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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 here

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.

Recent News

10.2022: Our lab is well represented in the 2022 American Society of Human Genetics meeting here at LA! This includes 6 posters, which are all available online for anyone interested (see this tweet, this tweet, and this tweet, for pictures and links to posters), and culminated in a platform talk by Soyoung Jeon on her work identifying a Latino-specific variant associated with childhood leukemia that may exhibit signature of positive selection!

8.2022: Our lab has been awarded a R01 grant from NIH/NHGRI (R01HG011646), where we will leverage the evolutionary history to improve trait mapping studies and risk stratification models for Native Hawaiians and other Polynesian-anecstry populations! Any motivated and interested postdocs and students please reach out!

6.2022: A number of our lab members are undertaking internships this summer! Jordan Cahoon is a Cloud Infrastructure Software Engineering intern with Oracle. Echo Tang is a Clinical Operations intern with Arthrosi Therapeutics. Soyoung Jeon is a Translational Research intern in the Therapeutics team at 23andMe. Here's hope for a safe and productive summer!

5.2022: Earlier this semester, Camellia Rui successfully completed her M.S. in Biostatistics thesis titled "A Global View of Disparity in Imputation Resources for Conducting Genetic Studies in Diverse Populations." She graduated this Spring term and will be starting in the Biostatistics Ph.D. program at USC this Fall working with Nick Mancuso and Steven Gazal.

4.2022: Caoqi Fan's first author paper, a genealogical estimate of genetic relationships is now published online at American Journal of Human Genetics! The reviewers loved the paper, calling it "a very important contribution highlighting the power of ARG-based inference for detecting population structure." Congrats Caoqi! You can download a copy of the paper for free using this link (until 6/1/2022), and a tl;dr twitter thread here.

3.2022: Dorcus Kholofelo Malomane has joined our group as a postdoctoral fellow. Dorcus obtained her Ph.D. from University of Goettingen, Germany, working on the population and evolutionary genomics of global chicken populations. She will move into human genetics starting with examining the population structure and patterns of genetic variation in Saudi Arabian populations in collaboration with the Mangul Lab. Welcome Dorcus!

2.2022: We have posted a new preprint demonstrating an error that can occur when imputing variants found within regions that are inverted between genome builds. We also provided a simple tool that can identify variants susceptible to this error from plink files.

12.2021: Caoqi Fan successfully defended his qualifying exam proposal and has now officially advanced to candidacy. Congrats Caoqi!

11.2021: Soyoung Jeon's first author paper, a GWAS for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) across multiple populations, is now published in Leukemia! The paper also received contributions from Minhui Chen and Tsz Fung Chan from our lab. Congrats Soyoung!

10.2021: Caoqi Fan presented his project on the new genealogy-based statistic for genetic relatedness as a lightning talk in the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) 2021 virtual meeting. You can find his talk here. This same project also received a Reviewer's Choice Award and was as a Poster Talk in American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 2021 virtual meeting. Congrats Caoqi!

10.2021: Charleston Chiang was invited to give a talk in the session on Heterogeneity and Cancer Determinants within the Asian and Pacific Islander Diaspora at the 2021 AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

9.2021: Jalen Langie has joined our group for her dissertation research in Epidemiology (genetics track). She will bring her experience from immunology to investigate the genetics and evolution of childhood leukemia. Welcome Jalen!

9.2021: Camellia Rui won the 2021 Provost Fellowship to continue conducting her research in the lab. This school year she will also complete her M.S. degreein Biostatistics. She will be applying to PhD programs this Fall for studies in genetics, biostatistics, and computational biology, so be on the look out, folks!

8.2021: Bryan Dinh has been awarded a F31 predoctoral fellowship from NIH/NHGRI (F31HG012159)! This fellowship will focus on generating genomic resources and references for the genetic investigation of an understudied population, Native Hawaiians. Congrats Bryan!

8.2021: Caoqi Fan has published a new preprint introducing a new genealogy-based statistic for genetic relatedness. We showed this genetic relationship matrix to be able to better delineate recent and fine-scale structure, and would be flexible to detect structure varying across time. This novel approach will have significant implications for all statistical applications utilizing the genetic relationship matrix! Link to the github for software release can be found through our Research page. Any question or comment are welcomed!

8.2021: The Chiang Lab has been awarded the R35 MIRA grant from NIH/NIGMS for early stage investigator (R35GM142783)! We will be looking for interested postdocs and students. Please see "Join.Us" tab for details and reach out to Charleston Chiang if you'd like to join us!


Read our older news here.

Research

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.

Teaching

Courses

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

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
NRT-G511D
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.

T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship: We currently have one opening for a postdoctoral fellow in genetic epidemiology. Applicants ideally should have extensive exposure and experience in human medical and/or population genetics research and have analyzed large genetic datasets. Programming skills (e.g. python, perl, C, R, etc.) and proficiency in Unix-based computing environments are very desirable. The position is funded for 2 years with possibility to extend for a 3rd year. Successful candidates may also develop projects broadly within the scope of the group's research interests using the Multiethnic Cohort, which consists of genotyping and sequencing data on up to 70K individuals from African American, Latino American, Japanese American, European American, and Native Hawaiian individuals.

More information can be found here. Informal inquiries should reach out to Charleston Chiang with a copy of CV.

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.

Contact

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