• Post-Doctoral Fellows

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  • Adel Driss, Ph.D. (Tunisia, North Africa & Croatia)
    Research Interest
    : Genomic Applications in Hemoglobinopathies Research.
    Project Title: Functional Genomics of Sickle Cell Disease in Tunisia
    The main hypothesis is that populations with different geographical and genetic backgrounds have distinct gene polymorphisms leading to disease phenotypes. We propose to conduct a genetic study on sickle cell and thalassemic patients of Tunisian origin to identify possible polymorphisms and modifier genes correlated with the vaso-occlusive crisis phenotype. We established collaboration with the Department of Hematology in the Aziza Othmana Hospital in Tunisia. We have obtained IRB clearance from MSM and from the scientific ethics committee in Tunisia. So far, we have collected blood samples and precise data (using a specific questionnaire) from 98 patients and controls after their signed consent.

    H. Idu Hyacinth, MD, MPH (Nigeria, West Africa)
    Research Interest
    : Genomic Applications in Hemoglobinopathies Research
    Project Title:  Pro- and anti-inflammatory markers associated with cardiac and central nervous system complication in sickle cell anemia
    The purpose of this project is to find out the pro- and anti-inflammatory marker associated with and that may possibly modify the phenotypes of sickle cell disease cardiac and neurological complications. The project also seeks to further establish the role of nutritional intervention in modifying these phenotypes.  To study cardiac complications, we have collected data from three sets of patients two of which has sickle cell anemia and the other group are anemic non-sickle cell anemia patients to serve as controls. One of the two cell anemia group were patients that came in vaso-occlusive crisis. We are examining the prevalence of myocardial ischemia among children with sickle cell anemia and plasma proteins that modify this phenotype in this population.  Using human and murine models, we are examining the effect of BDNF on central nervous system complications of sickle cell anemia via modification of levels of inflammatory mediators.  The third part of our work will be examining how dietary supplement extra-rich in protein and arginine will modify the above phenotypes.

    Liu Mingli, Ph.D. (China)
    Research Interest:
    Genomic Applications in Hemoglobinopathies Research.
    Project Title:  Functional Genomics of Sickle Cell Disease and Malaria Susceptibility
    Globally, regions endemic to malaria overlap regions with sickle cell anemia (SCA) and other hemoglobinopathies and yet interactions between malaria and SCA are not well understood.  The impact of SCA status on malaria severity has not been fully investigated. Therefore, we propose to determine the effects of SCA on cerebral malaria (CM) or vice versa to enable development of a novel and effective therapy against the co-morbidities of SCA and malaria.  We will also investigate genomic and epigenomic alterations (CpG methylation and histone deacetylation) in various hemoglobinopathies compared with controls (murine model).  Different signaling transduction pathways will subsequently be analyzed by microRNA array followed by development of markers for diagnosis and prognosis for various hemoglobinopathies.