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University of California Genetics of Absolute Pitch Study

staff & funding



Project Director

Jane Gitschier, PhD
Jane is Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and the Associate Director of the Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF. She sings.


This project has been made possible by generous support from the following foundations and organizations:

  • The NAMM Foundation

  • The UCSF Academic Senate

  • The UCSF School of Medicine

  • The National Science Foundation
    Graduate Research Fellowship to E. Theusch
    Project Award #0652789 to J. Gitschier

  • The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

  • The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

We are actively seeking continued support for this project. Should you wish to contribute to our study, we welcome your donation. UCSF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please contact the project leader Jane Gitschier at perfect.pitch at ucsf.edu or call Jane Gitschier at (415) 476-8729 to make arrangements. Please let us know if your company participates in a matching gift program so that we can extend the benefit of your generosity.

Project Alumni

    E. Alexandra Athos
    Alexandra followed in Jason's footsteps. She maintained the databases and analyzed the perceptual data. She is now in medical school at George Washington University. She plays the piano and she has absolute pitch!

    Siamak Baharloo, PhD
    Siamak initiated the absolute pitch project as a graduate student in the Biomedical Sciences program at UCSF. His work was instrumental in establishing a genetic basis for absolute pitch. Siamak now works in industry.

    Analabha Basu, PhD
    Analabha was a post-doctoral fellow in Neil Risch's lab at UCSF. He provided statistical advice on the genetic data.

    Alan Bostrom, PhD
    Alan is a Specialist in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UCSF. He plays the harpsichord.

    Aaron Calhoun
    Aaron developed our website and runs Digital Media Work. He is also a digital photographer.

    Androuw Carrasco
    Androuw worked on the absolute pitch project during the summer of 2009 when he was an undergraduate intern.

    Yuri Cheung
    Yuri worked on the absolute pitch project during the summer of 2009 when she was an undergraduate intern.

    Nelson Freimer, MD
    Nelson is Professor of Psychiatry and Directory of the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics at UCLA.

    Amy Kistler, PhD, MPH
    Amy worked on the project for a year between graduate school and before going on to get a Masters in Public Health at UC Berkeley. She was instrumental in moving the project toward a web-based recruitment and implemented a national phlebotomy service. She now works on identifying viral diseases at UCSF.

    Barbara Levinson, MA
    Many of our subjects know Barbara, as she was in charge of recruitment for the absolute pitch project before retiring in 2006. She is docent at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. She plays the recorder.

    Ian McCulloch
    Ian worked on the absolute pitch project during the summer of 2008 when he was an undergraduate intern.

    Neil Risch, PhD
    Neil is the Director of the Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF.

    Beth Theusch, PhD
    Beth received her PhD in the Biomedical Sciences program at UCSF. Her thesis was entitled "The Genetic Epidemiology of Absolute Pitch". She is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Children's Hospital of Oakland Research Institute. She is an amateur flautist.

    Jason Zemanksy
    Jason took a break after college and set up the databases for the project. He is now a graduate student in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley.


Some links for more information:
The Gitschier Lab at UCSF
UCSF Biomedial Sciences Graduate Program
Digital Media Work
Institute for Human Genetics at UCSF
Freimer Lab
National Science Foundation
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
John Simon Guggenheim Foundation