Faculty Profiles

As leaders in their respective fields, members of the IPHG faculty engage in cutting-edge research within their discipline-specific areas. As members of the IPHG Faculty, they also recognize the importance of developing a new approach to address the well-recognized challenges in translating genomics into public health practice, one that is based on strong scientific methods, but one that also integrates and considers the ethical, legal, social, and economic issues simultaneously.

The faculty listed below are approved to chair thesis and dissertation committees. There are many other faculty who would be appropriate to serve in the thesis and dissertation committees. Talk to the chair of your supervisory committee about this.

The IPHG faculty oversee all academic aspects of the IPHG Graduate and Certificate programs. Meeting topics include curriculum matters, student admissions for the MPH and Ph.D. programs, student advising and mentoring, reviewing MPH thesis topics and writing and grading the Ph.D. preliminary exam.

Parveen Bhatti     Associate Member, Public Health Sciences, FHCRC



Parveen Bhatti conducts population-based studies that incorporate genetic and epigenetic markers to investigate the carcinogenic potential of various occupational and environmental exposures, including nightshift work, persistent organic pollutants, air pollution and ionizing radiation. Such studies not only help identify potentially susceptible subpopulations, but also provide a better understanding of the biology underlying associations between exposures and cancer risk.  

Elizabeth Blue     Assistant Professor, Medical Genetics, School of Medicine



Elizabeth Blue studies human genetic variation with two complementary perspectives: understanding the evolutionary history of populations, and detecting regions of the genome influencing disease. Her long-term research goals are to identify genes contributing to Alzheimer's disease and other traits, and to study the evolution and function of individual variants within those genes. 

Deborah Bowen      Professor, Bioethics and Humanities, School of Medicine



Deborah Bowen conducts research, both observational and interventional, that focuses on human behavior in a social context as applied to genetics and genomics, and other new technologies. Using a variety of methodologies, approaches, and designs, she has led evaluations of ethical and social applications of genomic technology to improve health outcomes.

Robert Bradley     Associate Member, Public Health Sciences, FHCRC



Robert Bradley is interested in discovering new roles for RNA in human disease. He studies many different disorders, from muscular dystrophy to cancer, where RNA plays important roles in disease initiation and therapeutic response. 

Brian Browning     Associate Professor, Medical Genetics, School of Medicine



Brian Browning's research is focused on the development of statistical and computational methods for analysis of large-scale genetic data from microarray genotyping and next-generation sequencing. These genetic data sets present computational and analytical challenges due to their size, and due to the complex patterns of inter-marker correlation in the data. 

Sharon Browning     Associate Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Sharon Browning works on developing computationally efficient methods for population genetic inference from large genetic data sets.  Her recent work includes inference of population demographic history and relatedness, as well as haplotype phase inference and genotype imputation. 

Peter Byers     Professor, Medical Genetics, School of Medicine



Peter Byers studies molecular mechanisms of human genetic disorders, the translation of genotype to phenotype and the use of genetic tests in legal decision making. 

David Crosslin     Assistant Professor, Biomedical & Health Informatics, School of Medicine



David Crosslin's research program focuses on translational bioinformatics with a combination of bioinformatics, statistical association analyses, and computational tools development for applied research.  Specifically, his research focuses on integrating genetic data into the electronic health record for clinical decision support.

Sara Curran     Associate Professor, International Studies & Public Affairs, Jackson School Intl. Studies



Sara Curran researches social dynamics at the intersection of gender, globalization, migration, development, and environment. She is a sociologist and demographer, and she is the Director of the Center for Global Studies, a Title VI National Resource Center of Excellence for international studies designated by the Department of Education to enhance US understandings and capacities for global engagement through k-¬20 teacher training, legal, health, and social work professional capacity building, and undergraduate/graduate foreign language and area studies training.

Beth Devine, Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research & Policy Program, School of Pharmacy


Beth Devine is a health services research scientist and health economist. She studies medication safety, specifically pharmacogenomic biomarker-guided medication use and adverse drug events using real world evidence from electronic health records. Her work draws from the disciplines of patient-centered outcomes research and clinical informatics; she employ methods from epidemiology, biostatistics, and decision analysis.

David Eaton     Professor, Environmental and Health Sciences, Dean of the Graduate School



David Eaton works in biochemical toxicology, aflatoxin carcinogenesis, glutathione-mediated biotransformation of toxic chemicals, genetic susceptibility to environmental carcinogens,  and gene-environment interactions

Daniel Eisenberg     Assistant Professor, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences



Daniel Eisenberg is an anthropological geneticist and human biologist who specializes in telomere biology and recent adaptive evolution. 

Daniel Enquobahrie     Associate Professor, Epidemiology, School of Public Health



Daniel Enquobahrie's research interests span cardiovascular/metabolic, reproductive/perinatal, and genetic/epigenetic epidemiology. His research focuses on (1) pre-pregnancy and early/mid pregnancy risk factors (and associated mechanisms) for pregnancy complications and outcomes, and (2) early life and developmental origins of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. 

