About Me

My laboratory uses a wide range of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics tools to study the molecular basis of common human diseases. We routinely use next generation sequencing, gene expression analysis, and mass spectrometry to profile cells and tissues from human patients and animal models to identify early molecular changes that happen in target tissues and organs during the initial development of diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, or dyslipidemias and fatty liver disease. Our group has been developing novel methodologies to functionally study human genome variation, and to help understand how mutations and sequence variants that have been identified in large scale genetic studies (e.g. genome-wide association studies) actually affect the normal function of cells. Work in our lab ranges from basic molecular biology to tissue culture, high-end sequencing and mass spectrometry, and computational data analysis.

Current Highlights:

We have been developing novel technologies for the comprehensive characterization of proteins interacting with DNA and chromatin. Our work has resulted in a new approach called Hybridization Capture of Chromatin-Associated Proteins for Proteomics (HyCCAPP). This methodology enables the analysis of individual gene regions or promoter intervals, and the characterization of the bound proteins by mass spectrometry without any prior knowledge of binding proteins, or available antibodies. We are currently characterizing the effect of disease- and gene expression-associated promoter sequence variants on protein binding and promoter regulation.

TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is a large, non-profit weight loss support organization headquartered in Milwaukee, WI, with chapters across the U.S. TOPS has supported obesity research for the past several decades. As part of a large-scale genetic study, the Metabolic Risk Complications of Obesity (MRC-OB) Genes Study, our research focused on the analysis of the genetic contributions to obesity-related co-morbidities, especially elevated plasma triglyceride levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. We conducted extensive fine-mapping and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analyses for obesity-related lipid traits. In 2015, we established the TOPS GENOME Registry, a data and sample repository to support research efforts focused on the contribution of genetic and lifestyle factors on the development of obesity, and the ability to loose weight successfully, and we have begun the genetic and epidemiological analysis of the collected data.

We have also been involved in several programs to utilize non-human primate models in studies of the metabolic syndrome. This includes the comprehensive analysis of changes in the liver, brain and other organs in response to dietary challenges or aging. Here, we integrate genomic, proteomic, and metabolic profiling to explore the complex pathways and networks mediating the physiological changes.

Research Laboratory

Olivier Lab - Using a wide range of genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and bioinformatics tools to study the molecular basis of common human diseases.

Educational Program Involvement

Molecular Genetics and Genomics PhD
Program Research Interest: Identification of genetic variants that contribute to complex disease, Gene-environment interactions, Epigenetics, Genetic epidemiology, Bioinformatics

Molecular Medicine and Translational Science PhD
Program Research Interest: Analytical approaches to molecular and cellular synthesis, structure and function, Genetics and gene regulation, Cell communications, Organ systems, Pathophysiology