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About Us

Welcome to our Research Group's webpage!

We are a group of human geneticists and computational biologists. We utilize cutting-edge analytic tools to address questions at the intersection of human medical and population genetics. These insights will be critical for future medical genetics studies and in practicing personalized medicine.

For new and current members of the group, please check out Lab Expectations and Resources and the Lab Activities for what we have been up to outside of doing rigorous research!

Recent News

9.2023: New members joining the lab! While dear old friends left the lab over the summer, we also have multiple new members joining the lab. These include Xinran Wang, who is taking a year focusing on research before applying for Ph.D. this fall, joins us as a Program Analyst; He Tian, a second year Epidemiology PhD student joining the lab after completing her screening exam; and Ji Tang, a new postdoc interested in developing machine learning methods to address population genetic questions. Welcome Xinran, He, and Ji!

8.2023: Charleston Chiang gave a talk on the "Imputation around the World" project at the International Society of Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (ISEMPH) annual meeting in Irvine, CA.

7.2023: Bryan Dinh's first author paper is released on bioRxiv! In this study we investigated the recombination landscapes of Native Hawaiians and Polynesian-ancestry individuals, and evaluated the impact of a population-specific recombination map for downstream genetic analyses. The maps are released on github and a tweetorial can be found here! Congrats Bryan!

7.6.2023: Caoqi Fan successfully defended his PhD dissertation titled "Beyond Genotypes: Genealogy-Based Inference of Population Structure and Demographic History." Congrats Dr. Fan!

6.2023: Soyoung Jeon's second chapter of her dissertation, evaluating the efficacy of genomic polygenic risk scores for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Latino children, is now on medRxiv! Congrats Soyoung!

6.2023: Charleston Chiang is appointed the Associate Director for Center for Genetic Epidemiology!

5.2023: Jordan Cahoon's first author paper (as a 3rd year undergrad!) on investigating the imputation efficacy of TOPMed reference panel across global populations is now on bioRxiv! We found persistent under-performance in certain areas of the world that is not represented in the reference panel. This is a true team effort with contributions from Camellia Rui, Echo Tang, and Chris Simons (all were undergrads when they started on the project), as well as from Jalen Langie, Ying-Chu Lo, and Minhui Chen. Please check out Jordan's tweetorial and let us know if you have any feedback!

5.2023: Our lab is very well represented at the Southern California Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics (SCalE) meeting this year! Jordan Cahoon started with a talk on Imputation efficacy across global human populations, and later Bryan Dinh introduced his abstract on characterizing the recombination landscape in Native Hawaiian through a LD-based recombination map!

4.2023: Tsz Fung Chan's first author paper also dropped on bioRxiv. Co-advised by Nick Mancuso, in this study Tsz Fung described his method HAMSTA that can robustly estimate heritability attributed to local ancestry and used his framework to detect confounding due to fine-scale structure in ancestral populations and to estimate an appropriate significance threshold for admixture mapping. Congrats Tsz Fung! A tweetorial can be found here

4.2023: A new preprint, led by Vivian Link from Doc Edge's group, was posted! In this study we leveraged Caoqi Fan's eGRM method to compute local eGRM and devised an approach to perform genetic mapping, more "directly" on the genealogical trees. With Bryan Dinh's help we demonstrated that this method could detect the CREBRF locus in Native Hawaiian samples that were previously unattainable without direct genotyping! Congrats everyone! A short tweetorial here

4.2023: Jalen Langie has been awarded a F31 predoctoral fellowship from NIH/NCI (F31CA278359)! This fellowship will focus on exploring the impact of genetic ancestry on acute lymphoblastic leukemia risk in Latino populations. Congrats Jalen!

3.2023: Jordan Cahoon was one of only ~400 students nation-wide to win the Barry Goldwater Scholarship! Congrats Jordan for this amazing accomplishment!

2.2023: Jalen Langie presented her project of admixture mapping in a Latino cohort to identify loci associated with childhood leukemia as a poster in the Quantitative Genetics and Genomics Gordon Research Conference! You can find the PDF of the poster here. Any questions or comments are welcomed!

1.13.2023: The first PhD student from our group, Soyoung Jeon, successfully defended her PhD dissertation titled "Understanding Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in different ethnic groups in the United States." Congrats Dr. Jeon!

1.2023: The triple-liftOver manuscript was highlighted in this month's HGG Advances with a short interview. It is amazing this paper materialized from a tenacious deep dive into a QC anomaly, which could easily have been ignored.

Read our older news here.


The overarching theme of our research group is to use genetic approaches to understand how evolutionary forces shaped the genetic architecture of complex traits within and between populations. To this end, we have been involved in a number of past and ongoing medical genetics studies in mapping genetic loci underlying human complex traits. We are also continually interested in investigating the evolutionary forces, namely demography and selection, that shaped the pattern of genetic variability and phenotypic distribution. We are particularly interested in diverse, global human populations and our successes result from collaborating with innovative colleagues and thriving in resourceful consortiums. Read a more detailed description of our work here.



PM534: Statistical Genetics (Fall 2021, 2022)
Introduction to Medical Population Genetics
syllabus (Fall 2021)

Guest Lectures

BISC577: Computational Biology Laboratory (Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021)
"Genetics and Evolution": slides (2020.09.15)
(This is a huge slide deck! ~17Mb)

Contact Us

We are part of the Center for Genetic Epidemiology, in the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences at USC Keck School of Medicine, and jointly affiliated with the Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

Charleston can be reached via email at:
charleston [dot] chiang [at] med [dot] usc [dot] edu

We are located in the Harlyne J. Norris Research Tower (NRT) on the Health Science Campus at USC

Mailing Address:
1450 Biggy Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Join Us

Postdoctoral Fellows: We are always looking for talented and motivated individuals to join our group! Interested individuals are encouraged to contact Charleston Chiang for inquiries. There are multiple ways a postdoctoral fellow can be funded, through NIH grants in the lab, collaborative funds, or unrestricted funds. This means you have the stability as well as the flexibility to explore topics broadly of interest to the lab. Positions are generally for at least 2 years, with salary commensurate with experience and adjusted for cost of living in LA (definitely higher than NIH scale!). Applicants ideally should have extensive exposure and experience in human medical and/or population genetics research and have analyzed large genetic datasets. Programming skills (in at least one of, e.g., python, perl, C, R, etc.) and proficiency in Unix-based computing environments are very desirable. Successful candidates may also develop projects broadly within the scope of the group's research interests.

Inquiries or applications (cover letter, CV, and contact information to at least two references) should be emailed to Charleston Chiang.

Graduate Students:We are open to accepting doctoral and master students. Generally, doctoral students are enrolled through Program in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS), Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (CBB), or one of the Public Health Sciences programs (such as Biostatistics or Epidemiology) at USC. Email Charleston Chiang for inquiries.


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