New Research Studies

Additional Research Studies

Coronary Heart Disease

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries being the primary cause. The tragedy is that for many victims a heart attack, and often sudden death, will be the first indication they had coronary artery disease.

But now, in an effort to detect and prevent this deadly condition, researchers at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) are looking into the genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease with funding from the National Institutes of Health.

The $3.7 million, five-year study will be headed up by Hussman researchers Gary Beecham, Ph.D., and David Seo, M.D. Their goal is simple: to determine which genes determine risk for the disease, especially combined with traditional risk factors like high cholesterol and smoking. The hope is to ultimately develop tests to identify patients who have no clinical symptoms of coronary disease, but are at high risk for having severe disease.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is actually two chronic diseases that cause inflammation of the intestines: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the large intestine, or colon, in which the inner lining of the intestine becomes inflamed and develops ulcers. Crohn’s disease, which can affect parts of the large and small intestines as well as the digestive tract, causes inflammation that extends much deeper into the layers of the intestinal wall and generally damages the entire bowel wall.

Researchers at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) are currently involved in efforts geared towards expanding and refining our understanding of the genetic risk factors involved in inflammatory bowel disease. The research, led by Jacob L. McCauley, Ph.D., director of the HIHG’s Biorepository; and Maria T. Abreu, M.D. chief of gastroenterology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, includes a number of experiments and analyses to understand the role genetic variation plays in the different aspects of IBD.

Once we have a better understanding of the role genetics play in IBD, physicians will be able to implement a personalized medicine program to defeat the disease. The goal is to transform the traditional “one-size-fits-all” model of medicine by applying individual gene-based information to better manage a patient’s disease and to modify strategies for the prevention and treatment.

The Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH) Study

The HIHG Biorepository serves as the central biorepository for the multi-center NIH application entitled “Ethnic/Racial Variations of Intracerebral Hemorrhage (ERICH)” initiated by Dr. Daniel Woo at the University of Cincinnati. This project will be collecting 1,000 cases of ICH among whites, blacks and Hispanics (3,000 total) and 3,000 demographically matched controls with the long-term goal of performing a genome-wide association study for ICH among blacks and Hispanics. The HIHG Biorepository has created standardized blood collection kits with mailing packets to delivery and receive samples from each of the 14 centers representing 42 different recruitment sites. The Biorepository is responsible for all sample processing (includes DNA extraction), storage, tracking, and allocation for all future work by this collaborative group.