The goal of the Common Disease Genetics Program within the LA BioMed Institute for Translational Genomics is to elucidate the genetics of common, genetically complex, diseases by:
Elucidating the origin of their pathophysiology
Providing tools for risk assessment
Identifying novel targets for therapy and prevention
The group focuses their efforts on:

  • Cardiometabolic disorders
    • Atherosclerosis
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Valvular heart disease
    • Arrhythmias and EKG variation
    • Blood pressure and hypertension
    • Lipid disorders
    • Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Eye diseases
    • Diabetic retinopathy
    • Keratoconus
    • Glaucoma
    • Macular degeneration
    • Myopia
  • Obesity
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Diabetic kidney disease
    • Insulin resistance
  • Pharmacogenetics
    • Genetic determinants of response to a therapy

The group’s work (which is intensively collaborative) has utilized a variety of paradigms:

  • Family based
  • Case-control
  • Cohort
  • Pharmacogenetic studies
  • Candidate gene
  • Family based linkage
  • Genome-wide association
  • Large scale specialized genotyping and sequencing
  • Whole exome sequencing
  • Whole genome sequencing

Most recently, the work has expanded to include multi-omic approaches, including:

  • Genotyping and sequencing
  • DNA modifications (methylation)
  • Transcriptomics (expression)
  • Proteomics
  • Metabolomics

These studies range in size from single site studies to studies involving hundreds to hundreds of thousands of subjects and from a handful to hundreds of investigators, the epitome of what is termed "team science." The group has been especially active in multiethnic studies including those in Caucasian, Hispanic, African-Americans, Chinese, Armenian, and Jewish populations. In the process, they have helped delineate the genetic architecture of diabetes and insulin resistance, of blood pressure and hypertension, of lipid disorders and coronary artery disease, of cardiac arrhythmia and EKG variation, and of obesity, in multiple ethnic groups. The ultimate goal of this work is to identify the optimal therapy and prevention for cardiometabolic and ocular disorders as a function of an individual's genetic predisposition. Thus, this is the basis for precision/personalized medicine, especially in minority populations.
The faculty members serve on the Steering Committees of TOPMed (NHLBI’s Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine); CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology); MESA (Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis; IRAS (Insulin Resistance and Atherosclerosis Family Study); GUARDIAN (Genetics Underlying Diabetes in Hispanics); and TAICHI (Taiwan Metabochip Study), to name a few. Current grant-supported activities are in the focus areas of:

  • Insulin resistance/diabetes
  • Coronary artery disease/atherosclerosis
  • Blood pressure/hypertension
  • Lipid disorders
  • Eye diseases such as glaucoma
  • Pharmacogenetics
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