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PhD Program Concentration:

 Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics

Students enrolled in the Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics Concentration will learn to design and conduct epidemiological studies investigating the genetic and environmental influences on disease. Genetic epidemiology combines genetics, epidemiology, and biostatistics. Bioinformatics involves the use of sophisticated statistical and data mining tools to analyze genomic, epigenomic, and proteomic data.

Special study designs and statistical methods are required to explore genetic influences in epidemiologic studies, and this field continues to evolve as molecular and computational technology evolves. Furthermore, studies have moved beyond associations strictly between trait and DNA sequence, and now incorporate gene-environment interaction, RNA/gene expression, copy number variants, epigenetics, and proteomics. Thus, today’s genetic epidemiologists must be able to take multidisciplinary approaches to the evaluation of genetics in disease pathogenesis.

Researchers in many diverse areas are interested in incorporating genetics into their studies of disease pathogenesis, so this field is in demand. Currently the field is moving towards the development of predictive models incorporating genetic polymorphisms, so this field is central to translational and personalized medicine. After finishing training in this area, students may become collaborators with other basic and clinical scientists who are interested in examining genetic effects on their respective phenotypes, may become methodologists and develop new statistical/bioinformatic approaches appropriate for obtaining genetic information, or may lead their own research related to the genetics of specific complex traits.

Required Courses (9 credits):

EPBI 451: Principles of Genetic Epidemiology

EPBI 452: Statistical analysis in Genetic Epidemiology

EPBI 457: Current Study Design Issues in Genetic Epidemiology

Electives (min of 9 credits):

EPBI 472: Special topics in genetic epidemiology

EECS 359: Bioinformatics in Practice

EECS 458: Introduction to Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

GENE 508: Bioinformatics and computational genomics

EPBI 481: Theoretical statistics I

EPBI 482: Theoretical statistics II

EPBI 454: Population Genetics

Concentration Faculty


Primary Faculty

Areas of Interest

Robert Elston, Ph.D.

Statistical genetics, both theory and application

Jinbo Fan, Ph.D.

Genetic susceptibility to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depression, and pharmacogenomics of mental illness

Rob Igo, Ph.D.

Genetic susceptibility to eye disorders, diabetic nephropathy, abdominal aortic aneurysm, dyslexia and other complex diseases. MCMC methods for segregation and linkage analysis. Haplotype clustering in haplotype-based association analysis.

Sudha Iyengar, Ph.D.

Genetic susceptibility to eye disorders, diabetic nephropathy, speech sound disorder; also interested in studies implementing emerging genetic technologies.

Nora Nock, Ph.D.

Genetic, environmental and behavioral influences to obesity and various cancers; multivariate pathway-level modeling methods that integrate genetic, molecular and behavioral data including structural equation modeling

Nathan Morris, Ph.D.

Development of new statistical methods for genetic epidemiology

Cathy Stein, Ph.D.

Genetic susceptibility to tuberculosis, other infectious diseases, and speech sound disorder; SEM for genetics

Xiaofeng Zhu, Ph.D.

Genetic mapping studies of hypertension, obesity, statistical methods for association studies, population stratification, admixture mapping

Secondary Faculty

Areas of Interest

Jill Barnholtz-Sloan, Ph.D.

Genetic susceptibility to cancer; Genomic profiling of cancer; Association between genomic profiles and cancer clinical outcomes

Jing Li, Ph.D.

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology,

Statistical genomics

Shuying Sun, Ph.D.

Bioinformatics and statistical genetics

Cheryl Thompson, Ph.D.

Cancer genetic and molecular epidemiology; microRNAs in cancer susceptibility and prognosis as well as for the early detection of cancer.




Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44106-4945

Last Updated (Monday, 23 June 2014 15:08)