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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

4.2021: Our lab is represented at PROBGEN 2021 conference (Probabilistic Modeling in Genomics at CSHL) by Caoqi Fan, who is presenting his project on a novel estimator of genetic relationship matrix based on inferred genome-wide genealogical tree sequences (Abstract #80). Poster can also be accessed here.

4.2021: Ying-Chu Lo has joined our group as a postdoctoral fellow. Ying-Chu is funded by the USC-Taiwan postdoctoral fellowship, and will immediately jump into multiple ongoing projects in the lab. Welcome Ying-Chu!

2.2021: The paper on impact of genetic ancestry on risk of complex traits in Native Hawaiian is now published in PLoS Genetics! The paper is co-led by former M.S. student Hanxiao and former postdoc Meng Lin, with contributions also from Tsz Fung and Bryan. There is a press release from USC and some media coverage. We learned quite a bit (and are continuing to learn) on how to work with an understudied indigenous population in a respectable and sensitive way, including having the Native Hawaiian Community Advisory Board established by University of Hawaii Cancer Center to review our research proposal and to provide feedback on the manuscript. We look forward to continue this research journey and look forward to more engagement with the community once we are out of this covid pandemic. Any trainee from the community who might be interested in working with us either at the pre- or post-doctoral level please reach out!

1.2021: New semester, we welcome new members joining the lab: Echo Tang, an undergraduate student in Quantitative Biology at USC Dornsife College of Arts and Sciences with a minor in Health Policy, and Jordan Cahoon, an undergraduate student in Computer Science at USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Welcome Echo and Jordan!

12.2020: We are looking for a postdoc to join us! This is a 2 year position with possibility to extend for a 3rd year. Remote working is expected at start, and negotiable after "life is back to normal." Interested applicant please see our Join.Us tab for detail. Official ad is here but the easiest way to apply is to email Charleston with application material or questions. (This is different from the postdoc position we are also looking to hire through the T32 fellowship!)

10.2020: Our group is well-represented at ASHG 2020, including two Reviewer's Choice Abstracts! We have posted full size poster and/or lightning talks here, in case you wish to review for details. Specifically, we have:

       Soyoung (Abstract #2385) "Multi-ethnic genome-wide association study to identify novel loci associated with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia." PDF or MP4

       Caoqi (Abstract #2975) "A genealogical estimate of genetic relationship." PPT

       Minhui (Abstract #3013) "Polygenic adaptation at height-associated loci among continental populations." PDF

Feel free to reach out to each presenter directly with any questions or comments on the specific project or research in general!

10.2020: Minhui published a new preprint on frequency differentiation of height-associated SNPs among global continental populations. In this manuscript we showed that by using height-associated SNPs ascertained from biobank GWAS we can be protected from any confounding due to residual stratification in GWAS summary statistics. We found that these height-associated SNPs exhibit significantly higher level of differentiation among African, European, and East Asian populations, consistent with a signature of polygenic adaptation. Any question or comment are welcomed!

9.2020: The consortium paper on trans-ethnic GWAS of blood cell traits in >700,000 individuals is out in Cell!. It was a fun collaboration where we contributed population genetic analyses to demonstrate the power of GWAS in diverse populations.

9.2020: Camellia was awarded the 2020 Provost Fellowship to conduct research in the lab for this school year. Congrats Camellia!

7.2020: Soyoung gave a lightning talk on her multi-ethnic GWAS on acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) 2020 annual meeting. Her lightning talk and poster won one of the three Best Poster Awards. Congratulations Soyoung!

7.2020: Minhui's paper on using Biobank Japan GWAS to investigate polygenic adaptation in Sardinia and Europe is officially out in the July issue of American Journal of Human Genetics (free PDF through link available until 8.21.2020)!


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.

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

Teaching

Guest Lectures

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

Join Us

Postdoctoral Fellows: We currently have one opening for a postdoctoral fellow in 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.

The official ad can be found here. Informal 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 or on our jobRxiv posting. Informal inquiries should reach out to Charleston Chiang with a copy of CV.

Contact

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