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
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
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.
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.
The Perera Lab
Meet the 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
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.
Juan came from the world of finance to pursue research and medicine. His goal is to to conduct scientific research that will improve minority health and help eliminate health disparities. He assists with all things lab related, from running sequencing, to cell culture, to processing patient samples. He is a jack of all "lab trades". Outside of the lab he is also working towards reducing educational disparities in STEM by mentoring first generation college students through the America Needs You program.
Past Lab members
Off to bigger and better things!
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
Keston Aquino-Michaels - Data Scientist at SparkBeyond.
Erin Smithberger - Graduate student at University of North Carolina
Yizhen Zhong - Computational Biologist, Freemone
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).
Minnie Horvath - Medical Student at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine
Stephanie Poindexter - Postdoctoral Associate, Sensory Morphology and Genetic Anthropology at Boston University.
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 -
Singh A, Zhong Y, Nahlawi L, Park CS, De T, Alarcon A, Perera MA. Incorporation of DNA methylation into eQTL mapping in African Americans. Accepted for publication, PSB Proceedings 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. AJHG 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. Clin Transl Sci. 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. JAMA, 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. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2017 Sep; 102(3):397 – 404, 2017.
We could all use a little help from our friends.
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.
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.
Official Lab Photo
Lab Photo Winter 2019
missing in acton: Paula Friedman
You'll Be Back: The Academic Version