Research

NIPM Core Faculty

Jingchun Chen

Dr. Chen has focuses on the genetic studies on schizophrenia and nicotine dependence in the Department of Psychiatry, VCU, where she not only strengthened experimental skills (genotyping, RT-PCR and RNA-sequencing), but also broadened extensive knowledge/experience in big data management, imputation, genome-wide association studies (GWASs), meta-analysis, polygenic analysis, RNA-Seq analysis and network/pathway analysis. Her studies have led to the discovery of several genes associated with schizophrenia/nicotine dependence, and have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Mira Han

The Han Lab studies the evolution of genome structure, using bioinformatics to investigate how genomes change through gene duplication, loss, and gene transpositions. The lab also focuses on the phenotypic effects of copy number variations, indels, and transposable element polymorphisms. These are all important aspects of variations in humans that influence health and disease.

Michael Nasiak

Dr. Michael Nasiak is a Medical Geneticist and Internist by training.  His interests include the genetics and genomics of common complex disorders seen in adults, and in the utilization of molecular genomics and sequencing modalities in the diagnosis and possible therapeutics of rare genetic conditions. The ability to now use the available biomedical technology to analyze an individual’s genetics in the assessment of their risk for disease, or in the diagnosis of a genetic condition, has entered clinical medicine in ways only imagined a short time ago. These evaluation and diagnostic methods when applied to those at risk can alter the course of disease, or can offer directed therapies, while supplying information to patients, which can improve their outcomes and better their lives. This is the goal of clinical medicine, and the application of genetics offers another tool in the armamentarium of helping and healing the afflicted.

Edwin Oh

Dr. Oh's lab is interested in identifying genetic and structural variants that contribute to human health and disease as well as in the interpretation of such variation to to improve the cellular and molecular diagnosis of genetic diseases. To address these questions they utilize next generation platforms and mouse and zebrafish models. Over the last decade, the work has been supported by RO1 investigator-led and Program Center grants from NIH and fellowship awards from private foundations. Moving forward, his research program will be centered on the dissection of organellar stress in developmental and late-onset neurological disorders such as, schizophrenia (SZ), autism-spectrum disorders (ASD), and glaucoma. 

Martin R. Schiller

The Schiller Lab work has been ongoing and supported in part by the Knowledge Fund. The lab works in the areas of HIV, genomics, and bioinformatics. When a person is infected with some pathogenic virus, such as HIV, the virus inserts its DNA and becomes part of the DNA of the infected cell. This is the main reason HIV is difficult to cure. The Schiller Lab has used TALEN gene-editing technology to damage HIV DNA in infected cells, limiting its ability to produce more virus. A patent application was recently published for this technology. Also developed here is a new biotechnology to screen for molecular functions involved in disease processes, for which a patent application has been submitted. This screen could help lead to many new drug therapies and a better understanding of disease etiology. The Schiller Lab is also in the midst of identifying mutations associated with disease states by comparing thousands of genomes from diseased individuals with those from the unaffected.

Qing Wu

Dr. Wu’s research interests include the development and validation of personalized clinical normative values using modern statistical methodology and existing big data, meta-analyses of epidemiologic studies and clinical trials, genome-wide meta-analysis and mega-analysis, statistical methodology research in meta-analysis, clinical trials and big data analysis, and study design and statistical methodology development in observational studies and clinical trials. Dr. Wu has extensive experience in multidisciplinary collaborative research and statistical consulting in biomedical research. His collaborative works have led to 45 research grants funded by federal agencies, major industries and research foundations, on which he served as co-investigator or co-principle investigator and lead statistician. Dr. Wu is also an affiliate faculty member of biomedical informatics at the College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, as well as an academic editor of PLOS ONE, for which he serves on both the statistics advisory and editorial boards. He has also served as a peer reviewer for numerous journals.

