Biomedical Engineering pres.
Minoli Perera, Northwestern University - “African Ancestry Pharmaco(genomics) Omics.”
Expert in African-ancestry pharmacogenomics research to speak at Precision Health Feb. seminar
Perera, PharmD, PhD, an Associate Professor of Pharmacology at Northwestern University, as a
featured speaker in its Seminar Series. On February 13 at 4pm, Perera will present on “African Ancestry Pharmacogenomics Omics.”
Initially interested in researching the clinical translation of pharmacogenetic findings, Perera realized that African Americans are often excluded from these studies. The predictive genomic biomarkers used to guide drug therapy are based on studies of populations of European descent, so the findings are uninformative for other populations. “Practically, this means we are using the wrong genetic information in African-Americans to guide their therapy,” Perera states in a profile on Northwestern’s website. Perera, who spoke at the Precision Medicine World Conference in Ann Arbor in June, has been funded by both the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and American Heart Association to investigate genetic variants associated with warfarin dose response. She has also received a $7.5 million Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to investigate genetic variation in drug-metabolizing enzymes in African Americans. Perera is currently Principal Investigator for one of five Transdisciplinary Collaborative Centers funded through the NIMHD. Dubbed
ACCOuNT (African American pharmacogenomic Cardiovascular
CONsorTium), it will work to accelerate the discovery and translation of pharmacogenomic findings in African-ancestry populations. “The work that we do is scientifically interesting and important, but it also carries a social justice mission,” says Perera in her profile. “I hope this work will become an avenue to bring more diversity into academia and science research in general.”
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