EDGE Genomics Instructors – summer 2022
Assistant Professor – Department of Nutrition and Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Carroll is a microbiologist from Dublin, Ireland whose research examines how intestinal microbial communities may influence or respond to several human disease states. Dr. Carroll’s laboratory uses molecular techniques to characterize the intestinal microbiota in both human and mouse models of nutritional-based diseases. Their investigations ultimately will contribute to understanding host-microbe interactions, where the knowledge gained can be applied to enhance health and reduce illness.
Associate Professor – Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Ferris earned a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Rochester (NY) and a PhD in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill. His research program has focused on how host genetics contributes to susceptibility and/or resistance to infectious diseases and allergies. In the Ferris lab, they use genetically diverse mouse strains to better understand the role of genetic variation in immune responses to a variety of insults. They then study thee variants mechanistically. They also develop genetic and genomic datasets and resources to better identify genetic features associated with these immunological differences.
Professor and Vice Chair of Comparative Medicine, Associate Vice Chancellor of Research, Director of the Division of Comparative Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Fletcher’s research focuses on veterinary pathology, animal models of disease, immunology, and vascular biology. Scholarly efforts are based on collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams utilizing animal models of human disease to investigate basic mechanisms as well as pre-clinical models of therapeutic interventions. His clinical interests include laboratory, exotic, and companion animal medicine, the regulations and policies governing the humane care and use of animals used in research and education, and in providing veterinary consultation to principal investigators in development of grant application utilizing vertebrate animals.
Genetic Counselor and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
In her clinical work at UNC, Kate Foreman provides genetics services in the cancer and adult general genetics clinics. She has an interest in pediatric genetics and is involved in the pediatric tumor board at UNC and is also a member of the UNC Retinoblastoma Team. She is also involved in the teaching and clinical supervision of genetic counseling graduate students. She gives 2-3 lectures a year to the students at her alma mater, University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Genetic Counselor and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Kim Foss is a practicing genetic counselor working with patients in the Cancer and Adult Genetics clinics as well as partnering with other specialty clinics to better serve the patients of UNC. Clinical supervision and teaching of genetic counseling graduate students is one of her special interests. She is certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and actively contributes to numerous clinical and translational research efforts.
Associate Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and Department of Genetics.
Dr. Heinzen received her doctoral degrees from UNC Chapel Hill. She has contributed to the discovery of 15 novel epilepsy genes, and the gene responsible for Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder. The Heinzen Lab focuses on the genetic and genomic basis of epilepsy disorders, including analyses of the role of germline mutations, somatic mutations, and how regulation of the cellular transcriptome influences the risk and presentation of seizures. The lab also studies the transcriptome in brain tissue of epilepsy patients to better understand how regulation at this level may cause or contribute to the presentation of epilepsy.
Assistant Professor, UNC Department of Pediatrics.
Dr. Elizabeth Jalazo joined the Department of Pediatrics on January 3, 2022. She received her BS in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill in 2005 and her medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2011. Dr. Jalazo completed her pediatric residency at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 2014 and a fellowship in Academic Pediatrics in 2015. In 2021, she completed her fellowship in Medical Genetics at UNC Chapel Hill.
Professor, Departments of Biology and Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
The goal of Dr. Jones’ research is to identify, clone, and characterize the evolution of genes underlying natural adaptations to determine the types of genes involved, how many and what types of genetic changes occurred, and the evolutionary history of these changes. In the Corbin Jones lab, they take an integrative and interdisciplinary approach to getting the answers they need. They use genetic analyses of complex adaptive traits, population-scale studies of nucleotide variation, and computational and experimental comparisons of genomic data to solve questions.
Genetic Counselor, Research Associate Professor, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Kristy Lee specializes in genetic counseling for patients and their families with bleeding disorders and the visually impaired. Her research interests involve examining the effectiveness and implementation of whole genome/exome analyzes and novel gene discovery for coagulopathies and retinal dystrophies. She currently specializes in general adult and cancer genetics, with a particular focus in retinal disorders and hereditary coagulopathies in adults and children.
