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Professor, Genetics
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Genetics

Area of Interest

I have been involved in the project since its inception and I currently serve a director of the project at UNC, where the US Collaborative Cross population resides. There are numerous common diseases, including cancer, interconnected through complex networks of genetic, biological and environmental interactions. A new paradigm is needed to understand the interactions between genes and the environment that lead to changes in disease susceptibility. This new experimental model must support mathematical models of highly complex mammalian biological systems that predict future disease susceptibility. This concept, which we call ?Systems Genetics,? combines novel biological tools with innovative computational and statistical analyses. The UNC systems genetics program is based on the use of a new and revolutionary platform in mammalian genetics called the Collaborative Cross. The Collaborative Cross is a large panel of mouse recombinant inbred lines designed to overcome the limitations of existing platforms and to support the development of systems genetics approaches to the study of complex traits. I am particularly interested in conducting proof-of-principle experiments to test the concept of predictive biology by which mathematical models of susceptibility to common diseases are tested in a population with new genotypes but related genotypes. This idea is particularly appealing in the context of complete knowledge of the whole genome sequences of each one of the Collaborative Cross mice tested. The Collaborative Cross, systems genetics and predictive biology are three of the main concepts that underlie our recently NIH funded Center of Excellence in Systems Genetics (CISGen).

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