Using our understanding of human evolution and social experience to build a better understanding of human disease.
NORTHERN CAPE TUBERCULOSIS RESEARCH PROJECT
The ultimate goal of the NCTB project is to determine why some people infected with TB can live their entire lives latent with no issues, while others progress to active infection requiring months of antibiotic treatment. For this project we are collecting a genetically diverse case-control cohort in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, where latent TB infection is extremely high (>80% of residents). The first paper from this project, led by my team is currently available on medRxiv. For more information on this project, please visit https://nctb.ucdavis.edu
TEXAS RURAL HEALTH AND HERITAGE PROJECT
In this project, we combine epidemiology with human biology and epigenomics in a biocultural framework to better understand the health impacts of structural violence and multigenerational poverty in the rural US. The study centers on Texas tenant farmers and their descendants who raised crops on land owned by someone else for a share of the harvest. Because farming is simultaneously a social and environmental practice, structural violence on farmlands represents a set of environmental and social exposures that disproportionately impact health outcomes along both class and racial lines - with poor rural peoples being disproportionately affected. In this study, we are evaluating the metabolic, hormonal, immunological, and genomic consequences of tenant farming in central Texas with the goal of understanding how these exploitative labor practices contribute to health disparities among the descendants of tenant farmers today. For more information please visit our website.
GENOMICS OF RARE DISEASE
A growing area of interest in the lab involves using multi-omics technologies to make better diagnostics for rare genetic disorders. Right now we are focused on two conditions: pernicious anemia and Kabuki syndrome. Our efforts combine traditional GWAS approaches with emerging epigenomic technologies and detailed clinical phenotyping to elucidate the underlying mechanisms influencing variation within these diseases and to provide better genomic diagnostics, where standard biochemical approaches prove challenging.