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.
11.2018: Our preprint on identifying rare variant associations to 64 cardiometabolic quantitative traits using whole exome sequencing data from 20,000 Finns is now on bioRxiv!
10.2018: Charleston was interviewed by the New York Times for a new genetic study using NIPT data from > 141,000 Chinese women. The new paper confirmed many of the signals we had observed in our MBE paper published earlier this summer, but also included interesting virome work and many more Chinese ethnic minorities.
10.2018: For the second time since 2015, our work on the genetics of Sardinians made the cover of Nature Genetics!
8.2018: Our manuscript on population structure, admixture history, and signals of adaptation of Han Chinese is published online at Mol. Biol. Evol.!
8.2018: As we start the new semester, we are also welcoming new members to the lab! Postdoctoral fellow, Meng (Lemon) Lin, has joined the lab, along with students Hanxiao Sun (M.S. student, Biostatistics) and Soyoung (Elizabeth) Jeon (Ph.D. student, PIBBS, co-advised with Joe Wiemels). Welcome Meng, Hanxiao, and Soyoung!
7.2018: Charleston gave a talk on the population structure and admixture history of Han Chinese in the 2018 Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) meeting at Yokohama, Japan.
5.2018: Postdoctoral fellow, Minhui Chen, has joined the lab! Welcome Minhui!
4.2018: Charleston organized a symposium on Human Adaptation and Evolution at 1st AsiaEvo meeting in Shen Zhen, China. He also visited Taiwan Biobank, gave talk at the Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Academia Sinica, Taiwan, and Chinese Academy of Science and Max Planck Partnered Institute of Computational Biology in Shanghai, China.
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.
Charleston Chiang is the principal investigator of the group. He is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine. He is broadly interested in using genetic approaches to understand how natural selection and demographic history shaped the variations in complex traits within and between diverse human populations
Previously, he was an NRSA postdoctoral fellow with Nelson Freimer and John Novembre at UCLA. Charleston received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Harvard University where he worked with Joel Hirschhorn
Minhui Chen is a postdoctoral scholar in the group. His research utilizes genomic data to study the evolutionary and demographic processes that shaped the genetic architecture of complex traits in Finland. He is interested in population genetics and statistical methodologies. Before joining the group, Minhui received his Ph.D. from China Agricultural University and Aarhus University in Denmark, working on selective sweeps, population admixture and adaptive introgression in domesticated animals.
Meng (Lemon) Lin is a postdoctoral scholar in the group. She is interested in characterizing the genetic architecture of human complex traits. She is particularly interested in understanding component of architecture due to the non-additive or rare variations, and the interactions of evolutionary histories of diverse population and pattern of variation. Before joining the group, she received her PhD from SUNY Stony Brook, where her work focused on the genetic landscape and evolution of skin pigmentation and height of the indigenous and admixed southern African population. Motivated by her former training, she is extending her interest to investigate the demographic history and population structure of Native Hawaiians, and how these insights can be leveraged for trait mapping empirically. She is also investigating the dominance components behind various clinical and anthropometric traits in a large Finnish cohort.
Soyoung (Elizabeth) Jeon is a Ph.D student in the group (co-advised by Dr. Joe Wiemels). She is pursuing her Ph.D. in the Cancer Biology and Genomics track through PIBBS at Keck School of Medicine. Her project investigates the correlation between ancestry and the risk of Childhood Leukemia in a number of multiethnic U.S. cohorts. She is interested in understanding how human population history contributes to variations in susceptibility to disease and response to therapy. Before joining the group, she received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology, with Medical Biology and Physiology track from University of California, Berkeley in 2017.
Hanxiao Sun is a Master student in the group. She is pursuing her M.S. degree in the Biostatistics program at USC Keck School of Medicine. Currently, she is conducting admixture mapping of metabolic traits in a Native Hawaiian cohort, and evaluating local ancestry deconvolution approaches in this recently admixed population. Before joining the group, she receievd her Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences from College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang Unviersity in 2017.
We are always interested in talented and highly motivated individuals to join our team!
Postdoctoral Fellows: 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.
Graduate Students: The research group is recruiting prospective PhD students. Generally, doctoral students are enrolled through PIBBS or one of the Public Health Sciences programs (such as Biostatistics or Epidemiology) at USC. Email Charleston Chiang for inquiries.
Image credit: "Unknown" by Bybzee / CC BY
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
1450 Biggy Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
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