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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 Preventive Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine.

Recent News

5.2020: We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow through the Taiwan-USC Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Please see their website for eligibility and application process. If you are interested, contact Charleston to discuss about submitting an application.

5.2020: A preprint co-led by Hanxiao and Meng are posted on bioRxiv. This was the bulk of Hanxiao's M.S. thesis, where we investigated the impact of genetic ancestry on risk of complex traits in Native Hawaiians. It is important to note that while we estimated genetic ancestry, these estimates are not without errors at the individual levels, and are correlated with non-genetic factors such as culture, life-style, etc. So please see these tweets to interpret the results with caution!

5.2020: Caoqi presented a poster at Biology of Genomes (virtual) conference on his project a genealogical estimate of genetic relationships. Despite the challenges of not being able to see each other face to face, there were still good discussion!

4-5.2020: To keep the Center of Genetic Epidemiology cohesive during COVID-19, we are organizing a virtual seminar series via zoom with an amazing line-up of speakers from statistical, medical, and population geneticists. Please contact Charleston if you're interested to listen in.

2.2020: The ancient DNA paper from Sardinia that we are a part of and build on top of our previous 2018 paper in Nature Genetics is now published in Nature Communications!

1.2020: Charleston was invited to give a seminar at Department of Genetics, University of Georgia in Athens, GA. It is a department strong in evolutionary biology and filled with exciting research from its faculty and students!

1.2020: Sydney Rashid, an undergraduate student from Quantitative Biology has joined our group as a research assistant! Welcome Sydney!

10-11.2019: Minhui gave a short talk at Bay Area Population Genetics meeting (BAPG XVIII) on his preprint on polygenic adaptation and height. Meng also presented a poster on her preprint about CREBRF locus in Native Hawai'ians at ASHG 2019 in Houston!

10.2019: A pair of preprints from the lab is posted on bioRxiv! These are the first two research papers from the group. One led by Minhui on polygenic adaptation of height associated loci in Europe and Sardinia, the other led by Meng on the CREBRF locus in Native Hawai'ians in the Multiethnic Cohort. Feel free to get in contact if you have any comments or questions!

9.2019: As we start the new semester, the lab is also growing! This term we welcome three new members joining the lab: Caoqi (Ephraim) Fan (PhD student, CBB), Tsz Fung Chan (PhD student, Epidemiology, co-advised with Nick Mancuso), and Sam Sommerer (Undergraduate student, Quantitative Biology). Welcome Caoqi, Tsz Fung, and Sam!

9.2019: Charleston was invited to give a seminar at International Laboratory for Human Genome Research (LIIGH) in Queretaro, Mexico. It was an enjoyable visit to see an up and coming institute with a core of young and energetic faculty!

8.2019: Our manuscript on leveraging Finnish population history to improve power of rare variant association and to detect novel associations to quantitative cardiometabolic traits is published in Nature! This paper really exemplifies the utility to leverage populations of special population history in human medical genetics, which is the central theme of our research group moving forward!

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.

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
Los Angeles, CA 90033


Guest Lectures

BISC577: Computational Biology Laboratory
"Genetics and Evolution": slides (2019.12.03)
(This is a huge slide deck! 130+ slides, ~25Mb)

Join Us

Postdoctoral Fellows through USC-Taiwan Postdoctoral Scholar Program: Candidates are eligible if they received their Ph.D. no earlier than July 16, 2017 and no later than July 15, 2020. The degree must come from a Taiwanese institution, but Taiwanese nationals who have received degrees elsewhere are also eligible. The salary for postdoctoral fellow is $68,000 per year minus the cost of the benefits package. Fellow is expected to reside in the Los Angeles area during the academic year. More information on the program can be found here. Online application is here. Application deadline is July 15, 2020.

Informal inquiries should be emailed to Charleston Chiang, particularly if you would like to work together to develop a proposal for the application. An ideal candidate should have a recent Ph.D. in biology, genetics, computer science, bioinformatics, computational biology, or a related field. Proficiency in one or more programming languages (e.g. python, perl, C++, R, etc.) and in Unix-based computing environments is essential. Competitive applicants will also have extensive experience in conducting human genetics research and in analyzing large genetic datasets. Applicants can develop projects within the scope of the ongoing efforts in the research group, and will have a chance to work on projected related to the ongoing collaboration with Taiwanese Biobank

Postdoctoral Fellows: We currently have one opening for a postdoctoral fellow in genetic epidemiology and population genetics. Highly motivated individuals are encouraged to contact Charleston Chiang for inquiries. 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. Successful candidates may also develop projects broadly within the scope of the group's research interests.

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


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