Lorin Crawford, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biostatistics, received a COBRE Computational Biology of Human Disease (CBHD) Institutional Pilot Award for work on “Marginal Epistasis Tests for Dishotomous Traits using Generalized Linear Models.” Dr. Crawford’s study will focus on Epistasis, commonly defined as the interaction between genetic loci, which has long been hypothesized to play a key role in defining the genetic architecture underlying complex traits. Existing epistatic mapping methods explicitly search over all pairwise or higher-order interactions when identifying significant nonlinear effects among genome-wide variants. The proposed study will provide a suite of methods which test for marginal epistasis. Here, variants that are involved in epistasis can be identified without the need to explicitly search over all possible interactions. This will greatly alleviate much of the statistical burden associated with epistasis mapping.
The proposed study will provide comprehensive statistical tools for modeling and mapping epistasis in array- and sequence-based genome-wide association studies. These methods are essential for comprehensively understanding the genetic architecture of complex human traits and diseases – a question of central importance to human health.
The goal of the COBRE CBHD Pilot Award Program is to identify and support activities of talented junior investigators working on human disease related questions that require computational analyses of complex data sets. Awardees gain access to the Computational Biology Core of staff data scientists who assist with data analysis. In addition, awardees may be considered for eventual recruitment to a Project Leader position in the COBRE CBHD program as existing Project Leaders attain their own independent funding and graduate from COBRE support.
Dr. Crawford began with Brown University’s Department of Biostatistics in July 2017 after attaining his PhD from North Carolina’s Duke University. Dr. Crawford is a member of Brown’s Center for Statistical Sciences and the Center for Computational Molecular Biology.