Misa Graff, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology


Dr. Graff's research interests focus on the genetics of obesity and cardiovascular disease risk traits, with an overarching goal of integrating understanding of both genetic and environmental risk factors for disease, particularly among minority populations.

Obesity and cardiovascular disease are conditions of great public health significance that affects a growing number of children and adults worldwide. Gaining a greater understanding of the genes underlying these conditions can help inform future preventative pathways and medical procedures to reduce morbidity.

Some of the specific projects Dr. Graff works on include: genetic epidemiology of weight gain across adolescence into young adulthood; gene-environment interactions across multiple large cohorts, genetic architecture of adiposity in African and Hispanic individuals; and examination of genetic effects influencing cardiovascular disease risk traits and diseases burdening minority populations.

Misa Graf in the Gillings News

Honors and Awards

Tiger New Investigator Award
2014, CHARGE Consortium (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology)

New Investigator Travel Award
2014, American Heart Association (Epidemiology/Nutrition), Physical Activity and Metabolism Conference

CVD Epidemiology Fellowship
2012-2013, University of North Carolina

Postdoctoral Fellowship
2009-2013, Carolina Population Center

Interdisciplinary Obesity Postdoctoral Training Fellowship

Research Activities

- Genetic epidemiology
- Cardiovascular disease
- Gene-environment interactions
- Health disparities

Service Activities

- Member, The Obesity Society
- Member, American Heart Association
- Member, American Society for Human Genetics

Key Publications

Exploring the role of rare and low-frequency coding variants in adult height using an ExomeChip. E Marouli*, M Graff*, C Medina-Gomez*, K Sin Lo*, A Wood,..Z Kutalik, JN Hirschhorn, R JF Loos, TM Frayling, Fernando Rivadeneira, P Deloukas, G Lettre, For the BBMRI, the GOT2D, the CHARGE, and the GIANT Consortia.  Nature, October(2016).

The interaction between physical activity and obesity gene variants in association with BMI: Does the obesogenic environment matter? Graff M, Richardson AS, North KE, Young KL, Liu, A, Mohlke KL, Lange LA, Lange EM, Harris KM Gordon-Larsen P.  (2016). Health and Place.

Fine-mapping of lipid regions in global populations discovers racial/ethnic-specific signals and refines previously identified lipid loci. Zubair N*, Graff M*, JL Ambite, WS Bush, G Kichaev, Y Lu, A Manichaikul, Kooperberg C, Carty C  (2016). Human Molecular Genetics.