Fall 2020 ISG Updates

This fall, Philipp Koellinger and Sam Trejo join past cluster-hire Lauren Schmitz in filling the three tenure-track faculty positions created within the Initiative in Social Genomics (ISG). This interdisciplinary group of scholars, along with other core faculty—Corinne Engelman, Jason Fletcher, Hyunseung Kang, James Li, and Qiongshi Lu—combine their interests and expertise in Social Genomics to integrate data, methods, and theories across genetic, health, and social sciences. Their research efforts will be supported by other cross-campus collaborators, postdocs, and graduate students.

Philipp Koellinger joins UW–Madison from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as professor in the La Follette School of Public Affairs. As a principal investigator and co-founder of several consortiums, notably the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium (SSGAC) and the BIG BEAR Consortium, he brings extensive knowledge on computational approaches to social genomics. He is tasked with developing and maintaining a cutting-edge, highly visible research program that specializes in data integration from genomic and social science sources. The program will focus on statistical and computational approaches to genetic prediction and applying genetic risk scores and polygenic scores to social/health science questions.

Sam Trejo recently completed his PhD at Stanford University’s Center for Education Policy Analysis and joins UW as assistant professor in Public Affairs and Sociology. Trejo’s research explores the implications of social, environmental, and genetic factors on public policy and human development. At UW, he will lead a vigorous, innovative research program that specializes in integrating genomic and social/health science data, methods, and theories in pursuit of answering questions relevant to social and public policy.

Meanwhile, three projects received 2020 seed grants from the Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine at UW–Madison. These grants are awarded to UW researchers to conduct new work in either precision medicine or applied human genomics. Congratulations to James Li, Qiongshi Lu, and Philipp Koellinger, core ISG faculty, who are investigators on these successful project awards:

  • Machine learning-assisted precision medicine for smoking cessation
    Investigators: John Curtin, Tim Baker, Megan Piper, James Li, Jerry Zhu
  • Leveraging genomics and neuroimaging to improve the diagnostic accuracy and specificity of autism and ADHD diagnoses
    Investigators: James Li, Brittany Travers, Qiongshi Lu
  • Improved polygenic prediction of disease risks for targeted early interventions
    Investigator: Philipp Koellinger