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Nath, Swapan K.

Swapan K. Nath, Ph.D.

Swapan K. Nath, Ph.D.

Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program

Adjunct Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Almost every common and complex disease has a genetic basis. In other words, complex diseases are defined as diseases that are ultimately determined by a number of genetic and environmental factors. Therefore, identification of the genes is a prerequisite to understanding the biological basis of the disease. In my lab, we primarily focus on identifying and studying genes associated with lupus—an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own cells.

Lupus is a complex disease, so there are many combinations of genes and environmental factors that can cause it. In our genome, we have about 25,000 genes. By finding out which genes contribute to the disease, we can better understand how lupus starts. One way we do that is called “gene-mapping.” We take DNA samples from a large group of patients with lupus and compare them to DNA samples of people without lupus. Then we try to pinpoint DNA variations that show us which genetic difference are related to the disease. The statistical analyses are vital and necessary components of any gene-mapping effort.

A few years ago, this kind of work would have been impossible, because the technology to study the DNA variations efficiently didn’t exist. In each individual, we have to work with millions of data-points to draw a meaningful conclusion. It’s still not easy, but now we have several analytical methods and computational techniques, along with faster and sophisticated machines, to help us do it.

The goal of all of this is to find the genes responsible for causing diseases and learn what they do. Then we can work on new ways to treat disease.

M.Sc., University of Calcutta, India, 1989
Ph.D., Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, India, 1995
Postdoc, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 1995-2000

Honors and Awards
1990 Recipient of NET (National Eligibility Test) Lectureship, conducted by University Grant Commission (India)
1990 Recipient of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) Fellowship
1993 Recipient of the Young Scientist Award in Population Genetics, Indian Society of Human Genetics
2002 Recipient of Travel Grant Award, Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS)
2006 The Merrick Award for Outstanding Research
2008 J. Donald and Patricia H. Capra Distinguished Scientist

Other Activities
Ad hoc reviewer for Scientific Journals: American Journal of Human Genetics, PLOS Genetics, Human Immunology, Journal of Autoimmunity, Human Genetics, Arthritis and Rheumatism

American Society of Human Genetics
International Genetic Epidemiology Society

Joined OMRF Scientific Staff in 2000.

For disorders with a poorly understood biochemical basis, identification of the genes is a prerequisite to understanding the biological basis of the disease. Therefore, identification of genes contributing to disease susceptibility helps us understanding the development and pathogenesis of these diseases.

Statistical analyses are vital and necessary components of any gene-mapping effort. Approaches to map and identify disease genes vary according to the research question, the population, and the disease under analysis. These methods include various genetic-epidemiological methods like linkage analysis, segregation analysis, candidate gene analysis, association mapping, admixture mapping, population genetics and meta analysis.

The central focus of my research is to study the genetic epidemiology of complex diseases in which the inheritance does not follow clear-cut Mendelian fashion. These studies involve analyses of large numbers of phenotypically well-characterized families and case-control samples. The advent of new molecular genetic technologies makes the mapping and identification of susceptibility genes, and their interactions with other genes and environmental factors feasible. The disease which we are mostly interested is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), an autoimmune disease and non-syndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCLP).

We have conducted several genome scans for to identify chromosomal regions likely to harbor SLE susceptibility genes. Additionally, we are looking at candidate genes in the linked and other chromosomal regions for association with the disease. Currently, my lab is actively involved in the positional cloning and identification of major SLE susceptibility genes at 2q22-24, 5p15, 12q24, 16p12-q13 and Xq28 by combining data from linkage and allelic association from studies that differ in population, phenotype definition and ascertainment. We are also performing mapping by admixture linkage disequilibrium (MALD), a powerful and cost effective method to map the genes with low-penetrant risk. The key advantage of MALD is that a small number of ancestry informative markers are sufficient to map these SLE susceptibility loci. At present we are applying MALD techniques to the study of African-American populations.

NSCLP is one of the most common craniofacial malformations. Both genetic and environmental factors are involved in the pathogenesis. Recently, based on a high-density genome scan, we have identified 13q33.1-p34 as a novel NSCLP susceptibility region. Fine mapping is underway to identify the actual susceptibility gene.

Recent Publications

Zhou XJ, Mu R, Li C, Nath SK, Zhang YM, Qi YY, Li ZG, Zhao MH, Zhang H. Variants in CCR6 are associated with susceptibility to lupus nephritis in Chinese. Arthritis Rheumatol 2015. [Abstract]

Amaya-Amaya J, Rojas-Villarraga A, Molano-Gonzalez N, Montoya-Sanchez L, Nath SK, Anaya JM. GDF15(MIC1) H6D polymorphism does not influence cardiovascular disease in a Latin American population with rheumatoid arthritis. J Immunol Res 2015:270763, 2015. [Abstract]

