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IBRI Science Frontiers
3rd Annual Seminar Series

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Influence of the Plasma Lipidome on Risk of Metabolic-related Disorders in Hispanics

Influence of the Plasma Lipidome on Risk of Metabolic-related Disorders in Hispanics

Wednesday, August 03, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Presenters: Joanne Curran, PhD

Organization: South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Brownsville, Texas

Joanne Curran, PhD, is a professor in the department of human genetics and the Lacks Valley Stores Ltd. Endowed Professor in the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute (STDOI), within the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) where she has been faculty since 2015. She is a molecular geneticist with more than 20 years of experience in the genetic analysis of human complex diseases.

Curran’s research focuses on identifying and characterizing susceptibility genes for disease conditions such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease and related complications in large pedigree-based studies, with the ultimate objective of gaining an insight into the biological pathways involved in disease pathogenesis. She has extensive experience in high-throughput genomic technologies and applying these to help understand the genetic underpinnings of disease.

As a principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator on several National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded and industry funded projects; she has continued to significantly enhance her expertise in high-throughput genomics. Most recently, her research efforts have been directed toward assessment of the human lipidome and its relationship to disease, using genome-wide lipid measures as endophenotypes for metabolic-related diseases.

In collaboration with colleagues from Australia, she previously measured more than 300 species of lipids in approximately 1,200 Mexican American individuals. These studies have resulted in the identification of specific roles for several lipid species in diseases such as CVD, hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, bipolar disorder and major depression. As part of current NIH funding, Curran and team have begun to expand this effort to more than 800 lipid species in more than 2,500 Mexican American individuals, with the ultimate aim of identifying those lipids that represent endophenotypes for both cardiovascular disease risk and diabetes.

Curran has more than 220 publications, her research has been continuously funded by the NIH since 2007 and she is currently the PI on three NIH-funded research projects and two Eli Lilly and Company research contracts.

Prior to joining UTRGV in February 2015, Curran was on the faculty of the department of genetics at Texas Biomedical Research Institute (formerly Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research) in San Antonio, Texas. She earned her PhD from Griffith University, Gold Coast in Australia in 2002, studying molecular genetics of sporadic breast cancer; and completed her postdoctoral training at the International Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia in 2005, focused on the genetics of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

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