Courtney Gray Montgomery, Ph.D.
Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program
Genes determine your height, hair color and even, in some cases, whether or not you will get certain diseases. Much of what scientists know about human disease today has been learned from the study of genetics, and in my lab, we focus on how genes can trigger the onset of disease. In particular, we study the role that genes play in cancer and autoimmune disease.
Today, approximately 5 percent of colon cancers are known to have genetic causes. Our lab is now looking for other genetic factors that could trigger the disease. By pinpointing a genetic basis for certain colon cancers, it may be possible to determine those at high risk of developing them. Such insight could be crucial into extending the lives of patients, as colon cancer is often curable when treated early.
We also study the genetic factors that lead to the development of autoimmune diseases. We focus our work on two such conditions—lupus and sarcoidosis.
In lupus, the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues. Our lab is working to identify the genes responsible for the initial launching of these attacks. By discovering the point where the immune system turns on itself, scientists can develop ways to stop the disease’s progression before damage occurs. Finding new treatments for lupus represents a major unmet medical need, as it has been 50 years since the FDA approved a new treatment for this debilitating, sometimes fatal disease that affects up to 10 million people worldwide.
Sarcoidosis occurs when small nodules form in and around organs, leading to arthritis-like swelling and inflammation. This poorly understood condition is more common and severe in African Americans than in Caucasians. By studying family members with the disease, we hope to find the genes that cause this condition, information that ultimately could lead to more effective methods of treatment.
B.A. (honors), Oklahoma City University, 1995
M.S., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, 2000
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, 2004
Honors and Awards
1995 Outstanding Science Student Award, Oklahoma City University
1995 Rhodes Scholar Semifinalist, Oxford University
1999 2nd Place, College of Public Health Graduate Student Research Competition, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
2000 Graduate Student Association Award, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
2000-2002 NHLBI trainee fellow, Case Western Reserve University Division of Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
2001 Nominee for C.W. Cotterman Award, American Society of Human Genetics
2002-2003 Student of the Year Award, Case Western Reserve University Division of Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology
2012 J. Donald and Patricia Capra Award for Scientific Achievement
Editor, BMC Genetics, Genetic Analysis Workshop (2004-2005)
Reviewer, Human Heredity (2005-present)
Reviewer, Genes and Immunity (2005-present)
Reviewer, BioTechniques (2005-present)
Reviewer, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (2006-present)
Editorial Board Member, Open Genetics Journal (2007)
Reviewer, BMC Genetics, Genetic Analysis Workshop (2007)
Reviewer, Annals of Human Genetics (2007-present)
Reviewer, Biometrical Journal (2007-present)
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Statistical Association
American Society of Human Genetics
International Genetic Epidemiology Society
Joined OMRF Scientific Staff in 2008.
My laboratory is focused on the identification of genes predisposing to complex diseases, particularly colon cancer and inflammatory disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and sarcoidosis. We are also involved in the development of new statistical and computational tools to aid in the discovery of these genes.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer mortality in adult Americans with each American carrying a 6% lifetime risk of developing the disease. While early stage cancers can be highly curable, late stage colon cancers remain incurable. Both somatic and germline mutations have been associated with the development of colon cancer and its precursor adenomatous colon polyps (ACPs). However, familial colon cancers with known cause: Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) and Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC) account for <1% and ~5% of all colon cancer cases annually, respectively. Our studies, in collaboration with our colleagues at Case Western Reserve University, are aimed at identifying additional alleles predisposing to colon neoplasia vital to describing individuals at high risk for developing colon cancer, and for whom colon cancer screening and early detection can have potentially life-saving benefits.
SLE is a systemic autoimmune disease most frequently and severely affecting women and has diverse clinical manifestations involving the joints, kidneys, brain, and several other organ systems. OMRF and our studies have played a major role in a longstanding effort devoted to identifying genes involved in SLE. The focus of my most recent work in this area is the identification of genes involved in the targets of the earliest autoimmune response. Identification of these genes would give us insight into the biological mechanisms underlying SLE and, potentially, other autoimmune disorders and therefore the ability to intervene in disease progression before or at the earliest stages of clinical presentation.
