• Minoli Perera

    The Perera Lab


    Associate Professor

    Northwestern University

  • The Perera laboratory focuses on pharmacogenomics (using a patient's genome to predict drug response) in minority populations. Our goal is to make precision medicine available to all.

    Dr. Perera is an Associate Professor within the Department of Pharmacology and Center for Pharmacogenomics at the Feinberg School of Medicine with expertise in pharmacokinetics, clinical pharmacology and human genetics.

    Why we do what we do!

    Currently there is a lack of diversity in genomic studies in general (check out this Cell paper to see some great graphics) and pharmacogenomic studies in particular. This means that as we begin to use genomic data to guide therapy in the US, we may be unable to accurately predict drug response in under-served populations. We (and our amazing collaborators) hope to fast-track the discovery and translation of genetic variants that affect response to medication for African Americans. For me this research focus started as an interesting area that few others were working in...but now it is a calling to do something that can make medical care better for those that have gone unrecognized (or un-ACCOuNTed).

  • What We Do

    African American Genomic Medicine

    Anticoagulant Pharmacogenomics Perera Lab

    Anticoagulant Pharmacogenomics

    Prescribing the right drug at the right dose for the right patient

    Anticoagulants remain some of the most dangerous drugs taken in the US. We investigate if a patient's genome can predict the therapeutic dose, or adverse effects (e.g. bleeding) associated with these drugs. This information could be used to help doctors select the safest and most effective medication for each patient.

    Genomics of Drug Metabolism Perera Lab

    Genomics of Drug Metabolism

    Genetic biomarkers that regulate drug metabolism

    The liver metabolizes over 70% of drugs currently prescribed in the US. However, we still do not understand the genes and genetic mutations that regulate these important hepatic enzymes. We are investigating the role of genetic variation and DNA methylation in the regulation of gene expression of drug metabolizing enzymes (DMEs) and other gene within the liver in African Americans (funded NIMDH). Click here for details on this project.


    African American Cardiovascular Pharmacogenomics Consortium

    ACCOuNT is a NIMHD funded Collaborative Consortium aimed at accerateing the pace of pharmacogenomic discovery and translation in African Americans. We have brought together investigators at 2 major US cities (Chicago and DC), as well as clinical, pharmacogenomic and informatics experts to build a sustainable research consortium. Click here for more details, or on our website for all the ongoing research here.


    Follow the consortium on Twitter @ACCOuNT_NU.

    Functional Genomics

    Uncovering the biology behind genomic associations.

    Many of our discoveries in African Americans implicate novel genes in both drug response and disease risk. However, uncovering the functional implication of these genetic variants is equally important as they shed light on the underlying biology driving drug response and disease. Because of our focus on cardiovascular diseases, many of our finding are relevant to changes in vascular endothelial cells and platelets. We use multiple cell and molecular biology approaches to uncover how associated SNPs affect the transcription and translation of important genes. 


    Using the electronic health record to personalize healthcare.

    The Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network is a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-organized and funded consortium of U.S. medical research institutions. The Network brings together researchers with a wide range of expertise in genomics, statistics, ethics, informatics, and clinical medicine from leading medical research institutions across the country to conduct research in genomics, including discovery, clinical implementation and public resources. we are involved in the analysis on the newest eMERGE sequencing data. We hope to identify novel variants in genes important to drug response.

  • Media

    Northwestern's Breakthrough Podcast on our newest paper!

  • The Perera Lab

    Meet the Lab

    Lab Manager

    Cristina is a PhD scientist who keep our lab running smoothly. She is involved in all aspect of our lab, from organization to methods development.

    Paula Frienman Perera Lab

    Senior Research Associate

    Dr. Friedman has worked extensively in cancer genomics and pharmacogenomics prior to joining the lab. She is currently managing the projects associated with ACCOuNT.

