• April 3, 2014 (all day)
  • April 4, 2014 (all day)

CIHR STAGE International Speaker Seminar Series – Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee

Dr. Bhramar Mukherjee, Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, will deliver TWO talks in Toronto on April 3 and 4, 2014 as part of the CIHR STAGE International Speaker Seminars Series.

Thursday, April 3, 9-10 am

Talk Title: Genetic association and gene-environment interaction: Are we making progress with targeted disease prevention and treatment?


SickKids Genetics Grand Rounds Seminar

Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning

Main Auditorium, Second Floor

686 Bay Street Toronto, ON M5G 0A4

Abstract: In this talk I will discuss how the paradigm of studying genetic architecture of a complex trait has shifted from linkage studies to genomewide association studies (GWAS) over the last two decades, and how important it is to characterize the complex interplay of genes and environment in trying to learn about disease etiology. Taking colorectal cancer as an example, I will share my experience as a biostatistician working on the interface of cancer epidemiology and genetics, trying to understand multiple aspects of predicting disease risk. On one hand are the high-risk families with familial colorectal cancer coming to genetic counseling clinic, wanting to know about disease risk and prevention; on the other hand are large-scale post-GWAS studies of sporadic colorectal cancer, trying to search for susceptibility loci in an agnostic way, with each loci contributing very modestly to disease risk. I will explain how we are learning from fragments of data from these different study designs and then trying to integrate them into a cohesive disease risk model. I will also try to quantify the added information from the genes in presence of established environmental risk factors in terms of risk prediction and risk stratification. The talk will end with a discussion of an important question: the era of personalized medicine and targeted prevention, has it arrived, or are we still far away?

Friday, April 4, 2014, 12 noon-1 pm

Talk Title: Gene-environment interactions: new directions and novel applications

Seminar Details

12:00 noon – 1:00 pm

Location: The Hospital for Sick Children, CDIU Multimedia Theatre, Room 4132, 4th Floor, Elm Elevators, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON.

Abstract: In this talk I will discuss the problem of analyzing gene-environment interaction (GEI) in longitudinal cohort studies. While the statistical literature on analyzing GEI in case-control studies is vast, the literature on longitudinal studies is limited. Several existing large cohort studies have collected genetic data in recent years and explored GEI from a hypotheses-driven pathway-based approach or an agnostic genomewide approach. We will consider two problems with repeated measures on quantitative traits over time, (a) characterizing time-varying contribution of the interaction term and (b) to develop multi-marker pathway-based tests for interaction instead of single SNP analysis. We will propose two novel statistical approaches to handle these two problems. The methods will be illustrated by data from the Normative Aging Study (NAS) of Boston area veterans and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). We will conclude with a discussion of what we need to do better in order to characterize reproducible and believable GEI in terms of both design and analysis of future studies.

Post SeminarGroup Discussion

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Location: The Hospital for Sick Children, Room 1248, 1st Floor, 155 Elizabeth Street, Toronto, ON.

Light refreshments will be served.


Bhramar Mukherjee is currently a Professor of Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, University of Michigan. She did her Ph.D in Statistics from Purdue University in 2001. She was an Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Florida from 2002-2006, before coming to Michigan. Her research interests are gene-environment interactions, Bayesian methods in genetic and environmental epidemiology and statistical analysis under outcome dependent sampling. Dr. Mukherjee has authored more than one hundred articles in reputed Statistics, Biostatistics and Epidemiology journals. She is leading multiple NIH and NSF grants on gene-environment interaction analysis as principal investigator. She is the director of Biostatistics core in two large center grants related to environmental health. She is an elected member of the International Statistical Institute and is a fellow of the American Statistical Association. She is a member of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and Associate Director of the Cancer Biostatistics Training Grant. She has won multiple awards for her teaching accomplishments including the 2012 School of Public Health Excellence in Teaching Award at University of Michigan.

For more details, visit our website:

Please arrive early as seating is limited. For more information, email Esther Berzunza at

Seminars are sponsored by The Hospital for Sick Children, the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Department of Statistics of the University of Toronto, the Ontario Cancer Institute of the University Health Network, and the CIHR Institute of Genetics.