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Elizabeth O'Brien, PhD

Epidemiology and Population Health

Assistant Professor
Room No. 216, 485 E. Gray St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-852-5164
Fax: 502-852-3294

Background Information

Northwestern University, PhD, 1986. Anthropology: Population genetics, human evolution.

University of Utah, Dept. Human Genetics, Post-doctoral award, 1986-92. Genetic variation in Utah: pedigree & population structure, nuclear, mitochondrial & Y-chromosome variation.

University of Utah, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Research Associate, 2000-08. Genetic epidemiology: familial aggregation various genetic disorders, genetic variation & cancer risk, genetics of aging.

Research Interests

Genetic and genomic variation: effects on disease risk, aging, survival.

Mitochondrial variants: effects on somatic health, aging and survival.

Gene expression: intra-individual variation over human lifespan

CNV and other genomic variation: relation to plasticity, adaptation, and evolution of human life history traits.

Current Projects

Genetic Characterization of Breast Cancer Risk in Families: GWAS study to identify new high risk alleles for breast cancer drawing on cases and controls from very large families in Utah.

Fertility, Longevity and Aging: GWAS study to identify genetic and phenotypic characteristics of aging drawing on very large families in Utah with exceptional longevity and others.

Publications: Journal Articles

Kerber RA, O’Brien E, Smith K, Cawthon RM. (2001). Familial excess longevity in Utah genealogies. Journal of Gerontology Biological Sciences 56A:B130-B139.

Cawthon RM, Smith KR, O'Brien E, Sivatchenko A, Kerber RA. (2003). Association between telomere length in blood and mortality in people aged 60 years or older. Lancet, 361(9355):393-.

Kerber R A, O'Brien E, (2005). A cohort study of cancer risk in relation to family histories of cancer in the Utah population database. Cancer 103(9): 1906-1915.

O’Brien E, Kerber RA, Smith KR, Mineau G, Boucher K, Reed DL. (2007). Familial mortality in the Utah population database: characterizing a human aging phenotype. Journal of Gerontology Biological Sciences 62(8): 803-12.

Kerber RA, O’Brien E, Cawthon RM. (2009). Gene expression profiles associated with aging and mortality in humans. Aging Cell, Feb. 26, 2009; Accepted Article; doi: 101111/j.1474-9726.2009.00467.x.

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