SRP Student Highlight: Seunggeun Lee, Harvard School of Public Health
Superfund Research Program
Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Superfund Research Program (SRP) postdoctoral researcher Seunggeun Lee, Ph.D., will soon be an established independent researcher, after receiving an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00).
Lee currently works with David Christiani, Ph.D., who leads an HSPH SRP project to analyze genome-wide association data to find genetic variants that interact with neurotoxic metals such as lead, arsenic, and manganese. Identifying these variants will increase understanding of neurotoxic metal effects on biological processes, and thus help find better ways to protect children from toxic metals.
In June 2012, Lee received a K99/R00 Award from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). In his grant, he proposes to develop computational methods to analyze rare variants in sequencing data. These statistical methods for genetic data analysis will support research to find genetic basis of complex diseases.
“The Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is a truly remarkable technology and is revolutionizing the landscape of medical and human genetics,” said Lee. “However, NGS produces enormous sizes of data, and the main challenge is to find genetic variants associated with complex diseases in such large datasets.” Lee proposes to use kernel regression approach for rare variants analysis, and will extend this framework for more complex study designs.
“SRP has provided me a great opportunity to analyze real data, and has motivated me to develop novel methods to unravel genetic effects and gene-by-environment interaction effects on complex traits,” said Lee. “These experiences helped me prepare to write my own grant.”