    Guang Yang PhD

    Postdoctoral Fellow

    Dr. Yang will be using multi-omic data in African American collected through the ACCouNT Consortium to examine SNP and gene base signals associated with drug response and disease risk. Translation of pharmacogenomics into clinical care requires rigorous discovery efforts such as these to bring precision medicine to all.

    Wenndy Hernandez Perera Lab

    Carolina (CC) Clark

    Graduate Student

    CC joined the lab in June of 2021. She will work on elucidating genetic and transcriptomic drivers of drug metabolism in African Americans.

    Wenndy Hernandez Perera Lab

    Mrinal Mishra PhD

    Bioinformatic Analyst

    Mrinal will use machine learning methods employing our African American multi-omic data from multiple cohorts to better predict gene expression and drug response.

  • Past Lab members

    Off to bigger and better things!

    Postdoctoral trainees

    Wenndy Hernandez PhD - Instructor in the Department of Medicine, Section of Cardiology, University of Chicago

    Layan Nahlawi PhD - Senior Scientist, Abbvie

    Tanima De PhD - Manager, Integrative Translational Genetics, Regeneron

    Graduate Student

    Keston Aquino-Michaels - Data Scientist at SparkBeyond.

    Erin Smithberger - Graduate student at University of North Carolina

    Yizhen Zhong - Computational Biologist, Freemone

    Undergraduate student

    Diana Gonzalez

    Emma Beachy

    Odera Ikwuezunma - Undergraduate at University of Texas

    Cristian Martinez-Ramos - Undergraduate at University of Puerto Rico

    Daniel Morales - Undergraduate at Boston University

    Ijezie Ikwuezunma- Medical Student at University of Chicago, Former Fulbright Research Fellow (University of Liverpool).

    Sara Kwan

    Minnie Horvath - Medical Student at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine

    Riean Knight

    Stephanie Poindexter - Postdoctoral Associate, Sensory Morphology and Genetic Anthropology at Boston University.

    Medical/Pharmacy students

    Lucia Cortejoso - PharmD in Hospital General Univeritario, Spain

    Mary Young - Medical Resident

    High School students

    Maggie Colten - Currently an undergraduate at the University of Chicago.

    Johanna Kahn - Currently an Undergraduate at Northwestern University

  • Recent Publications

    Find a full list of our publications here

    Adhikari S, Kwon J, Pacheco J, Jarvik G, Wei WQ, Mentch F, Hakonarson H, Sleiman P, Gordon A, Harley J, Linneman J, Hebbring S, Parisiadou L, Perera MA. Genetic association of primary nonresponse in Anti-TNF alpha therapy in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics, Jan 1:32(1) 1-9, 2022


    Garofano K, Park CS, Alarcon C, Avitia J, Barbour A, Diemert D, Fraser CM, Friedman PN, Horvath A, Rashid K, Shaazuddin M, Sidahmed A, O'Brien TJ, Perera MA, Lee NH. Differences in the platelet mRNA landscape pretend racial Disparities in Platelet Function and Suggest Novel Therapeutic Targets. Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Sept;110(3):702-713, 2021


    Singh A, Zhong Y, Nahlawi L, Park CS, De T, Alarcon A, Perera MA. Incorporation of DNA methylation into eQTL mapping in African Americans. PSB Proceedings 26: 244-255, 2021. Selected oral presentation in Symposium Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing. (PSB), (virtual) 2020.


    Zhong Y, De T, Xu Y, Alarcon A, Park CS, Lec BM, Perera MA. Discovery of Novel Hepatocyte eQTLs in African Americans. PLOS Genetics, Apr 20;16(4), 2020


    Zhong Y, Gamazon EG, Perera MA. On Using Local Ancestry to Characterize Genetic Control of Omic Phenotypes in Multiethnic or Admixed Populations. American Journal of Human Genetics Jun 6;104(6):1097-1115. 2019


    Park CS, De T, Xu Y, Zhong Y, Smithberger E, Alarcon C, Gamazon ER, Perera MA. Hepatocyte gene express and DNA methylation as ancestry-dependent mechanisms in African Americans. npj Genomics Medicine. 4(29), 2019


