Fei Zou Awarded NIH Grant to Develop New Methods for Mapping Complex Traits

Fei Zou, CCGS faculty member and Assistant Professor in Biostatistics, was recently awarded a four-year R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop robust methods for complex trait association mapping. Dr. Zou's colleague in both CCGS and Biostatistics, Fred Wright, is a co-investigator on the grant. The main objectives of the project are to address statistical issues related to association mapping (or disequilibrium mapping) for complex genetic traits, such as those associated with common human diseases. The specific aims are to (1) develop simple and robust techniques for assessing population stratification when anonymous markers are available, but are not necessarily in linkage equilibrium with each other, (2) develop an efficient method for capturing the simultaneous effects of multiple genetic variants that individually make only a small contribution to the total disease risk, while controlling the overall false-positive rate, and (3) explore robust non-parametric methods for estimating and assessing haplotypes associated with disease: mapping disease-associated haplotypes without pre-assigning window size of the haplotype; mapping multiple pre-disposing haplotypes; and mapping when haplotypes cannot be discerned unambiguously. Drs. Zou and Wright plan to develop robust, yet efficient statistical methods to deal with such problems that have not been addressed or fully resolved in the field.

April 1, 2006