Joseph Felsenstein     Professor, Genome Sciences, School of Medicine



Joseph Felsenstein develops methods for using measurable characters for multiple species to discover which combinations of characters are being changed most by natural selection in a phylogeny (an evolutionary tree).   This involves using statistical and computational methods to analyze evolution in these species.

Garrison, Nanibaa’ A.   Assistant Professor of Pediatrics



Hill, Karl G.   Professor, School of Social Work



Dr. Hill's work has focused on identifying the bio-psycho-social mechanisms driving the life-course development of maladaptive behaviors such as drug use and addiction, in addition to understanding positive developmental outcomes (e.g., educational attainment, life skills, physical and mental health). Once identified, these developmental mechanisms can then be targeted through preventive intervention to improve health and break intergenerational cycles of problem behavior. Most recently, Dr. Hill has lead a NIDA-funded study to examine gene-environment interplay in the development of alcohol and tobacco addiction and related problems.

Victoria Holt     Professor and Chair, Epidemiology, School of Public Health



Victoria Holt’s primary research interests are in the areas of reproductive epidemiology and intimate partner violence. Reproductive epidemiology research projects include an analysis of recent trends in US ectopic pregnancy incidence, studies on the epidemiology of adenomyosis and endometriosis (with emphasis on reproductive and contraceptive risk factors and environmental chemical exposures), and risk factors for oral contraceptive failure, including obesity.

Gail Jarvik     Professor and Chair, Medical Genetics, School of Medicine



Gail Jarvik’s research focuses on the statistical genetic analysis of common diseases and the implementation of genomic medicine. Additionally, she has active research in biomedical ethics, including returning genomic research results to subjects. 

Grace John-Stewart     Professor, School of Medicine



Grace. John-Stewart conducts clinical epidemiologic research on treatment and prevention of HIV and related infections, including genetic studies of susceptibility to HIV progression and transmission, with a focus on maternal-child transmission.  She directs the Center for Global Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents, and Children (Global WACh).

Terrance Kavanagh     Professor, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health



Terrance Kavanagh’s research is concerned with glutathione metabolism, analytical cytology, in-vitro toxicology, transgenic models, toxicology of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species, toxicogenomics, nanotoxicology, and systems toxicology. He looks at the effects of air pollution on human health.

Katie Kerr     Associate Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Katie Kerr works in bioinformatics and genetic epidemiology.  Her current methodological work centers around the evaluation of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers.  She collaborates with scientists working in cardiovascular disease, nephrology, neurological disease, and environmental health.

Su-In Lee     Assistant Professor, Computer Science & Engineering, School of Engineering



Su-In Lee  is developing machine learning (ML) algorithms to solve various important problems in biology.  Her ML approach aims to learn the relationships among many variables, such as DNA, genes and complex traits, in "big" data to answer various interesting questions in biology. She also conducts fundamental ML research to learn complex probabilistic models from big data.

Jairam Lingappa     Associate Professor, Global Health, School of Public Health



Jairam Lingappa conducts research on the interaction of epidemiology and host genetics on response to infectious diseases. He primary focus has been in evaluating factors influencing HIV-1 acquisition risk in cohorts of HIV-1 serodiscordant heterosexual couples with recent studies including candidate variant, genome-wide association and whole genome sequencing studies.    

Sara Lindstroem     Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, School of Public Health



Sara Lindstrom’s research focuses on understanding the genetic contribution to common complex diseases, with a primary emphasis on cancer and associated traits. By leveraging large population-based studies, she investigates how our genetics and environment affect our risk of developing disease. 

Debra Lochner Doyle     State Genetics Coordinator, Washington State Department of Health



Debra Lochner Doyle’s interests lie in evaluating health systems for their inclusion of genetic services, barriers to services, and quality of services. In addition, she is active in policy development to optimize access to genetic services and assessing the impact of policies to health systems.

Harmit Malik     Member, Basic Sciences, FHCRC



Anna Mastroianni     Professor, School of Law; Associate Director of Institute of Public Health Genetics



Anna Mastroianni conducts research on topics at the intersection of law, ethics and policy, with special emphasis on challenges arising in genetics, public health, research with human subjects, and assisted reproduction. 

Barbara Burns McGrath     Professor, Psychosocial and Community Health, School of Nursing



Barbara Burns McGrath, RN, PhD is a nurse and medical anthropologist with a research focus on the role of science and technology in the health of populations; and the application of ethnographic inquiry and community based participatory research methods. One examples is a study of the potential implications of the clinical use of genetic family history as a way to define family.  She has been core faculty with the Institute of Public Health Genetics and developed a graduate course, “Culture, Society, and Genomics.”

Barbara McKnight     Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Barbara McKnight develops statistical methods in genetic epidemiology, including genome-wide association study methods.

Vladimir Minin     Associate Professor, Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences



Vladimir Minin develops statistical methodology on the intersection of research areas that cover stochastic modeling, evolution, and epidemiology. He is especially interested in combining epidemiological and genetic data to understand infectious disease dynamics.

