Human Genetics, Epidemiology, Statistics, Bioinformatics
Discovering the genetic determinants of complex diseases is a multidisciplinary endeavor, featuring elements of biology, epidemiology, computer science, and statistics. My research is focused on studying the heritable factors that modulate the risk of diseases, and developing statistical methods and software that make these investigations more efficient. To accomplish the goals of my laboratory, a combination of statistical techniques are applied to test hypotheses in large-scale genetic data from populations of persons at risk for several traits, such as obesity, hypertension, blood pressure, body mass index, colorectal cancer, colorectal polyps, and endometrial cancer. My laboratory works with genetic data from several populations, including African Americans, Chinese from Shanghai, and community-based studies in the Nashville area. Additionally, my laboratory employs high-performance computational resources at Vanderbilt to simulate genetic data from human populations in which to model disease genes and evaluate novel statistical techniques. Currently my laboratory is developing procedures and statistical techniques for designing efficient next-generation sequencing experiments to follow up or augment discoveries from genome-wide association studies. Accomplishing these goals requires familiarity with epidemiologic study design, population genetics, and currently available technology. Members of my laboratory would have many opportunities to develop projects either studying complex genetic traits, developing statistical methods for current and future studies, or a combination of both. Our objectives will be to make contributions to public health and basic science through the study of genetic epidemiology.