Welcome Brittany Hollister! UFGI's new Academic Program Specialist

The UF Genetics Institute recently hired Brittany Hollister, PhD, as the new Academic Program Specialist for the Genetics and Genomics Graduate program. Hollister has a strong background in genetics and is excited to help take the program to the next level.

Hollister’s interest in genetics began in graduate school and she went on to receive a PhD in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt.

“I have always had a strong interest in, and passion for, genomics education and training,” Hollister said. “In addition to the research I have conducted during my scientific career, I worked in genomics education with a variety of groups such as tribal college faculty, middle and high school students, and post-baccalaureate fellows. I felt that this position would allow me to work in an education-focused environment full-time so I could continue to build my education and administration skills.”

Before coming to UFGI Hollister worked as a Health Disparities Research Fellow at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). There she worked on several research projects focused on using genomic technologies to promote health equity, rather than increase health disparities.

Hollister presenting to Dr. Dan Kastner, scientific director of NHGRI.

Hollister expressed that she is excited for this new chapter with UFGI and to be able to invest in and grow the program.

“I think the UF Genetics Institute is an incredibly special place,” Hollister said. “The breadth of the research done in the Institute is interesting and exciting. Plus, the Genetics & Genomics graduate program is an exceptional program with wonderful students. I am excited for the opportunity to help the program continue to grow!”

Working with the graduate students has been a highlight of Hollister’s UFGI experience so far.

“I enjoy working with the students the amazing Institute team to identify ways in which we can make the program better,” Hollister said. “As these students will go on to shape the future of the genetics and genomics field, I am happy to do whatever I can to make their training experience more successful.”

As a genetics PhD graduate herself, Hollister has been able to connect with the students and aid them in their academic pursuits.

“Although I had a very positive graduate training experience, it was also very tumultuous,” Hollister said. “I understand the pressures and challenges that accompany being a PhD student. I believe this helps me be a better listener to our current students when they face similar challenges. As a PhD scientist, I can pass on what I learned to our current students.”

Hollister is a Florida native and stated that she is excited to be living in the Sunshine State again.

“My immediate family currently lives in Ocala, and I have not lived close by since 2008,” Hollister said. “My husband and I are greatly enjoying spending more time with them. I also am looking forward to spending more time at the springs, beaches, and Disney World.”

Hollister pictured with her family

Hollister stated that the UFGI and programs like it are important because they push the boundaries of research and science and use science to expand knowledge and improve lives.

“As scientists, we have a moral responsibility to share knowledge with others and work to improve scientific literacy,” Hollister said. “The field of genetics and genomics is a great place to do that because it is fundamental to all living things. This program is critical to this mission because we are training scientists who can function outside of their specific field. Our program trains scientists who conduct exceptional research within their field, and can still collaborate with scientists from completely different fields. This interdisciplinary approach to research is absolutely necessary to accelerating the pace of scientific discovery. I think our students will be leaders in this effort thanks to this program.”

We are thrilled to have Hollister at UFGI and look forward to seeing her contributions to the G&G program in the coming years.