    Friedman PN, Shaazuddin M, Grossman RL, Harrelson AF, Klien TE, Miller DC, Nutescu EA, O’Brien TJ, O’Donnell PH, Tuck, M. Meltzer, DO, Perera MA. The ACCOuNT Consortium: a model for discovery, translation and implementation of precision medicine in African Americans. Clinical and Translational Science May;12(3):209-217. 2019


    De T, Hernandez W, Nwanze N, Smithberger E, O’Brien TJ, Tuck M, Duarte J, Bourgeois S, Perera MA. Association of Genetic Variants with Warfarin-associated Bleeding. Journal of the American Medical Association, Oct 23;320(16):1670-1677, 2018.


    Clinical pharmacogenetics implementation consortium (cpic) guideline for pharmacogenetics-guided warfarin dosing: 2017 update. Johnson JA, Caudle KE, Gong L, Whirl-Carrillo M, Stein CM, Scott SA, Lee MT, Gage BF, Kimmel SE, Perera MA, Anderson JL, Pirmohamed M, Klein TE, Limdi NA, Cavallari LH, Wadelius M. Clinical Pharmacology Theraputics 2017 Sep; 102(3):397 – 404, 2017.

  • The Perera Lab Blog

    Thoughts, musings, and ruminations.

    February 1, 2018
    My cousin` and me soon after arriving in the US. There has been a lot of conversation around immigration after the State of the Union Address this week and all of this has really made me think of what "immigrant" means to me. To those that don't know me, I was not born in the the great US of A,...
    May 23, 2017
    I along with a few close friends (some that are STEMinists (my new favorite word), and some that work in STEM), joined the March of Science in Chicago (that's me being eaten by the skeletal T.Rex). It felt great and was a bit cathartic, but it was a stark reminder that there is so SO much more to...
    November 1, 2016
    While in the midst on switching institutions, growing my lab and figuring out how things work around here, I received the awesome news that the U54 Collaborative Consortium grant I had put in over a year ago was funded! Now to actually do the work promised. Staring down at the proposal, all I...
    July 9, 2016
    This has been my first week at Northwestern University. I have a new commute, a new office, new responsibilities and definitely a new perspective on academic science. Switching institutions is stressful, intimidating and inconvenient. But it is also bittersweet. I "grew up" as a scientist at...
    I recently read an article about a scientific conference that encouraged attendees to bring their families to facilitate parents attending. The lifeblood of all academic scientists is discussing and presenting their work as well as networking with those in the field. But, as a mother of two young...
    January 5, 2016
    Tamina De has been awarded the Presidential Trainee Award from the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT) for her work on warfarin-related bleeding. Come see her present her work at the poster walk on Thursday March 10th, 2016 in San Diego.
    More Posts
  • Social Feed

    Check out my latest updates!

  • Collaborators/Consortiums

    We could all use a little help from our friends.

    Larisa Cavallari Perera Lab

    Larisa Cavallari

    University of Florida

    Vanderbilt University

    Dr. Eric R Gamazon develops and applies genomic and computational methods to investigate the genetic architecture of complex traits, including disease risk and drug response. He is interested in what can be learned from DNA sequence and multi-omics data about disease mechanism, therapeutic intervention, molecular evolution, and biological function.

    Travis O'Brien Perera Lab

    George Washington University

    Director of the Pharmacogenomics Program and Associate Research Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology

    Pharmacogenomics Research Network

    The PGRN catalyzed pharmacogenomics discoveries both nationally and internationally through the conduct of collaborative research focused on the discovery and translation of the genetic determinants of drug response, in order to enable safer and more effective drug therapies.

    University of Puerto Rico

    Professor at the School of Pharmacy, University of Puerto Rico

  • Official Lab Photo

    Perera Lab

    Lab Photo Winter 2019

    missing in acton: Paula Friedman

    You'll Be Back: The Academic Version

    Painfully funny!

  • Contact Information


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