Congratulations to Joe Mychaleckyj and Ani Manichaikul!

Two resident faculty of the Center were recently awarded research grants. Joe Mychaleckyj was awarded (with Palak Shah) a joint UVA-Inova seed grant entitled “Genomic loci linked to biomarkers of cardiac injury, fibrosis, and heart failure.” Ani Manichaikul was awarded (with Michael Cho) an NHLBI TOPMed (Trans –Omics for Precision Medicine) analysis grant entitled “Pulmonary function and COPD.” Congratulations Joe & Ani!



Civelek Lab research featured in local news reports

meteAn international genetics study by Dr. Mete Civelek and his collaborators was featured in UVA Today’s March 3rd edition. The study focuses on the connection between genes in our fat cells and our risk for obesity and cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. The story was also picked up by local news stations and includes an interview with Dr. Civelek.

The researchers published their findings in the American Journal of Human Genetics.  Genetic Regulation of Adipose Gene Expression and Cardio-Metabolic Traits



Mychaleckyj Lab publishes paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution

Josyf MychaleckyjDr. Joe Mychaleckyj and his collaborators recently published a paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution in which the researchers detected Native American genomic regions of selection in admixed North-Eastern Brazilians. This paper is the result of a collaboration with investigators at the Federal University of Ceara, Fortaleza, Brazil. Collaborators in CPHG were Dr. Uma Nayak and the Genome Sciences Laboratory (Emily Farber), and in the UVA School of Medicine, Dr. Dick Guerrant, Professor of Infectious Diseases and previous Director of Center for Global Health, and Dr. Relana Pinkerton.

“Genome-wide Analysis in Brazilians Reveals Highly Differentiated Native American Genome Regions”



Center Director Stephen Rich awarded NIH grant

Stephen S. Rich

Dr. Stephen Rich was recently awarded an NIH grant for the study of functional significance of the SNPs identified as critical to the risk of type 1 diabetes (T1D). The study “Systematic Identification of Functional T1D-associated Non-coding SNPs using Genetic, Transcriptomic and Epigenetic Methods” involves both CPHG Resident Faculty (Onengut, Farber) and Affiliated Faculty (Guertin, Adli) as well as former CPHG member Pat Concannon. The grant started 29 September 2016 and will continue through 30 June 2021.  The project takes advantage of the T1D resource at UVA and the work that shows T1D-associated credible SNPs are enriched in regulatory regions in specific cell types.  The grant proposes to directly examine these SNPs in T and B cells from our viably frozen PBMC collection. The team will focus on the accessible chromatin landscape at T1D risk loci, using ATAC-seq and characterize the impact of these SNPs on gene expression using RNA-seq in the same cells from the same individuals. They will test the function of the variants that impact chromatin accessibility and gene expression by perturbation experiments using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, followed by validation by gene expression and other functional assays.


Charles Farber named Associate Director of CPHG

Charles FarberCongratulations goes out to Charles Farber! With approval from the Dean, Charles was recently appointed Associate Director of the Center for Public Health Genomics. In addition to leading the Farber Lab, Charles will now be assuming a leadership role within the Center taking on new administrative duties.




Chongzhi Zang joins the Center

Chongzhi_ZangThe Center welcomes its newest faculty member Chongzhi Zang, PhD, who joined UVa this fall as Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard University. Dr. Zang earned his PhD in Physics at The George Washington University. The Zang Lab focuses on developing computational methodologies and integrative genomics approaches to study epigenetics and transcriptional regulation of gene expression in a variety of mammalian cell systems and human diseases such as cancer.



Graham Casey joins CPHG

caseyDr. Graham Casey has recently joined the Center as Professor of Public Health Sciences, bringing his expertise in the genomic analysis of colorectal cancer risk to UVA. The Casey Lab focuses on unravelling the complex genetic mechanisms underlying risk of colorectal cancer. Prior to joining CPHG, Dr. Casey was at the Cleveland Clinic in the Department of Cancer Biology, and then at the Keck School of Medicine, USC. Dr. Casey received his B.S. in Genetics and Cell Biology from Manchester University, England and earned his doctorate degree in Human Cytogenetics from University College, London, England.


CPHG welcomes new faculty member Nathan Sheffield

Sheffield_300The Center welcomes new faculty member Nathan Sheffield, PhD, who joined UVa this summer as Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Molecular Medicine, Austrian Academy of Sciences, in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Sheffield earned his PhD in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Duke University. His current projects primarily focus on epigenomics and gene regulation in cancer and in differentiation. See the Sheffield Lab website for information about his research interests.




Mete Civelek joins the Center

portrait_civelek.mete_2015-09_webMete Civelek, PhD joined UVa this summer as Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and the newest resident faculty member of the Center. He was previously at the University of California, Los Angeles where he was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Jake Lusis.

Dr. Civelek’s research seeks to understand how the genetic factors associated with metabolic syndrome traits and atherosclerosis perturb molecular pathways to increase susceptibility to disease. He applies a systems genetics approach using a range of experimental and computational methods to quantitate and integrate intermediate phenotypes in human and mouse populations. He plans to collaborate with other research groups in an effort to tackle significant problems in cardiovascular pathology, with the expectation that the knowledge gained will ultimately lead to a better understanding of the genetic architecture of these diseases and new avenues for therapeutic development.


McConnell to use cutting-edge sequencing technique to research causes of schizophrenia

Assistant Professor Mike McConnell of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and affiliate faculty member of the Center, will be working as part of a research team whose aim is to identify the genetic causes of schizophrenia. While some of his collaborators from other institutions will use bulk sequencing, Dr. McConnell will use single-cell genome sequencing to examine samples of donated brains from two groups – people who had schizophrenia and a control group who did not. This research, which was reported in the May 6th issue of UVa Today, is funded with a five-year grant by the National Institute of Mental Health.