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Unraveling medical mysteries with genetics

December 18, 2008 4:54:18 PM PST
New research could lead to new ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases.

Kaiser Permanente is building one of the largest genetic biobanks in the world, as well as a long-term research program to identify genetic and environmental factors affecting human health.

This project is for Northern California Kaiser Permanente members only; and if you are a member and want to participate, visit http://www.dor.kaiser.org.

About Catherine Schaefer, PhD
Catherine Schaefer, PhD is the Director of the Kaiser Permanente Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health. She joined the Division of Research (DOR), Kaiser Permanente, Northern California, as a Research Scientist in 1989.

Dr. Schaefer was trained as an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and received postdoctoral training in Psychiatric Epidemiology at Yale University. In collaboration with Dr. Risch, Dr. Selby, Ms. Rowell, and others at DOR, she has been engaged in developing and implementing plans for the Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health as a resource for new research focused on genetic epidemiology and pharmacogenetics of many diseases.

Dr. Schaefer's research interests center on the epidemiology of psychiatric and neurologic disorders. She is currently directs several NIH-funded projects focused on the role of genetic and environmental factors in schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and multiple sclerosis. She is currently completing a study of genetic factors in response to antidepressants, and is involved in several studies of the influence of early life, including prenatal exposures, on subsequent adult health.

About Stephen Van Den Eeden, PhD
Stephen Van Den Eeden, PhD is an epidemiologist at the Division of Research (DOR), Kaiser Permanente Northern California. He also holds a position as Lecturer in the Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Van Den Eeden's current research efforts are primarily focused on the epidemiology of environmental exposures, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer (with a focus on prostate and pancreatic cancer), and benign genitourinary conditions (e.g., benign prostatic hyperplasia, lower urinary tract symptoms, erectile dysfunction, and urinary incontinence).

Environmental studies have included examining the effect of ambient air pollution and cardiovascular diseases, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease using time-series and case-crossover approaches. These studies were funded by the US EPA, the California Air Resources Board, the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and Kaiser Foundation Research Institute.

Dr. Van Den Eeden is an Investigator on studies focused on environmental and genetic risks in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease. He is also collaborating on epidemiologic studies of restless legs syndrome and dystonia.

In addition, Dr. Van Den Eeden has a suite of studies looking at various aspects of prostate cancer, including a collaborative case-control study to evaluate the efficacy of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in reducing prostate cancer mortality, the validity of self-reported data on screening for prostate cancer, a study of the secular trends in the use of PSA and prostate cancer incidence and mortality, and a study of molecular markers of prostrate cancer survival. He is also a Co-Investigator on the California Men's Health Study cohort funded by the California Cancer Research Program, which is a prospective cohort study of over 84,000 men.

His research in benign genitourinary conditions include studies of the effect of diabetes on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS), and erectile dysfunction (ED). Other studies include investigating parturition factors and risk of urinary incontinence and prolapse in women.


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