Sarcoidosis, a systemic granulomatous disease, has been associated with various environmental exposures and infectious agents, as well as family history. It is characterized by the presence of granulomas in the liver, lymph glands, bone marrow, brain, and most frequently, the lungs. Sarcoidosis is more prevalent in women and, in the United States, African Americans are both more commonly and more severely affected than Caucasians. Our studies, together with our collaborators at Henry Ford Health Systems, have identified a major genetic component on chromosome 5 unique to African Americans. Current studies focus on using ancestry-specific information to help elucidate the exact location of these genes.
Lessard CJ, Li H, Adrianto I, Ice JA, Rasmussen A, Grundahl KM, Kelly JA, Dozmorov MG, Miceli-Richard C, Bowman S, Lester S, Eriksson P, Eloranta ML, Brun JG, Goransson LG, Harboe E, Guthridge JM, Kaufman KM, Kvarnstrom M, Jazebi H, Graham DS, Grandits ME, Nazmul-Hossain AN, Patel K, Adler AJ, Maier-Moore JS, Farris AD, Brennan MT, Lessard JA, Chodosh J, Gopalakrishnan R, Hefner KS, Houston GD, Huang AJ, Hughes PJ, Lewis DM, Radfar L, Rohrer MD, Stone DU, Wren JD, Vyse TJ, Gaffney PM, James JA, Omdal R, Wahren-Herlenius M, Illei GG, Witte T, Jonsson R, Rischmueller M, Ronnblom L, Nordmark G, Ng WF, for UK Primary Sjogren's Syndrome Registry, Mariette X, Anaya JM, Rhodus NL, Segal BM, Scofield RH, Montgomery CG, Harley JB, Sivils KL. Variants at multiple loci implicated in both innate and adaptive immune responses are associated with Sjogren's syndrome. Nat Genet 2013. [Abstract] EPub
Rasmussen A, Ice JA, Li H, Grundahl K, Kelly JA, Radfar L, Stone DU, Hefner KS, Anaya JM, Rohrer M, Gopalakrishnan R, Houston GD, Lewis DM, Chodosh J, Harley JB, Hughes P, Maier-Moore JS, Montgomery CG, Rhodus NL, Farris AD, Segal BM, Jonsson R, Lessard CJ, Scofield RH, Sivils KL. Comparison of the American-European Consensus Group Sjogren's syndrome classification criteria to newly proposed American College of Rheumatology criteria in a large, carefully characterised SICCA cohort. Ann Rheum Dis 73:31-38, 2014. [Abstract]
McKeigue PM, Colombo M, Agakov F, Datta I, Levin A, Favro D, Gray-Montgomery C, Iannuzzi MC, Rybicki BA. Extending admixture mapping to nuclear pedigrees: application to sarcoidosis. Genet Epidemiol 37:256-266, 2013. [Abstract]
Adrianto I, Wang S, Wiley GB, Lessard CJ, Kelly JA, Adler AJ, Glenn SB, Williams AH, Ziegler JT, Comeau ME, Marion MC, Wakeland BE, Liang C, Kaufman KM, Guthridge JM, Alarcón-Riquelme ME, BIOLUPUS and GENLES Networks, Alarcón GS, Anaya JM, Bae SC, Kim JH, Joo YB, Boackle SA, Brown EE, Petri MA, Ramsey-Goldman R, Reveille JD, Vila LM, Criswell LA, Edberg JC, Freedman BI, Gilkeson GS, Jacob CO, James JA, Kamen DL, Kimberly RP, Martin J, Merrill JT, Niewold TB, Pons-Estel BA, Scofield RH, Stevens AM, Tsao BP, Vyse TJ, Langefeld CD, Harley JB, Wakeland EK, Moser KL, Montgomery CG, Gaffney PM. Association of two independent functional risk haplotypes in TNIP1 with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Rheum 64:3695-3705, 2012. [Abstract]
