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Genetics and Omics Network Leadership
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Genetics and Omics Network Co-Chairs:

Li-Shiun Chen, M.D., M.P.H, Sc.D.

 Li-Shiun Chen, MD, MPH, ScD

Dr. Chen is a physician scientist with research interests in improving clinical care of smoking cessation. Her research areas include smoking cessation treatments, pharmacogenetics /personalized medicine, and implementation. The goal of her research is to allow physicians and patients to use most effective treatments with the least side effects, and to better predict health risks. Dr. Chen has received NIH funding to conduct different research projects on smoking cessation and treatments. Since 2015, she has been a member in the NIDA Genetics Consortium, a group of leading scientists spearheading this nation’s efforts to understand genetic causes of substance dependence. In addition, Dr. Chen is a board-certified psychiatrist, who sees patients with serious mental illnesses, co-director for the course of cross-cultural psychiatry for Washington University Psychiatry Residency Program, teaching faculty for the MPHS program, and serves as a reviewer for a number of journals and an ad-hoc reviewer for NIH study sections.


Professional Activities 

Research and Publications


Laurie Zawertailo, Ph.D.

Dr. Zawertailo is a Senior Scientist in the Nicotine Dependence Service at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Toronto in Toronto, CANADA. Her research interests are in the areas of behavioural and neurobiological aspects of tobacco dependence and treatment, especially in individuals with comorbid depression or alcohol use disorders –sub-populations who have an especially high prevalence of tobacco dependence and tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. Dr. Zawertailo utilizes a variety of techniques to approach this research question including neuroimaging, behavioural and cognitive tasks such as cue-induced craving, genetics, randomized clinical trials, and large population-based approaches to smoking cessation. Her goal is to include genetics in all of her research studies in order to understand the neurobiological processes involved in tobacco dependence that will in turn optimize treatment outcomes.

Research & Publications


Advisory Committee Members:

Nancy Saccone, Ph.D.

Dr. Nancy Saccone is an Associate Professor of Genetics in the Department of Genetics at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a mathematician who trained with Dr. John Rice at Washington University in statistical genetics and psychiatric genetics. Her research program uses mathematical and statistical methods to understand human genetic variation and its contribution to complex human diseases and traits. Research areas include identifying and characterizing genetic influences on nicotine dependence, addiction, and related traits, extending genetic studies to under-studied and minority populations, developing and evaluating analytic methods, and increasing power to detect loci, e.g. through collaborative meta-analyses.

Research & Publications


Andrew Bergen, Ph.D.

Andrew Wells Bergen (PhD ’96 George Washington University), attended Haverford College, the University of California Santa Cruz, the Johns Hopkins University and the George Washington University. He served as pre and post-doctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics, NIAAA, NIH, and as a post-doctoral fellow in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, NCI. His career has spanned work as a Staff Scientist at NCI, a Program Director at SRI International, and applied research settings (Cellmark Diagnostics and Biognosis U.S., Inc). His research has been funded by venture, industry, philanthropy, and the NIH. Dr. Bergen has served the SRNT as a member and Co-chair of the Genetics Network, as a workshop organizer, and as a member of the Genetics Treatment Working Group.

Dr. Bergen’s past contributions to nicotine and tobacco research include as service as Investigator or Member of study consortia or committees in lung cancer (EAGLE), nicotine dependence (EAGLE, COGEND, PNAT, STOMP), nicotine metabolism (DMET), chronic stress and substance dependence (OYSUP), and response to smoking cessation treatments (PNAT, DMET).

Dr. Bergen currently serves as an Associate in BioRealm, LLC, a data science and genetics consultancy, and as Special Volunteer, DCEG, NCI. Dr. Bergen’s current interests in nicotine and tobacco research focus on nicotine metabolism and smoking cessation pharmacogenomics with multiple groups.

Research & Publications

Professional Activities



Jaakko Kaprio, M.D., Ph.D.







 Jaakko Kaprio, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, University of Helsinki, Finland since 2001. He currently holds a five-year research professorship funded by the Academy of Finland and is Director of the Institute for Molecular Medicine FIMM as of Oct 1, 2015. Dr. Kaprio has worked in genetic epidemiology, with a focus on risk factors of non-communicable disease, especially smoking and alcohol use and dependence.  He has worked with the Finnish Twin Cohort studies since 1976, and with other population-based samples in Finland and has engaged in extensive international collaborations, including NIH and EU funded projects. He has served as President of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco European chapter, and has been active in tobacco-related NGOs in Finland.  He was President of the Behavior Genetics Association 2015-2016.  Jaakko Kaprio has 1020 papers listed in PubMed.

SRNT Activities: SRNT-E member, served on board of SRNT-E and as SRNT President, served as co-chair of SRNT genetics network, and served as European member of the SRNT Board

Research & Publications


Operations Coordinator

Yadira Pérez Páramo, Msc

She is a Mexican Fulbright scholar and a PhD candidate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the College of Pharmacy at Washington State University. She is in her third year, and she has focused her research on the pharmacogenetics aspect of the N-oxidation detoxification pathways of nicotine and tobacco carcinogens and their potential role in addiction and tobacco carcinogenesis. She has a Master’s degree in Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering and she has fostered a collaboration between her research advisor there and her lab at WSU leaded by Dr. Philip Lazarus. She has brought two labs together for an exciting collaboration focusing on nicotine metabolism and tobacco carcinogenesis in the Mexican/Hispanic population. She serves in leadership positions in different organizations at her current graduate program such as the Graduate Research Student Association (GRSA), Association of Women in Science (AWIS-WSU) and as student liaison in the Recruitment committee for the PhD program in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She also has serve as a mentor for the program “1000 girls, 1000 dreams” from the NYU academic of Sciences that empowers girls in the STEM field.

Research & Publications

Electronic Communications Committee Liaison

Elizabeth K. Do, PhD, MPH

Elizabeth K. Do, PhD, MPH is currently an Instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University, within the Department of Health Behavior & Policy. Her dissertation was based upon a multi-method approach to understanding genetic and environmental risks contributing to tobacco use among young adults. Currently, her research is focused on: identifying social determinants associated with second hand smoke exposure and active smoking during pregnancy, initial subjective experiences and later tobacco use among young adults, and DNA methylation patterns associated with smoke exposure during pregnancy.  

Research & Publications 



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