Sergio E. Baranzini, PhD
Professor in Residence of Neurology
Graduate Program Membership: BMI
Dr. Baranzini’s research focuses on mechanisms underlying susceptibility to common diseases, prediction of therapeutic response, and innovative approaches to drug discovery. Through a combination of wet lab (genetic and immunological approaches) and computational methods, the Baranzini lab investigates combinations of DNA variants that confer susceptibility to diseases in the context of the biological pathways, gene networks, and regulatory influences. In particular, efforts to integrate multiple data domains to understand susceptibility and phenotype heterogeneity (including response to therapeutic drugs) in multiple sclerosis (MS) are underway. In addition, research about the influence of the microbiome in MS susceptibility and expressivity is ongoing.
Esteban Burchard, MD
Professor of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences and of Medicine
Director, Center for Genes, Environments & Health
Graduate Program Membership: BMS, PSPG
The Burchard Lab studies asthma and therapeutic response in racial and ethnically diverse populations, and the variation in asthma risk among populations. By studying several populations at once we can identify those risk factors that are common to all groups while also identifying those risk factors that are specific to one racial group. In addition, the rich and mixed ancestry of worldwide populations can be leveraged to untangle complex gene-environment (G x E) interactions in disease susceptibility and drug response.
Kathleen Giacomini, PhD
Professor and Co-Director, UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Sciences and Innovation, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
Graduate Program Membership: BMI, BMS, PSPG
Dr. Giacomini’s research focuses on the pharmacogenetics of membrane transporters, which play a major role in drug disposition and response. She is leading an effort to understand the implications of genetic variation in over 100 membrane transporters on clinical drug response. Studies include a focus on the anti-diabetic drug metformin and on anti-cancer drugs, have demonstrated that common variants of membrane transporters contribute to variation in drug response. Ultimately, the information obtained from these studies will be used in personalizing drug therapy and to design drugs to better treat subsets of patients who do not respond to standard treatments.
Deanna Kroetz, PhD
Professor of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences and of Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Graduate Program Membership: PSPG
Dr. Kroetz is interested in identifying genetic predictors of drug response and toxicity. Current studies are focused on taxane-induced peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer, bevacizumab-related hypertension in colorectal cancer patients and immune non-responders in African cohorts of HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy. Genome-wide association studies and exome sequencing are used to identify genetic variants and genomic regions associated with these drug response phenotypes. Novel genes are functionally characterized using cell culture and model organisms to understand the molecular basis for observed clinical associations.
Pui-Yan Kwok, MD, PhD
Henry Bachrach Distinguished Professor
Professor of Dermatology and Investigator, Cardiovascular Research Institute
Graduate Program Membership: BMS, PSPG, Tetrad
Dr. Kwok’s research focuses on the development and use of state-of-the-art strategies to identify genetic factors associated with complex human traits. He and colleagues recently developed new technologies for single molecule analysis, resulting in a new platform for genome-wide mapping of structural variations, haplotyping, and de novo sequence assembly. In collaborations, he studies the genetics of longevity, sudden cardiac arrest, bipolar disorder, scleroderma, brain arteriovenous malformations, adverse drug reactions, and kidney transplantation outcome. Recently, he and collaborators generated genome-wide SNP profiles of >100,000 individuals with comprehensive health records to identify genetic and environmental factors associated with a multitude of conditions.
Wilson Liao, MD
Dr. Liao’s research group is engaged in identifying the genetic and environmental determinants of skin diseases, particularly psoriasis. His group has contributed to the identification of more than 20 psoriasis genes through genome-wide association studies and functional mapping. Dr. Liao is a dermatologist and co-directs the UCSF Psoriasis Center, where numerous translational research projects are ongoing. Current projects include the identification of additional novel psoriasis genes, analysis of skin transcriptome expression networks,and analyzing the role of diet and the microbiome in modulating psoriasis severity, systemic inflammation, and associated co-morbidities.
Akinyemi Oni-Orisan, PharmD, PhD
Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy
Graduate Program Membership: PharmD
Dr. Oni-Orisan’s overall research goal is to improve pharmacological regimens for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. His research combines approaches in pharmacogenomics, pharmacometrics, and pharmacoepidemiology to advance precision medicine in cardiovascular disease. His current work involves the characterization of lipid-modifying agents for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease through the utilization of electronic health records. He is also interested in interindividual response to other therapies (e.g., antihypertensives, antiplatelets, anti-diabetics) that also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Kathryn Phillips, PhD
Professor of Health Economics & Health Services Research
Director and Founder, UCSF Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine
Dr. Phillips examines how health care is organized, delivered, and financed. She focuses on the translation of new technologies into improved patient outcomes, particularly personalized/precision medicine and its impact on clinical care, health economics, and health policy. She is currently leading a large NIH study on benefit-risk tradeoffs for whole genome sequencing. Her cross-disciplinary, cross-sector research integrates perspectives across basic, clinical, and social sciences and spans the divide between academia, industry, health care payers, and government. Research interests include use and adoption of new technologies, cost-effectiveness of care, evidence synthesis, and cancer care and prevention.
Marina Sirota, PhD
Associate Professor, Institute for Computational Health Sciences
Dr. Sirota is interested in developing computational methods in integrative biology and applying these approaches in the context of disease diagnostic and therapeutics. She has extensive background in bioinformatics and data integration in the context of drug repositioning, drug target identification, clinical and molecular data analysis. Dr. Sirota has a long standing interest in studying genetic architecture in complex disease as well as novel applications of next-generation sequencing techniques with a special focus on autoimmune disease.
Dara Torgerson, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Graduate Program Membership: BMI
Dr. Torgerson’s research is focused on integrative genomic and metabolomic studies of complex disease, including asthma and respiratory outcomes of preterm infants, and pharmacogenomics. Her group develops computational strategies for the analysis of multi-omics data in genetically structured and underrepresented populations in order to address clinically relevant hypotheses. She works in close partnership with community members, basic and clinical scientists to promote multi-disciplinary efforts in genomics and precision medicine.