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Samir Kelada, PhD, MPH

Associate Professor, Genetics

Research Interests

Key words: gene-environment interactions in asthma, systems genetics, regulation of gene expression

I share the view of many of my UNC Genetics colleagues that most complex disease is the result of a myriad of interactions between genes and environment. My research is focused on the identification of gene-environment interaction (GEI) in allergic asthma, a disorder of major public health importance. In many ways, allergic asthma represents an ideal case study of GEI, because while airway exposure to allergen (environment) is necessary, not all exposed individuals develop asthma (genetics). Family-based linkage studies have shown that this variable response to allergens is partly heritable. Thus, the interaction between genetic variation and environmental exposure is likely to underlie the complex etiology of asthma.

Undoubtedly this complexity presents big research challenges. One has to employ an appropriate combination of reductionist (e.g. in vitro or in vivo models) and integrative, systems-level approaches to gain deeper understanding of the underlying biology. Likewise, one has to work with investigators in other fields (e.g. pulmonary medicine, environmental health, and epidemiology) to translate findings from laboratory models to humans. The goal of my lab is to tackle the challenges surrounding GEI in asthma by employing new genomic approaches. Our lab is fortunate to be a part of the new UNC Cystic Fibrosis and Pulmonary Disease Center, an assembly of investigators whose aim it is to understand the underlying causes Cystic Fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma. We are working collaboratively on several projects to make headway on these important diseases.

Mentor Training:

  • Bias 101
  • Culturally Aware Mentoring
  • Faculty Mentoring Workshop for Biomedical Researchers


PubMed Link

Samir Kelada in UNC Genetics News

Samir Kelada, PhD, MPH