The Initiative in Social Genomics is one of six successful proposals in the first round of Cluster Hires at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The aim is for UW to become home to the largest and most innovative group of researchers pursuing topics in Social Genomics in the world. The Initiative in Social Genomics is one example of efforts being made on campus to expand research into genomics. Additionally, in the fall of 2018, the University also opened the Center for Human Genomics and Precision Medicine.
As part of the new Cluster Hiring Initiative in Social Genomics, an interdisciplinary group of scholars looked to hire three new tenure-track faculty members, all with appointments in relevant home departments, with expertise and interests in Social Genomics, defined as a field of research that integrates theories, data, and methods across the social, health, and genetic sciences.
These areas of interest were broadly characterized in three tenure-track faculty searches in Social Genomics. Lauren Schmitz joined UW in fall 2019 for the “Gene-Environment Interplay and/or Epigenetics” position. This September, UW welcomes Philipp Koellinger and Sam Trejo to fill the “Computational Approaches to Social Genomics” and “Implications of Social Genomics for Social and Public Policy” positions, respectively.
New Cluster Hire in Computational Approaches to Social Genomics
Professor Philipp Koellinger of Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam brings his expertise in social science genetics to UW’s La Follette School of Public Affairs this fall. 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 with a focus on statistical and computational approaches to genetic prediction (genetic risk scores/polygenic scores) and/or the application of these scores to answering social/health science questions.
New Cluster Hire in Implications of Social Genomics for Social and Public Policy
Sam Trejo, PhD candidate at Stanford University in the Center for Education Analysis, joins Public Affairs and Sociology as assistant professor this fall. 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.
Social Genomics: Funded Research
Applying Biodemography Methods to Advance our Understanding of Socioeconomic Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease
Principal Investigator: Fletcher
Principal Investigators: Malecki and Engelman
Principal Investigator: Lu
Social Genomics: Selected Publications
Fine-tuning Polygenic Risk Scores with GWAS Summary Statistics. Zijie Zhao, Yanyao Yi, Yuchang Wu, Xiaoyuan Zhong, Yupei Lin, Timothy J. Hohman, Jason Fletcher, Qiongshi Lu
Genome-wide association study reveals sex-specific genetic architecture of facial attractiveness. Bowen Hu, Ning Shen, James J. Li, Hyunseung Kang, Jinkuk Hong, Jason Fletcher, Jan Greenberg, Marsha R. Mailick, Qiongshi Lu
Examining sex differences in pleiotropic effects for depression and smoking using polygenic and gene‐region aggregation techniques. Lauren L. Schmitz, Arianna M. Gard, Erin B. Ware