Research laboratory of
Esteban G. Burchard, MD, MPH




Research interests / what I do


Esteban G. Burchard, MD, MPH
Principal Investigator

Complex gene-environment interactions in health, disease, and drug response; identifying risk factors for asthma in ethnically diverse populations, including social, environmental, and genetic factors that contribute to health disparities

For a detailed profile, see Genetics and Asthma: A Former Harold Amos Scholar Researches the Impact of Ancestry on Disease and Health Disparities.


Jessica An, MPH
Visiting Affiliate
PhD Student

Examining potential interactions of asthma risk factors; neighborhood-level effects on asthma; health disparities


Lisa Caine, RT
Clinical Recruiter

Clinical recruitment in San Francisco Bay Area, respiratory therapy


Maria G. Contreras
SFSU Build Student

Asthma in admix populations; drug response;gene-environment interactions, epigenetics, gene by gene interactions, and risk factors that may contribute to the disease.


Celeste Eng
R&D Scientist
Lab Manager

Management of the Asthma Collaboratory; data generation, sample management, high-throughput mutation detection, genotyping and sequencing technologies


Donglei Hu, PhD
Genetic Research Specialist

Discovering genetic and epigenetic factors in development and treatment of asthma in different ethnic groups, statistical analysis

Kevin Keys, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Statistical genetics, RNA-Seq, whole genome analysis, effects of genetic ancestry on lung function


Scott Huntsman, MS

Management of genetic data and programming, genome-wide SNP data, high-throughput sequencing, CNVs, methylation data

Jennifer Liberto,MS
Assistant Specialist

Statistical analysis, effects of genetic ancestry/ethnicity and health history on childhood asthma


Joaquín Magaña
Student Intern

Asthma in admix populations; drug response;gene-environment interactions, epigenetics, gene by gene interactions, and risk factors that may contribute to the disease.

Angel Mak, PhD
Director of Genetic Research

Genetics of complex traits, next-generation sequencing analysis, structural variation detection


Andreas Neophytou, PhD
Visiting Affiliate

Environmental and genetic risk factors for common chronic diseases, effects of air pollution exposures on childhood asthma


Sam S. Oh, PhD, MPH
Director of Epidemiology

Gene-environment interactions, health disparities, cancer, heart disease, molecular and genetic epidemiology


Oona Risse-Adams
High School Student Intern

Asthma in admixed populations; drug response; gene-gene interactions, and genetic variant associations


Sandra Salazar
Project Policy Analyst

Facilitates, coordinates, and supports all study recruitment and other related aspects of the research studies and collaboration agreements, management of study databases


Marquitta White, MS, PhD
Postdoctoral Scholar

Population genetics, genetics of complex disease, health disparities, pharmacogenetics, gene-gene interactions, genetic epidemiology

Jonathan Witonsky, MD
Pediatric Resident, UCSF

Genetic and epigenetic factors in the development of asthma, pulmonary function testing in admixed populations, and health disparities in clinical research.

Former lab members

Assistant professors

Who, Years mentored


Main research

Neeta Thakur (2011-2017)

Assistant Professor, UCSF

Defining mechanisms of social and environmental stressors in asthma, health disparities in asthma, pulmonary diseases, development of targeted interventions to address social determinants of asthma

Joshua Galanter (2007-2016)

Senior Safety Scientist, Genentech

Pulmonary diseases and clinical pharmacology, genetic and environmental determinants of asthma in minority populations

Dara Torgerson (2011-2013)

Assistant Professor, UCSF

Analytical strategies for identifying genetic contributions to complex disease in diverse populations, molecular evolution, statistical genetics, applied population genetics

UCSF clinical research post-doctoral fellows

Who, years mentored


Main research

Harriet Corvol (2007-2008)

Assistant Professor, Pediatric Pulmonology and Critical Care, Hôpital Trousseau, Paris, France

asthma pharmacogenetics

Shannon Thyne (2002-2007)

Professor, Pediatrics, UCSF

clinical asthma research

Yuhjung J. Tsai (2005-2006)

Physician, Johns Hopkins Medical Center

genetics, admixture, and asthma

UCSF PhD Post-doctoral Fellows

Who, years mentored


Main research

Sonia Carlson (2015)

Medical Resident, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine 

Social and environmental stress, biomarkers of inflammation, and asthma; health disparities in asthma

Maria Pino-Yanes (2012-2014)

Assistant Professor, University of La Laguna, Tenerife

Genetic basis of asthma and related phenotypes, admixture mapping, genome-wide association studies, identification of new genes associated with asthma and IgE levels in Latinos

Meghan McGarry (2012-2015)

Postdoctoral Fellow, UCSF Pediatrics

Clinical differences in drug response affecting asthma control and exacerbations among urban minority youths, health disparities in asthma, pediatric pulmonary diseases, drug response in cystic fibrosis patients

Nicolás E. Barceló (2014)

Medical Student, UCSF

Social stress, discrimination, violence, and asthma; obesity and inflammation; mental health; race disparities in health; humanities in medicine.

Melinda Aldrich (2007-2010)

Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University

genetic admixture and lung function in African Americans

Marc Via (2007-2010)

Assistant Professor, University of Barcelona

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Shweta Choudhry (2003-2009)

Assistant Professor, UCSF

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Clarence Gillett (2006-2008)

Research Scientist, DOW Chemical

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Hui Ju Tsai (2003-2006)

Assistant Professor,
Northwestern University

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Natasha Coyle (2003-2004)

Research Scientist, Applied Bio Systems

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Graduate students

Who, years mentored


Main research

Melissa Spear (2012-2014)

PhD Student, Biomedical Sciences

Genetics of complex traits, genome-wide association studies, pharmacogenetics, statistical genetics, population genetics, admixture mapping

Smriti Singh (2014)

Medical Student

Socioeconomic, genetic, and environmental factors of health influencing asthma outcomes in minority populations; increasing access to healthcare for underrepresented populations in urban areas; health economics

Katherine Nishimura (2011-2014)

NIH Postdoc

Environmental and genetic risk factors for common chronic diseases, effects of air pollution exposures on childhood asthma

Christopher Gignoux (2008-2013)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University

population genetics

Katherine Drake (2006-2012)

in industry

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Max Seibold (2004-2008)

Assistant Professor, National Jewish Health Center

genetics of lung disease

Anthony De Giacomo (2006-2008)

Orthopedic Surgery, Boston University

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Ronnie Sebro (2005-2008)

Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Undergraduate students


Who, years mentored


Main research

Elizabeth Castellanos (2011-2014)

preparing for medical school

social and environmental determinants of asthma in minority youth, clinical recruitment

Natalie Battle (2004-2006)

Physician, Washington University

asthma pharmacogenetics

Vanessa Aguilera (2009)

Graduate Student, UCSF

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Mariam Naqvi (2004-2006)

OB-Gyn Physician, Stanford University

asthma pharmacogenetics

Keyan Salari (2003-2005)

Urology Physician, Stanford

genetics, admixture, and asthma

Stacy Ly (2001-2003)

Physician, Davis, California

genetics, admixture, and asthma




Joan Balayan (2012-2015)

Pharmacy Student, UCSD

Leandro Guerrero (2016)

Graduate Student

Image credits: Sam S. Oh, Joshua Galanter