of the human genome.

The Pacific Palisades resident received the 2015 Curt Stern Award for outstanding achievement in human genetics and was honored in October in Baltimore.

“My research has focused on developing strategies and technologies for connecting individual differences in DNA with differences in traits such as susceptibility to different diseases,” Kruglyak explained. “I’d say that one of the most surprising findings is how complex these connections are for most common diseases, as opposed to the more familiar ‘one-gene, one-disease’ for rare inherited diseases such as cystic fibrosis.”

Kruglyak came to the United States from the former Soviet Union when he was 13, graduated from Princeton University in 1987 and earned his master’s degree and doctorate in physics from UC Berkeley in 1989 and 1990.

He devoted his early career to understanding how a person’s genes interact with each other and the environment to influence his or her traits, such as appearance, behavior and susceptibility to various diseases.

As a postdoctoral researcher in the mid-1990s, he developed algorithms for a computer program called GENEHUNTER that enabled scientists to perform complicated calculations for genetic linkage on personal computers and quickly became a standard tool for mapping complex disease genes.

When he was recruited by UCLA in 2013, Kruglyak moved to Pacific Palisades with his wife Dr. Hilary Coller, a UCLA associate professor in molecular, cell and developmental biology. The couple has two children.


Leonid Kruglyak was awarded the 2016 Edward Novitski Prize in genetics.

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