New appointments to the Mary Ann & J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program

Xin Liu

Xin Liu, MD, PhD joined the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program at Children’s Memorial Research Center, and the Department of Pediatrics of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine as a tenure track assistant professor in January 2007. Dr. Liu’s research includes applied and methodological studies in genetic epidemiology, with the overall aim to decipher the mechanisms underlying complex traits. Her applied work has focused primarily on asthma and allergy-related phenotypes, such as serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels, and prostate cancer. Her methodological work has focused on the evaluation of tests for gene-environment interactions (GxE) using different epidemiological study designs (e.g. case-control, case-only, and case-parent trios) and the extension of hierarchical modeling on association studies of multiple disease-associated phenotypes. Currently, Dr. Liu is actively involved in the genetic association studies of preterm birth and food allergy. Her primary research interests are to evaluate interaction effects between multiple biological pathway-based candidate genes and relevant environmental factors on risk of childhood diseases.

Hui-Ju Tsai, MSc, MPH, PhD, joined the Mary Ann and J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research Program at Children's Memorial Research Center as a tenure track assistant professor in 2006. Dr. Tsai's training is in molecular biology, epidemiology, and statistical genetics. During her two-year postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco, she was very productive, publishing six peer-reviewed articles, receiving a Junior Research Training Fellowship from the American Lung Association of California in 2005, and the James Hui-Ju TsaiV. Neel Young Investigator Award by the International Genetic Epidemiology Society in 2005. Since joining the Smith CHR Program, Dr. Tsai has been actively participating in an ongoing preterm birth study and the Children's Memorial Food Allergy Study. Specifically, she has applied advanced statistical methods and computing algorithms to dissect genetic predispositions and gene-environment interactions of preterm birth and food allergy. In addition, Dr. Tsai has served as a co-principal investigator for a recently funded Chicago Community Trust grant and as a co-investigator for a pending NIH Food Allergy Cooperative Research Center grant.

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