Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2011
Home Department: Genetics
Faculty Advisors: Carlos D. Bustamante (Genetics) and Julie Baker (Genetics)

Research Title: Genetic basis of preeclampsia in populations adapted to high altitude

Research Description: Preeclampsia, a disorder that complicates 3-8% of pregnancies worldwide and jeopardizes the life of the mother and newborn, occurs at 2-3 fold higher prevalence at higher altitudes – most likely due to the hypoxic environment. Interestingly, the higher prevalence of preeclampsia observed at high altitudes is linked to those individuals with higher European ancestry, leading us to believe that the Amerindian population living at high altitude for over 10,000 years have developed a genetic adaptation protective against preeclampsia. We aim to use whole-genome DNA analysis, local functional expression, and clinical and histopathology data to disentangle the genetic basis of preeclampsia.

WHERE IS SHE NOW?

Patricia is an 8th grade living environment teacher at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) in Washington Heights in New York City. She is creating an inquiry-based and expeditionary curriculum that is rooted in social justice and culturally responsive teaching. Patricia transitioned from a career in academic science and medicine to a career in health education and worked for three years as a health educator in the Bay Area. She is the primary author of a comprehensive sexual health curriculum that incorporates a healing-centered framework that acknowledges systemic barriers and honors the wisdom and lived experiences that youth bring to these conversations.