Faculty Spotlight: Susanne Haga, PhD

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Susanne Haga, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the General Internal Medicine Division as well as the Center for Applied Genomics and Precision Medicine. Learn more about her in our interview below.

What brought you to Duke?
Duke offered the ability to work with an inter-disciplinary team and to have more freedom to pursue new areas in policy and ethics that warranted study as the science was quickly advancing in the fields of genetics and genomics

What are your interests in the field?
Ethical, legal, and policy implication of genetics and genomics -- both in the clinical setting as well as the research setting. In addition, education has been a major theme of my work and passion -- we need more tools and resources to educate patients and research participants -- we need to connect with them, demonstrate the relevance of these new advances to their lives, and communicate in a way that will promote comprehension and informed decision making. As part of that, I also teach undergraduates about these topics -- hopefully they will retain some of my lessons as they become the next generation of health providers (and research participants!)

How did you get in to this specific field?
I've always been fascinated with genetics since I first learned about it in high school. I was attracted to its simplicity and precision (Mendel made it sound so easy) -- the field is anything but that. The science and associated technologies have unleashed a tsunami of data, but the field is still trying to make sense of it all (the genetic and non-genetic factors underpinning health and disease). On top of that, the myriad factors that are associated with the ethical conduct of genetics and genomics research and translation into the clinic have kept many of us busy.

Tell us about the research you are doing.
I continue to be focused on patient education, particularly with respect to pharmacogenetic testing and developing and evaluating tools and resources to promote learning. I am working on a large campus initiative called WearDuke to promote student wellness through wearable technologies.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
Gardening, writing, reading

What is a fun fact about yourself?
Never missed a day of school (K-11) till I rebelled in my senior year. (I have been extremely fortunate to rarely get sick -- let's hope that continues!)

What is your favorite food? 
Probably Indian, but love Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and Thai