Wang S, Adrianto I, Wiley GB, Lessard CJ, Kelly JA, Adler AJ, Glenn SB, Williams AH, Ziegler JT, Comeau ME, Marion MC, Wakeland BE, Liang C, Kaufman KM, Guthridge JM, Alarcón-Riquelme ME, on behalf of the BIOLUPUS and GENLES Networks, Alarcón GS, Anaya JM, Bae SC, Kim JH, Joo YB, Boackle SA, Brown EE, Petri MA, Ramsey-Goldman R, Reveille JD, Vilá LM, Criswell LA, Edberg JC, Freedman BI, Gilkeson GS, Jacob CO, James JA, Kamen DL, Kimberly RP, Martin J, Merrill JT, Niewold TB, Pons-Estel BA, Scofield RH, Stevens AM, Tsao BP, Vyse TJ, Langefeld CD, Harley JB, Wakeland EK, Moser KL, Montgomery CG, Gaffney PM. A functional haplotype of UBE2L3 confers risk for systemic lupus erythematosus. Genes Immun 13:380-387, 2012. [Abstract]
Lessard CJ, Adrianto I, Ice JA, Wiley GB, Kelly JA, Glenn SB, Adler AJ, Li H, Rasmussen A, Williams AH, Ziegler J, Comeau ME, Marion M, Wakeland BE, Liang C, Ramos PS, Grundahl KM, Gallant CJ, Marta E.Alarcón-Riquelme for the BIOLUPUS and GENLES Networks, Alarcón GS, Anaya JM, Bae SC, Boackle SA, Brown EE, Chang DM, Cho SK, Criswell LA, Edberg JC, Freedman BI, Gilkeson GS, Jacob CO, James JA, Kamen DL, Kimberly RP, Kim JH, Martin J, Merrill JT, Niewold TB, Park SY, Petri MA, Pons-Estel BA, Ramsey-Goldman R, Reveille JD, Scofield RH, Song YW, Stevens AM, Tsao BP, Vila LM, Vyse TJ, Yu CY, Guthridge JM, Kaufman KM, Harley JB, Wakeland EK, Langefeld CD, Gaffney PM, Montgomery CG, Moser KL. Identification of IRF8, TMEM39A, and IKZF3-ZPBP2 as Susceptibility Loci for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus in a Large-Scale Multiracial Replication Study. Am J Hum Genet 90:648-660, 2012. [Abstract]
Adrianto I, Lin CP, Hale JJ, Levin AM, Datta I, Parker R, Adler A, Kelly JA, Kaufman KM, Lessard CJ, Moser KL, Kimberly RP, Harley JB, Iannuzzi MC, Rybicki BA, Montgomery CG. Genome-wide association study of African and European Americans implicates multiple shared and ethnic specific loci in sarcoidosis susceptibility. PLoS One 7:e43907, 2012. [Abstract]
Adrianto I, Wen F, Templeton A, Wiley G, King JB, Lessard CJ, Bates JS, Hu Y, Kelly JA, Kaufman KM, Guthridge JM, Alarcón-Riquelme ME, Anaya JM, Bae SC, Bang SY, Boackle SA, Brown EE, Petri MA, Gallant C, Ramsey-Goldman R, Reveille JD, Vila LM, Criswell LA, Edberg JC, Freedman BI, Gregersen PK, Gilkeson GS, Jacob CO, James JA, Kamen DL, Kimberly RP, Martin J, Merrill JT, Niewold TB, Park SY, Pons-Estel BA, Scofield RH, Stevens AM, Tsao BP, Vyse TJ, Langefeld CD, Harley JB, Moser KL, Webb CF, Humphrey MB, Montgomery CG, Gaffney PM. Association of a functional variant downstream of TNFAIP3 with systemic lupus erythematosus. Nat Genet 43:253-258, 2011. [Abstract]
Gray-McGuire C, Guda K, Adrianto I, Lin CP, Natale L, Potter JD, Newcomb P, Poole EM, Ulrich CM, Lindor N, Goode EL, Fridley BL, Jenkins R, Le Marchand L, Casey G, Haile R, Hopper J, Jenkins M, Young J, Buchanan D, Gallinger S, Adams M, Lewis S, Willis J, Elston R, Markowitz SD, Wiesner GL. Confirmation of linkage to and localization of familial colon cancer risk haplotype on chromosome 9q22. Cancer Res 70:5409-5418, 2010. [Abstract]
Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program, MS 58
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
825 N.E. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Phone: (405) 271-2584
Fax: (405) 271-2578