NIPM Affiliate Faculty

  • Ernesto Abel-Santos — The Abel-Santos Laboratory is working on a compound that could aid your intestinal tract when antibiotics have wiped out much of the “good” bacteria. This anti-germinant compound, known as CamSA, works by stopping the germination of Clostridium difficile (C. diff). While C. diff can be a normal component of bacteria in the human gut, it also can become a problem when competing bacteria are wiped out by antibiotics. That is particularly dangerous for patients with suppressed immune systems, many of whom have been in hospitals, nursing homes, surgery centers, and other environments where C. diff thrives. This work has been patented. (See patent.)
  • Nora Caberoy — Nora Caberoy studies the role of retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell phagocytosis in the photoreceptor death that leads to retinal dysfunction and degeneration. Caberoy's multidisciplinary approaches include animal models as well as molecular, cellular, genetic, biochemical, and functional proteomics by phage display, in combination with next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS).
  • Shawn Gerstenberger — Shawn Gerstenberger’s research focuses on childhood lead poisoning prevention and the impact of the built environment on human health. He is the founder of the Nevada Healthy Homes Partnership and has multiple collaborative grants with key community partners, such as the Southern Nevada Health District, the city of Henderson, and the Nevada State Health Division.
  • Joseph Greenway — Joseph Greenway is the director and co-founder of UNLV's Center for Health Information Analysis. His recent projects examine readmission rates, potentially preventable conditions, and health care quality measures. His latest efforts include advancing health data transparency in Nevada, including the collection, analysis, and public posting of hospital and ambulatory surgery center data.
  • Brian Hedlund — The Hedlund Lab collaborates with the Abel-Santos Lab on determining C. diff's effects on intestinal microbes (termed the microbiotome). His lab has also developed an approach to sequence genomes from single microbes that was published in Nature. He also studies microbes growing in extreme environments.
  • Jennifer Kawi — Jennifer Kawi’s research focuses on chronic pain, chronic illnesses, self-management, self-management support, and diversity in nursing. She is now investigating genomic markers of refractory chronic back pain.
  • Jefferson Kinney — Jefferson Kinney’s lab researches the cellular, molecular, and genetic mechanisms involved in various types of associative and spatial learning, with particular emphasis on glutamate and GABA systems. Additional research projects focus on animal models of Alzheimer's disease and psychiatric disorders involving disruptions of learning and memory. In several lines of research within the laboratory, Kinney is pursuing changes in neuronal systems to identify the cause of pathological features and learning and memory impairments. This work aims to identify both potential mechanisms responsible for the pathology and novel therapeutic targets.
  • Jillian Inouye — Jillian Inouye’s research areas include lifestyle behaviors, health disparities, chronic illness, and self-management. One project seeks to determine how effective cognitive-behavior intervention is in enhancing adherence to self-management strategies for Asian/Pacific Islanders with type 2 diabetes. Inouye is also the director of Clinical Research, Education, Mentoring and Career Development Key Core Activity, as part of the Clinical Translational Research Infrastructure Network grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • Joe Lombardo — Joe Lombardo has been director of UNLV’s Supercomputing Institute since 1997. He is currently expanding its infrastructure to analyze hundreds of thousands of genomes at once. He recently served as a witness for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation's Subcommittee on Technology, Innovation, and Competitiveness in Washington, D.C. He also secured a Cherry Creek from Intel computer and has helped forge a relationship with SWITCH Communications.
  • Sheniz Moonie — Sheniz Moonie, who specializes in pediatric asthma, is the Southern Nevada director for the CDC-funded Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, which tracks chronic disease risk factors and rates. She has an active research study with the University of Nevada School of Medicine investigating the relationship between asthma and obesity among children.
  • Guogen Shan — UNLV's designated CTR biostatistician for a recent National Institutes of Health-funded five-year grant, Guogen Shan develops adaptive clinical trials, efficient parametric and nonparametric statistical inferences, and exact testing procedures.
  • Kelly Tseng — The Tseng Lab studies tissue regeneration. Although many animals can fully regenerate body parts after injury, humans lack this amazing ability. Tseng studies how animals physiologically sense and respond to the damage, with an eye toward human treatments for tissue regeneration and aging.