Trainee Author: Ma’en Obeidat, PhD
University of British Columbia
Centre for Heart Lung Innovation
Obeidat, Ma’en, Hao, Ke, Bossé, Yohan, Nickle, David C., Nie, Yunlong, Postma, Dirkje S., Laviolette, Michel, Sandford, Andrew J., Daley, Denise D., Hogg, James C., Elliott, W. Mark Fishbane, Nick, Timens, Wim, Hysi, Pirro G., Kaprio, Jaakko, Wilson, James F., Hui, Jennie, Rawal, Rajesh, Schulz, Holger Stubbe, Beate, Hayward, Caroline, Polasek, Ozren, Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta, Zhao, Jing Hua, Jarvis, Deborah, Kähönen, Mika, Franceschini, Nora, North, Kari E., Loth, Daan W., Brusselle, Guy G., Smith, Albert Vernon, Gudnason, Vilmundur, Bartz, Traci M., Wilk, Jemma B., O’Connor, George T., Cassano, Patricia A., Tang, Wenbo, Wain, Louise V., Artigas, María Soler Gharib, Sina A., Strachan, David P., Sin, Don D., Tobin, Martin D., London, Stephanie J., Hall, Ian P., Paré, Peter D. Molecular mechanisms underlying variations in lung function: a systems genetics analysis. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Published Online: 21 September 2015
This paper was chosen because of the important way that the authors have identified genes fundamental in the variation of lung function. They present testable hypotheses in the treatment for COPD for future studies and, importantly, give insight into the pathogenesis and genetics of obstructive lung diseases.
This study represents the combination of GWAS and eQTLs approaches and applies them to lung function. This approach is widely being expanded to additional studies in human genetics.
ASHG: Could you describe your research for us?
Dr. Obeidat: My research focuses on using “omics” to better understand the pathogenesis of complex respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and to translate the findings into the identification of novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets to alleviate the disease. I have a broad interest in the field of human genetics and its application for deciphering the biology of complex diseases, drug and biomarker discoveries, pharmacogenomics, and precision medicine.
ASHG: What are your career goals?
Dr. Obeidat: Ultimately, I am aiming to discover novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets for COPD and other common respiratory diseases. To achieve this, I aim to lead a productive and active group focusing on translational –omics and precision medicine in respiratory diseases.
ASHG: Why did you choose genetics as your field of study?
Dr. Obeidat: I was trained as a pharmacist, and after graduation I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. During this time, I realized patients and physicians need novel, innovative, and effective medications for common diseases.
At the same time, I was fascinated by the potential applications of the Human Genome Project to human health and so I decided to pursue my PhD in molecular medicine, focusing on large scale population genetics as well as molecular and functional genetics applied to respiratory diseases.
ASHG: Describe yourself in three words.
Dr. Obeidat: Curious, Collaborative, Creative.