Genetic Epidemiology is the study of genetic factors that independently or in combination with environmental factors influences the risk of disease. Genetic epidemiology uses a variety of study designs including family and population approaches to investigate disease risk. Departmental faculty use the methods of genetic epidemiology to investigate genetic susceptibility and gene-environment interaction in relation to cancer, cardiovascular disease, reproductive and pediatric disease, and other health conditions.

Core Faculty

Dr. Christy Avery: Genetic variants associated with complex diseases; Adverse drug reactions; Genome-wide association studies.

Dr. Jeannette Bensen: Breast cancer susceptibility; Racial differences in prostate cancer; Birth defects etiology and prevention; Cancer survivors.

Dr. Kimon Divaris: Genetics of oral and dental traits; dental caries; periodontal disease; gene-environment interactions; genome-wide association studies; gene-centric and pathway analyses; trans-ethnic studies; health disparities; qualitative studies

Dr. Nora Franceschini: Genetics of chronic kidney disease and blood pressure in diverse populations.

Dr. Misa Graff: Genetic variants associated with complex diseases.

Dr. Kari North: Genetic epidemiology of complex traits and obesity; research that takes place at the intersection of human genetics, epidemiology, statistical techniques and interdisciplinary translational research.

Dr. Til Stürmer: Adverse drug reactions; Genome-wide association studies.

Dr. Eric Whitzel: Adverse drug reactions; Genome-wide association studies.

Dr.Kristin Young: Genetic variants associated with complex diseases.

Affiliated genetic epidemiology faculty are involved in a number of diverse research projects, a number of which are listed below. Other genetic and molecular epidemiology projects can be found in faculty and program research profiles.

Selected Research Projects

Analytic laboratory for development of biomarkers of environmental exposure to arsenic

Carolina Breast Cancer Study

Comprehensive Mapping of a Blood Pressure QTL on Chromosome 17

Dietary Fiber, Gut Microflora, & Epigenetic Events that Prevent Colorectal Cancer

Environmental arsenic and diabetes mellitus

Gene Modifiers in CF Liver Disease

Gene-Environment Interactions and Weight Gain

Genes Environment and Melanoma Study

Genetic and Environmental Determinants of Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk across the Lifecourse: The Santiago Longitudinal Cohort Study

Genetic Epidemiology of Metabolic Diseases of Obesity

Genome Wide Association Study of Breast Cancer in African Americans

Genome-Wide Association for Loci Influencing CVD and Other Heart, Lung and Blood Phenotypes

Genome-Wide Association Study of Early Childhood Caries

Health Care Access and Prostate Cancer Treatment in North Carolina: HCaP-NC

Hispanic Community Health Study


Innovative Analysis of Blood Pressure Variation in Gene-Environment Context

NHGRI Genome Sequencing Program Coordinating Center

North Carolina Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention

Pharmacogenomics of risk factors for cardiac arrhythmias in global populations

Population Architecture Using Genomics and Epidemiology (PAGE) Phase II – Study Investigators CALiCo II

Prospective meta-analysis of drug-gene interactions: CHARGE GWAS consortium

Prostate Cancer Susceptibility: The ICPCG Study

QTL mapping for genes regulating apoptosis capacity

Racial Differences in Prostate Cancer: Influence of Health Care and Host and Tumor Biology (PCaP)

Strong Heart Family Study

The Human Life Course and the Biodemography of Aging

UNC Health Registry

Women’s’ Health Initiative SHARE GWAS Analysis Center


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