Associate Professor, Departments of Biology and Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Research in McKay’s lab focuses on how a single genome gives rise to a variety of cell types and body parts during development. They use Drosophila as a model organism to investigate (1) how transcription factors access DNA to regulate complex patterns of gene expression, and (2) how post-translational modification of histones contributes to maintenance of gene expression programs over time. They combine a range of approaches, including genomics (CUT&RUN, ATAC-seq, RNA-seq), genetics (transgenesis, CRISPR), microscopy, and biochemistry to address both questions.
Professor and Associate Chair for Research, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
The Mohlke Lab conducts genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in human population studies
to identify genetic variants that confer disease susceptibility or influence variability in related traits. They employ molecular and cellular biology techniques such as CRISPR/Cas-based genome editing to identify the functional variant(s) and gene(s) at associated genetic loci, explain the molecular mechanisms linking functional variant(s) to gene(s), and characterize the biological mechanisms linking gene(s) to metabolic traits. They also study how genetic variants interact with environmental factors to influence the underlying biology of complex diseases and traits.
Clinical Associate Professor, Genetic Counselor, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Julianne O’Daniel is an experienced genetic counselor with more than 10 years dedicated to research and practice within the field of medical genomics. Her research focuses on the clinical application of whole-genome/exome sequencing which she has studied through social science methods, clinical/translational research, and commercial development. Exploring the challenges faced by cancer patients is a principal interest of hers.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Daniel co-Founded GeneSeek in 1998, the world’s largest non-human DNA analysis company, testing ~4 million agricultural and veterinary samples per year. He joined UNC in 2005 and before retiring from UNC in 2018, he had published close to 200 papers and book chapters primarily focusing on the genetic and genomic architecture of complex traits in animals and mouse models.
The Pomp lab identifies genes underlying predisposition to obesity, and studies how these genes interact with each other and with nutritional interventions.
Professor, Departments of Pediatric Genetics and Metabolism, and Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Powell is a pediatric geneticist with expertise in hearing loss, newborn genetic screenings, and rare diseases. Her research interests include (i) the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomics research as new technologies emerge and the field expands, (ii) improvement and implementation of advanced newborn screenings to identify rare diseases, and (iii) easing disease burden for patients and families with rare disease, including hearing loss, Angelman syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.
Professor, Departments of Genetics and School of Pharmacy-Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, Faculty Director – Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program, UNC Chapel Hill.
The research in Dr. Tarantino’s laboratory is focused on identification and characterization of genes that influence behavior. They study mouse models of addiction, anxiety, stress, and depression-like behaviors. The laboratory uses a number of forward genetic approaches, including the measurement of behavior in existing mouse populations, such as inbred mouse strains, newer mouse resources like the Collaborative Cross and spontaneous and ENU-induced mutants.
Assistant Professor, Department of Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
Dr. Thaxton is the Director of the ClinGen-affiliated UNC Biocuration and Coordination Core, with oversight of training, progress, and development of clinical domain working groups and expert panels within ClinGen. Her experience includes curating gene-disease relationships for cardiomyopathy, neurodevelopmental disorders (including ID/Autism and Epilepsy), monogenic diabetes, syndromic genes, and neuromuscular disorders. She has worked closely with patients and families afflicted with genetic disorders and has an interest in clinical molecular genetics.
Professor, School of Nursing and Carolina Center for Genome Sciences, UNC Chapel Hill.
The primary focus of Dr. Van Riper’s program of research is the family experience of being tested for and living with a genetic condition, with special emphasis on families of individuals with Down syndrome. Other conditions she has focused on include Sickle Cell Disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer, Huntington Disease, and Factor V Leiden.
Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics, UNC Chapel Hill.
A particular focus of the Zannas’ lab is how epigenetic changes contribute to stress-related somatic and behavioral phenotypes. We examine how lasting epigenetic patterns result from stressful experiences, accrue throughout life, and can in turn shape health or disease trajectories. While they employ a life course perspective, they are especially interested in the upper end of the age spectrum and the role of stress epigenetics in aging-related disease.