Research Roundup: January 2021

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Research Roundup: January 2021

Here are summaries of a selection of the papers published by GCB faculty in January 2021:


Avshalom Caspi and Terri Moffitt were part of a large team that reported the first large meta-analysis of epigenome-wide association studies of aggressive behavior from over 15,000 people from 18 cohorts. Read more

Terrie Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi were part of a large team, with help from the Genomic Analysis and Bioinformatic Core Facility, that explored the genetic architecture of traits affecting educational attainment other than cognitive ability. Read more

Tom Mitchell-Olds and team used GWAS in Boechera stricta to examine flowering variation among environments and associations with climate conditions in home environments. They also used molecular population genetics to search for evidence of historical natural selection. Read more

Paul Magwene and team described the genetic architecture of six traits in C. deneoformans and then used GWAS function-valued QTL mapping to identify genetic differences that underlie variation in those six traits. Their work illustrates the complex effects that variants may have with respect to virulence potential. Read more


Ryan Baugh was part of a team that generated a chromosomal-scale genome for Caenorhabditis tropicalis and surveyed global diversity. Read more

To understand the diversity and evolution of molluscan inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs), Greg Wray was part of a team that produced a chromosome-level assembly of the hard clam genome and studied its IAP repertoire in comparison with other mollusks and non-molluscan metazoans. They also conducted transcriptomic studies to assess possible roles of hard clam IAPs in stress response. Read more

New Methods

Amy Goldberg and team developed methods that have uncovered recent traces of adaptation to malaria in the DNA of people from Cabo Verde, an island nation off the African coast. Read more 

Xiling Shen part of a team that created a patient-derived organoid model to generate insights into the underlying pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis. Read more

Sayan Mukherjee was part of a team that developed a gene set enrichment method and used it to test for age and sex interactions with protein expression levels in Alzheimer’s disease. They compared the pathway results between human and mouse species. Read more

Matthew Hirschey was part of a team that developed an intra-vital microscopy method to quantify lipid uptake in breast cancer murine models. Read more 

Tim Reddy and team developed a new method, BETS, that infers causal gene networks from gene expression time series. BETS runs quickly because it is parallelized, allowing even data sets with thousands of genes to be analyzed. Read more

Precision Medicine

Susanne Haga and GCB Summer Scholar alum Ariel Kantor investigated trends in the most innovative drug approvals through analysis of new molecular entities, novel drug products marketed for the first time in the United States. Read more


In this review, Ornit Chiba-Falek and team investigated the strategies to target APOE based on state-of-the-art technologies such as antisense oligonucleotides, monoclonal antibodies, and gene/base editing. They discuss the potential of these initiatives in advancing the development of novel precision medicine therapies to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Read more

Related News

stack of books

Research Roundup: February 2021

Here are summaries of a selection of the papers published by GCB faculty in February 2021:

John Rawls

Rawls elected to the American Academy of Microbiology

Duke scientists John Franklin Rawls, Ph.D., is among 65 new fellows elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
Terrie Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi in lab

Growing evidence that mentally ill youths become less healthy adults

Youth mental-health interventions could prevent physical illness and social costs

By Karl Leif Bates