Debbie Nickerson      Professor, Genome Sciences, School of Medicine



Debbie Nickerson is interested in the identification and typing of sequence variations in the human genome in an effort to gain an understanding of the patterns and to improve approaches for association mapping of common human diseases. She is exploring the genetics of cardiovascular disease risk in human populations.  She is also exploring the relationships that may exist between genotype and trait expression at the RNA and protein levels in humans.

Ulrike (Riki) Peters     Member, Public Health Sciences, FHCRC



Riki Peters’ research interest centers on the genetic and molecular epidemiology of common complex diseases, including cancer, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases, as well as intermediate traits, including inflammation and metabolic measurements. Within well characterized and diverse study populations, she is studying the impact of common and rare genetic variants across the entire genome, as well as interactions between genetic variants and environmental factors (such as diet, exercise, smoking and aspirin use). 

Daniel Promislow     Professor, Pathology, School of Medicine; Associate Director of Institute of Public Health Genetics



Daniel Promislow studies the quantitative genetics of aging and age-related traits in fruit flies and companion dogs. He is also interested in network analysis of metabolomic profiles as a means to link genotype to phenotype. 

Alex Reiner     Member, Public Health Sciences, FHCRC



Alex Reiner’s research focuses on the genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular and blood diseases and women’s health, with a particular emphasis on the analysis of genetic associations of complex traits in under-represented U.S. minority populations

Kenneth Rice     Associate, Professor Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Ken Rice’s  research focuses primarily on developing and applying statistical methods for complex disease epidemiology, notably cardiovascular disease. He leads the Analysis Committee for the CHARGE consortium, a large group of investigators studying genetic determinants of heart and aging outcomes. He is an investigator at UW's Cardiovascular Health Research Unit.

Stephen Schwartz     Professor, Epidemiology, School of Public Health



Stephen Schwartz primarily studies the etiology and outcomes of cancer. A major objective of his research is to determine the influence of genetic susceptibility, either alone or in combination with lifestyle and environmental risk factors. 

Seema Kirti Shah  Associate Professor, Bioethics, UW Pediatrics & Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s Research Institute



Ali Shojaie     Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Ali Shojaie's research lies in the intersection of machine learning for high-dimensions data, statistical network analysis and applications in biology and social sciences. He has developed methods for analysis of various types of omics data, and is currently developing methods for integrative analysis of multiple types of omics data.

Noah Simon     Assistant Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Noah Simon works on machine learning (penalized regression and classification), efficient algorithms in high dimensional spaces, shrinkage estimation and other whimsical creatures which strike his fancy. The techniques he develops are directed at problems in biology and medical science (though they are often more widely applicable). In addition, he is interested in building and applying tools to better understand the interplay of SNPs/gene expression/protein expression/mutations with diseases and treatments.

Peter Tarczy-Hornoch     Professor and Chair, Biomedical & Health Informatics, School of Medicine



Peter Tarczy-Hornoch works to evolve and expand informatics services and resources, including electronic health records. He is interested in cross-institutional data integration infrastructures, phenotype extraction and natural language processing, and pharmacogenomic decision support in electronic health records.

Timothy Thornton     Associate Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Tim Thornton’s research interest is in the area of statistical genetics, with an emphasis on statistical methodology for genetic association studies of complex traits in samples with relatedness, ancestry admixture, and/or population structure.

Debby Tsuang     Professor, Psychiatry, School of Medicine



As Director of the VA Puget Sound Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center, Debby Tsuang directs multidisciplinary phenotyping efforts to elucidate the complex genetic architecture underlying schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Tsuang contributes to a variety of studies, ranging from  genome-wide association and next generation sequencing studies in schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, and Lewy body dementias. 

Bruce Weir      Professor, Biostatistics, School of Public Health; Director of Institute of Public Health Genetics



Bruce Weir conducts research in statistical genetics, with an emphasis on associations between alleles within and between individuals and within and between populations. He develops methods of analysis for application association studies for human disease, and for forensic genetics. He directs the Genetic Analysis Center at the University of Washington.

Whitener, Ron J.  Assistant Professor of Law



Ellen Wijsman     Professor, Medical Genetics, School of Medicine



Ellen Wijsman's research is directed towards the development and application of quantitative methods for human genetic data, with an emphasis on efficient and computationally practical use of related individuals in pedigrees. Her applications are focused on research in the area of neurosciences. Projects include disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, autism, and learning disabilities, and make use of multiple levels of genomic data in the search of underlying genes that contribute to trait susceptibility.

Benjamin Wilfond     Professor, Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute



Benjamin Wilfond’s research  focuses on ethical and policy issues related to the boundaries between research and clinical care, with an emphasis on pediatrics. His primary focus areas relate to genetics; including carrier testing, newborn screening, and the impact of technologies on children—particularly those with disabilities.  He is professor and chief of the Division of Pediatrics, UW Department of Pediatrics and directs the Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics at Seattle Children’s.

Daniela Witten     Associate Professor, Statistics and Biostatistics, School of Public Health



Daniela Witten is a statistician with broad interests in statistical machine learning and high-dimensional data. She uses tools from convex optimization to tackle large-scale problems, and she is particularly interested in developing statistical machine learning techniques for problems in genomics.