Dr Qinqin Huang

Postdoctoral Fellow

Qinqin’s work focuses on the genetic prediction of complex disease and traits in diverse populations.

After I graduated from the Peking University with a Bachelor in Biological Science, I started my PhD with Mike Inouye at the University of Melbourne, where I developed an interest in uncovering the genetic architecture of human disease and molecular traits. My PhD focused on the expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs). I performed extensive, empirically driven eQTL simulations to explore eQTL study designs and the performance of various analysis choices. Based on the insights of the simulation study, I selected optimal strategies for mapping eQTLs in two types of neonatal immune cells, monocytes and T cells, under resting and stimulatory conditions. I identified response eQTLs, with effects on gene expression modified by immune responses, for a great proportion of genes regulated by eQTLs. Lastly, I performed integrative analyses using the neonatal eQTLs and GWAS variants associated with immune-mediated diseases from external large cohort studies, to better understand the early-life origins of these diseases that develop later in life.

In 2019, I moved to the Wellcome Sanger Institute as a postdoc with Hilary Martin. Here, I am working on the genetic prediction of complex human disease and traits, with a particular focus on the transferability of polygenic scores derived from European populations into individuals of South Asian ancestry in the Genes & Health cohort. We are comparing imputation strategies using different imputation reference panels in this cohort. We are analysing electronic health record data to evaluate the clinical utility of polygenic scores for coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes in British South Asians. It is of great importance that diverse populations can benefit from individualised disease prediction and personalised intervention and treatment.

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