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Faculty members of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Institute (GERI) at UC Irvine are active in an array of key areas of research focused on the effects of genetic, molecular and environmental factors affecting human health and disease.

Our members' interests include:

  • Chronic disease epidemiology (e.g., epidemiological study of cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthmas, metabolic syndromes and brain aging processes)
  • Biostatistical methods (e.g., statistical genetics, health statistics and advanced epidemiological methods)
  • Reproductive epidemiology
  • Genetics and molecular epidemiology
  • Nutritional epidemiology
  • Occupational epidemiology

Our goals

We are committed to expanding and integrating basic, clinical and epidemiologic programs to:

  • Identify and characterize genes responsible for inherited predisposition to cancer
  • Establish new approaches to studying interactions between genes and individual genetic variations, as well as the environment, to better understand cancer and other chronic disease risks
  • Identify the causes of diseases in relation to environmental exposures, lifestyle conditions, behaviors and genetic factors
  • Develop the infrastructure needed to establish effective interventions in individuals with inherited predispositions to cancer
  • Lead the way in developing informatics needed to collect, store, analyze and integrate molecular, epidemiologic and clinical data

We are similarly committed to improving the level of education of our future academic and clinical researchers. Their knowledge of sound epidemiologic principles serves the overall goal of improving public health at large.

Program highlights

Precision medicine — Dr. Hoda Anton-Culver will help lead an ambitious and far-reaching effort under the National Institutes of Health called the All of UsSM Research Program, formerly known as the PMI Cohort Program.

It will be a participant-engaged, data-driven enterprise that supports research at the intersection of lifestyle, environment and genetics in order to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.

To reflect the diversity of the U.S. population, the program will enroll participants from diverse social, racial/ethnic, ancestral, geographic and economic backgrounds, as well as all age groups and health statuses. The program data will be a broad, powerful resource for researchers who are working on a variety of important health questions.

Importantly, the program will focus not just on disease, but also on ways to increase an individual’s chances of remaining healthy throughout life.

Cancer prevention — The Athena Breast Health Network is a groundbreaking program designed to revolutionize breast cancer care by more efficiently merging research, technology, financing and healthcare delivery in a way that reduces the time needed to translate research findings into patient care. It is expected that the resulting rich database of information will shape breast cancer care for decades to come.

Cancer surveillance — The Cancer Surveillance Program of Orange County (CSPOC) was established in 1983 and is administered by GERI to help scientists, clinicians and members of the healthcare community promote cancer prevention and control in the county.

Designated geographical regions in California serve as a collective of regional registries that collect data and report to the state's central registry. CSPOC was the model regional program, having improved the efficiency of data collection and response to local needs more efficiently than the state registry. Since 1992, the Department of Epidemiology has also administered the San Diego/Imperial Organization for Cancer Control (SANDIOCC) program.

Environmental pollution and chronic diseases — Our environmental studies focus on the relationship of various disease symptoms to ambient air quality.

Studies being conducted include repeated measurements of air pollutants and aeroallergens as they relate to daily asthma symptom severity, using both clinical measurement tools and daily patient diaries.

These record degrees of symptoms, medication use, spatial location and physical activity; exposure assessments involving air-monitoring systems inside and outside subject homes to ascertain causal relationship with diseases established from prepartum to more age-related chronic diseases; and disease connected to commonly available tobacco-related products.