Lu X, Zoller EE, Weirauch MT, Wu Z, Namjou B, Williams AH, Ziegler JT, Comeau ME, Marion MC, Glenn SB, Adler A, Shen N, Nath SK, Stevens AM, Freedman BI, Tsao BP, Jacob CO, Kamen DL, Brown EE, Gilkeson GS, Alarcon GS, Reveille JD, Anaya JM, James JA, Sivils KL, Criswell LA, Vila LM, Alarcon-Riquelme ME, Petri M, Scofield RH, Kimberly RP, Ramsey-Goldman R, Joo YB, Choi J, Bae SC, Boackle SA, Graham DC, Vyse TJ, Guthridge JM, Gaffney PM, Langefeld CD, Kelly JA, Greis KD, Kaufman KM, Harley JB, Kottyan LC. Lupus risk variant increases pSTAT1 binding and decreases ETS1 expression. Am J Hum Genet 2015. [Abstract] EPub

Selected Publications

Kim-Howard X, Sun C, Molineros JE, Maiti AK, Chandru H, Adler A, Wiley GB, Kaufman KM, Kottyan L, Guthridge JM, Rasmussen A, Kelly J, Sanchez E, Raj P, Li QZ, Bang SY, Lee HS, Kim TH, Kang YM, Suh CH, Chung WT, Park YB, Choe JY, Shim SC, Lee SS, Han BG, Olsen NJ, Karp DR, Moser K, Pons-Estel BA, Wakeland EK, James JA, Harley JB, Bae SC, Gaffney PM, Alarcón-Riquelme M, on behalf of GENLES, Looger LL, Nath SK. Allelic heterogeneity in NCF2 associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) susceptibility across four ethnic populations. Hum Mol Genet 23:1656-1668, 2014. [Abstract]

* Molineros JE, Maiti AK, Sun C, Looger LL, Han S, Kim-Howard X, Glenn S, Adler A, Kelly JA, Niewold TB, Gilkeson GS, Brown EE, Alarcon GS, Edberg JC, Petri M, Ramsey-Goldman R, Reveille JD, Vila LM, Freedman BI, Tsao BP, Criswell LA, Jacob CO, Moore JH, Vyse TJ, Langefeld CL, Guthridge JM, Gaffney PM, Moser KL, Scofield RH, Alarcon-Riquelme ME, BIOLUPUS Network, Williams SM, Merrill JT, James JA, Kaufman KM, Kimberly RP, Harley JB, Nath SK. Admixture Mapping in Lupus Identifies Multiple Functional Variants within IFIH1 Associated with Apoptosis, Inflammation, and Autoantibody Production. PLoS Genet 9:e1003222, 2013. [Abstract]

Han S, Kim-Howard X, Deshmukh H, Kamatani Y, Viswanathan P, Guthridge JM, Thomas K, Kaufman KM, Ojwang J, Rojas-Villarraga A, Baca V, Orozco L, Rhodes B, Choi CB, Gregersen PK, Merrill JT, James JA, Gaffney PM, Moser KL, Jacob CO, Kimberly RP, Harley JB, Bae SC, Anaya JM, Alarcón-Riquelme ME, Matsuda K, Vyse TJ, Nath SK. Evaluation of imputation-based association in and around the integrin-{alpha}-M (ITGAM) gene replication of robust association between a non-synonymous functional variant within ITGAM and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Hum Mol Genet 18:1171-1180, 2009. [Abstract]

Nath SK, Han S, Kim-Howard X, Kelly JA, Viswanathan P, Gilkeson GS, Chen W, Zhu C, McEver RP, Kimberly RP, Alarcon-Riquelme ME, Vyse TJ, Li QZ, Wakeland EK, Merrill JT, James JA, Kaufman KM, Guthridge JM, Harley JB. A nonsynonymous functional variant in integrin-alpha(M) (encoded by ITGAM) is associated with systemic lupus erythematosus. Nat Genet 40:152-154, 2008. [Abstract] Comment in: Nat Genet. 2008 Feb;40(2):131-2.

Radhakrishna U, Ratnamala U, Gaines M, Beiraghi S, Hutchings D, Golla J, Husain SA, Gambhir PS, Sheth JJ, Sheth FJ, Chetan GK, Naveed M, Solanki JV, Patel UC, Master DC, Memon R, Antonarakis GS, Antonarakis SE, Nath SK. Genomewide scan for nonsyndromic cleft lip and palate in multigenerational Indian families reveals significant evidence of linkage at 13q33.1-34. Am J Hum Genet 79:580-585, 2006. [Abstract]

Nath SK, Quintero-Del-Rio AI, Kilpatrick J, Feo L, Ballesteros M, Harley JB. Linkage at 12q24with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is established and confirmed in Hispanic and European American families. Am J Hum Genet 74:73-82, 2004. [Abstract]

View all publications in PubMed

Arthritis & Clinical Immunology Research Program, MS 24
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
825 N.E. 13th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Phone: (405) 271-7765
Fax: (405) 271-4110

Hema Chandru, Ph.D.
Associate Staff Scientist

Julio Molineros, Ph.D.
Associate Staff Scientist

Minoo Alasti, Ph.D.
Assistant Staff Scientist

Bhupinder Singh, Ph.D.
Assistant Staff Scientist

Xana Kim

Celi Sun
Data Analyst