Why now

Cardiovascular disease continues to be a major public health issue.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, despite recent advances in pharmacological therapy. In 2020, almost 30% of all deaths were caused by cardiovascular disease (exceeding both cancer and COVID-19 deaths).

Precision medicine is revolutionizing healthcare.

Precision medicine tailors drug therapy based on an individual’s unique genetic makeup, lifestyle, and environment. The finding that not all patients respond favorably to the same cardiovascular therapeutic regimen suggests that a precision medicine approach may improve outcomes.

There is a renewed awareness that diverse populations are underrepresented in biomedical research.

Despite established evidence for differences in efficacy and safety of cardiovascular drugs across ancestrally diverse groups, the majority of precision medicine research is conducted from study populations with predominantly European ancestry. The inclusion of diverse study participants ensures that advances in precision medicine research will benefit patients from diverse backgrounds worldwide.

Why here

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is an ideal institution to conduct research on precision medicine for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease for several reasons.

World-class expertise: UCSF is home to a diverse group of world-class researchers, clinicians, and educators who are dedicated to advancing the frontiers of medicine. The institution is consistently ranked among the top professional schools and research universities in the world.

Focused, collaborative environment: UCSF is the leading university exclusively focused on health, and it is known for its collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to research, with scientists and clinicians from different fields working together to tackle complex medical challenges. This is essential for advancing precision medicine, which requires expertise in multiple disciplines including genetics, epidemiology, and clinical care.

Access to diverse patient populations: As a leading academic medical center, UCSF has access to diverse patient populations from a range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. This is important for developing more effective treatments for cardiovascular disease in diverse populations.

Cutting-edge technology and resources: UCSF has state-of-the-art resources that are essential for precision medicine research including high performance computing workstations, core facilities, and the robust Precision Medicine center.

UCSF Precision Medicine center: UCSF has been at the forefront of precision medicine since its inception. UCSF investigators provided leadership for the 2011 National Academy of Sciences committee that envisioned and named precision medicine, and helped develop President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, announced at the 2015 State of the Union address. The UCSF Precision Medicine center offers funding, expertise, and opportunities for collaboration with leading precision medicine scientists.

Clinical pharmacogenetics implementation program: As of 2023, UCSF is offering pharmacogenetic testing to patients in the course of clinical care. The test provides genetic information on 15 genes and 56 medications across multiple conditions, making it the most comprehensive of its kind in the United States. This program paves the way for future clinical research in pharmacogenetics that will ultimately advance patient care using precision medicine.

Our lab team

Our group prides itself on team science. We leverage each other’s individual skills in pharmacology, cardiovascular disease, genetics, epidemiology, biostatistics, bioinformatics, and project management to accomplish our research objectives. At the core of our research is a deep passion for promoting diversity, equality, and inclusivity. Thus, our research is also informed by our diverse perspectives built on the foundation of our varied walks of life.

Our affiliations and collaborations

The Oni-Orisan Lab is within the Department of Clinical Pharmacy of the UCSF School of Pharmacy and the Institute for Human Genetics. We also have affiliations with the Cardiovascular Research Institute (CVRI), the Multiethnic Health Equity Research Center (MERC), the Pharmaceutical Sciences and Pharmacogenomics PhD program (PSPG), the Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (CPT) training program, and the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences (BTS).

We have strong collaborations within and outside of UCSF. These include projects with:

Organization Name 

Tom Hoffmann, PhD

Ronald Krauss, MD

Marisa Medina, PhD

Neil Risch, PhD

Sook Wah Yee, PhD

Elad Ziv, MD

Catherine Tcheandjieu, PhD

Julie Lynch, PhD, MBA, RN

Kyung Min Lee, PhD

Tim Assimes, MD, PhD

Carlos Iribarren, MD, MPH, PhD

Cathy Schaefer, PhD

Laura Ramsey, PhD

Our principal investigator

The lab is led by Akinyemi (Akin) Oni-Orisan, PharmD, PhD, in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at UCSF. Oni-Orisan is a pharmacist-scientist with board certification in applied pharmacology from the American Board of Clinical Pharmacology (ABCP) and in clinical lipidology from the Accreditation Council of Clinical Lipidology (ACCL). He has pharmacy practice experience in Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), cardiac stepdown, and outpatient (advanced dyslipidemia clinic) settings. Oni-Orisan received his PharmD from University of Michigan in 2010 and his PhD from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. He completed a postdoc at UCSF in 2017 and joined the UCSF School of Pharmacy as a faculty member thereafter.