Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Medical College of Cornell UniversityBiography
Hanna Rennert, Ph.D., F.A.C.M.G. is Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Medical School. Following postdoctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Rennert served in oversight roles within the Molecular Pathology Laboratory in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. From 2000 until 2002, she directed a Microarray Research and Development Laboratory at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. Dr. Rennert rejoined the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 2002 as a Senior Molecular Genetics Scientist and adjunct faculty in Molecular Pathology. She is certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics in Clinical Molecular Genetics, and is obtaining a certificate in Clinical Epidemiology from the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Rennert directed the Molecular Diagnosis and Genotyping Facility within the Pathology Department until July 2005 when she came to Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Rennert's primary research interest is the genetic epidemiology of prostate cancer. In collaboration with researchers from Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in India and the University of Pennsylvania, we established in 2004 a study for examining the role of genetic factors in the disparity in prostate cancer incidence and disease characteristics between high risk (African Americans) and low risk (Asian Indians) populations. Currently, wide-genome scan association studies have identified numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and susceptibility loci associated with prostate cancer risk, including a region on chromosome 8q which is commonly amplified in prostate cancer. The role of candidate inherited susceptibility gene variations and their association with prostate cancer risk in these two populations are being studied. A second research interest is the development of clinical molecular tests and applications. Her current efforts as the Director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory at NYPH-WCMC are focused on expanding the Molecular Pathology test menu, particularly in virology, genetics, and oncology. Specific tests under development include quantification assays for the herpes viruses using real-time PCR, pharmacogenetic testing and EGFR/RAS mutation analysis. In addition, in collaboration with clinicians and researchers at the Rogosin Institute, Dr. Rennert's group has developed and implemented a new strategy to screen for mutations in the polycystic kidney disease 1 and 2 genes (PKD1 and PKD2), using a mismatch-specific DNA endonuclease and DHPLC. This work also included the development of an in-silco algorithm for evaluating the pathogenic potential of gene variations of unknown significance (VUS), and she is currently working with her collaborators on automated mutation calling and evaluation of VUS.