Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Burchard and his colleagues have demonstrated that ethnic-specific factors could modify clinical and genetic associations and gene-environment interactions. For example, he demonstrated that the strongest predictor of bronchodilator response to albuterol was ethnic background. Despite having the highest asthma prevalence and mortality in the U.S, Puerto Rican and African American children have lower than expected response to albuterol. His work has had important clinical and public health implications for understanding how race and ethnicity modify risk for disease and response to therapy. In addition, his lab has demonstrated the utility of ancestry testing in the genetic epidemiology of asthma in minority populations. Specifically, he and his colleagues developed ancestry informative markers (AIMs) and determined the optimal number and type of genetic markers for measuring ancestry in Hispanic and African American subjects. Furthermore, his team demonstrated that the genetic complexity of Latino and African American populations could be leveraged to scientific advantage. His research group has demonstrated that pharmacogenetic associations are contextual in that genetic ancestry of the host can modify the strength of the association. In addition, as a “proof of principal,” they demonstrated that previously identified linkage associations for asthma could be identified by combining admixture mapping and traditional regression based methods of genomewide association data. This body of work has established Dr. Burchard as a national and international leader in the genetic epidemiology of diseases in minority populations.