Meet our distinguished members
Joan O'Brien

Joan O'Brien, MD

Chair, Dept of Ophthalmology
Director, Scheie Eye Institute

The lead investigator on the Primary Open-Angle African American Glaucoma Genetics (POAAGG) studying the genetics of ocular diseases. Especially interested in the genetics of retinoblastoma, uveal melanoma, and glaucoma.
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Li-San Wang, PhD

Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine; Co-Director, Penn Neurodegeneration Genomics Center

My interest is in studying the genetics of Alzheimer's disease and related dementia in diverse populations with focus on Asian populations in Asia and North America. Founded the Asian Cohort for Alzheimer's Disease (ACAD).
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Iain Mathieson, PhD

Assistant Professor of Genetics

My lab uses statistical and population genetic methods to investigate the evolution and genetic basis of complex traits in humans. We develop statistical methods to predict complex traits including disease risk across diverse populations, and use both ancient and modern DNA to study the evolution of those traits.
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Rachel M. Werner, MD, PhD

Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics
Robert D. Eilers Professor, Health Care Management - Wharton School

Seeks to understand the effect of health care policies and delivery systems on quality of care. In particular, she has examined the role of quality improvement incentives on provider behavior, the organization of health care, racial disparities, and overall health care quality.
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Steven Joffe, MD, MPH

Chief, Division of Medical Ethics
Founders Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy

My research focuses on ethical, regulatory, and policy challenges in medicine and science, with a particular emphasis on the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genomics.
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Gerd Blobel, MD, PhD

Frank E. Weise III Professor of Pediatrics
Co-Director UPENN Epigenetics Institute

The Blobel lab focuses on the genetic and epigenetic control of hematopoiesis and its disorders. One special emphasis of the lab is to understand the control of the β-globin gene cluster. Efforts are underway to improve treatment of diseases that affect the globin genes such as sickle cell disease and β-thalassemia.
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Elizabeth Bhoj, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Genetics

Discovers new human disease genes, their mechanisms, and potential targeted therapies. In addition to ongoing gene discovery efforts, the lab focuses on three novel genes that lead to pediatric neurologic dysfunction: TBCK, H3F3A/B, and MAP4K4. A bedside-to-bench-to-bedside translational lab, bringing discoveries back to the patients. An area of intense focus is bringing clinical and molecular genetics research to areas without current local infrastructure.
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Ross Johnson, PhD, MPH

Practice Associate Professor at the Penn School of Nursing

Interested in examining the intersection of biological, genetic, and social factors on public health. Dr. Johnson has embarked to develope relationships with underserved communities to inform, enlighten and advocate for change to more effectively address public health issues. Working to translating scientific research into applications to improved health practices and outcomes.
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Danielle Reed, PhD

Associate Director, Monelle Chemical Senses Center

Bitter taste in medicines constitutes a global public health challenge because of poor compliance with medication use. In humans, not everyone perceives bitterness in the same way in part due to inborn genetic differences in the bitter taste receptor gene family. We are developing reliable, human taste-cell screening platforms from ethnically diverse people to find bitter blockers with the ultimate aim to improve the taste and acceptance of perniciously bitter medicines for all people globally.
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Carmen E. Guerra, MD, M.S.C.E., F.A.C.P.

Associate Director of Diversity and Outreach, Abramson Cancer Center
Advisory Dean, Dr. Helen O. Dickens House

A cancer control researcher whose research seeks to better understand and design interventions to overcome barriers to accessing cancer screening and cancer clinical trials. Dr. Guerra established a colorectal cancer screening navigation program and a breast cancer screening navigation program for underserved individuals in Philadelphia which have screened over 3000 individuals for cancer.
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