Rick Kittles, PhD

Director, Division of Population Genetics, Center for Applied Genetics and Genomic Medicine
Professor, Surgery
Professor, Public Health

I have a broad background in genetic epidemiological approaches and high throughput technologies to study the genetics of complex traits and risks for common diseases, with an emphasis on health disparities. I have a broad background in human genetics, bioinformatics, and biostatistics. In particular, I have extensive experience in the analysis of genomic data, and the data generated from the NGS platforms (e.g., the 1000 Genomes Project data). In addition, I also have experience in genome-wide association studies. Early in my career I gained valuable experience collaborating with clinicians, epidemiologists, and geneticists, developing international collaborations that have been quite successful in recruiting cohorts of hospital and clinic-based clinical samples from African American communities in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, indigenous West Africans from rural Nigeria, and the Caribbean for genetic studies of complex traits and disease. I also gained experience in developing epidemiological databases for disease studies. I am presently funded by the NIMHD/ NIH to study genetic and environmental modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in order to improve our understanding of the role serum Vitamin D plays in prostate cancer disparities. I also received research funding from the Department of Defense and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for cancer disparities research. A major focus of my work over the years has been on measuring and utilizing west African admixture in studies of genetic disease among African Americans. I also am an experienced mentor. Currently, I mentor 4 junior faculty, 2 of which have active K awards. I have personally trained 12 Postdoctoral fellows and residents, 15 graduate students towards their degrees (7 Ph.D. and 8 Masters) and currently there is a post-doctoral researcher, 2 graduate students, and 2 undergraduates in my lab.