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Our past research focused on identifying structural variations and single-point mutations associated with psychiatric disorders. Our recent research aims to identify viral DNA in the human genome in the context of various human diseases. We developed next-generation sequencing-based approach to capture viral DNA/RNA in the human genome. Findings from our research may inform the development of disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies.

Potential viral etiologies in various human diseases

        Many human diseases are speculated to have viral etiologies, including cancers and non-cancer diseases. However, for most of these diseases, it is not clear which viruses are involved in the disease development or progression. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) allows us to capture and accurately characterize viral sequences in human DNA/RNA samples. We developed a virome-wide approach in our laboratory to identify viral integrations in the human genome. We have applied this approach to both simulated and experimentally-validated patient samples, and obtained high accuracy. Using this high-throughput screening approach, we identified novel viral integrations in the genomes of the general population as well as various patient samples.

Genetic analyses to identify disease-associated SNPs and structural variations using whole-exome (or genome) sequencing

        This part of research aims to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and insertions and deletions in various disease cohorts, using next-generation sequencing and advanced statistical and computational analyses. Findings from the research will provide better understanding of the disease mechanisms towards the development of disease risk prediction, and personalized treatment.