B.A., George Washington University, 1972;
Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1979
The major research objectives of my laboratory are to identify genes that influence complex phenotypes, to understand their evolutionary history, and to elucidate how variation in these genes influences function. Our laboratory focuses on phenotypes related to fertility and to common diseases, and are conducted in a founder population, the Hutterites, and in patient populations from the U.S. Midwest and Germany. Our collaborators have developed novel methods for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in the Hutterites, and have studied >30 quantitative traits that are associated with common diseases, some with sex-specific effects. Through these studies we have identified novel variation and novel genes that are associated with asthma and heart disease. Our studies of fertility focus on HLA-region genes, in particular the non-classical HLA-G gene. These studies have indicated that multiple HLA genes influence different aspects of fertility, and that variation in the promoter and 3'UTR of HLA-G affects expression. We recently completed a genome-wide association study for fertility in the Hutterites that identified novel genes that influence reproductive traits in men and women. Our studies of common diseases focus on phenotypes associated with asthma and heart disease. Our collaborators developed novel methods for quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in the Hutterites, and we are studying >30 quantitative traits that are associated with common diseases, some with sex-specific effects. We also collaborate with investigators at the University of Wisconsin â?? Madison on the Childhood Origins of ASThma (COAST) Study. This is a prospective cohort study of children at high risk for developing asthma and allergy, who are followed from birth onward. Our laboratory is study genetic variation that influences the development of the immune system in the first year of life and the subsequent development of asthma and atopic disease.