University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
John S. Witte, PhD

John S. Witte, PhD

Professor, Department of Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Urology, UCSF; Leader, Cancer Genetics Program, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Genetics

Research Summary

I have extensive experience in the design and statistical analysis of genetic epidemiologic projects. My research program encompasses a synthesis of methodological and applied genetic epidemiology, with the overall aim of deciphering the mechanisms underlying complex diseases and traits. I have developed extensive, widely used methods and software for studying rare genetic variants, pathways, interactions, and genome-wide association studies. I am applying these methods to studies of prostate cancer, birth defects, and pharmacogenomics. My lab has developed extensive methods and software for studying rare genetic variants, pathways, interactions, and genome-wide association studies. For analyzing rare variants, my lab has recently developed novel Bayesian and ‘Step-up’ empirical methods. My work includes showing how hierarchical modeling—a potentially valuable analytic approach—can be used to incorporate existing information to improve estimation. In more applied work, I am presently undertaking studies of the germline and somatic genomic basis of prostate cancer, with a particular focus on disease aggressiveness among understudied populations. Most recently, I am evaluating the use of cell-free DNA (liquid biopsies) for prediction of disease risk and progression. In addition, I direct an NIH-Funded post-Doctoral training grant in Genetic Epidemiology, and have mentored over 40 pre- and post-doctoral fellows.

Education

University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, BS, 1986, Mathematical Sciences
University of California, Berkeley, CA, MS, 1988, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
University of California, Los Angeles, CA, PhD, 1994, Epidemiology


Professional Experience

  • 1994-1995
    Research Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California
  • 1995-1999
    Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University
  • 1999-2003
    Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University
  • 2003-present
    Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2005-present
    Leader, Program in Cancer Genetics and Epidemiology, UC San Francisco
  • 2005-present
    Associate Director, Institute for Human Genetics, UC, San Francisco
  • 2008-present
    Head, Division of Cancer Epidemiology, UC, San Francisco

Honors & Awards

  • 1986
    Undergraduate Honors, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 1989-1994
    National Research Service Award, NIH
  • 1994
    Ruth F. Richards Outstanding Student Award, UCLA School of Public Health Alumni Association
  • 1999-2000
    Glennan Fellow, Case Western Reserve University
  • 2002-2003
    Visiting Scientist Award, International Agency for Research on Cancer

Selected Publications

  1. Du Z, Hopp H, Ingles SA, Huff C, Sheng X, Weaver B, Stern M, Hoffmann TJ, John EM, Van Den Eeden SK, Strom S, Leach RJ, Thompson IM, Witte JS, Conti DV, Haiman CA. A genome-wide association study of prostate cancer in Latinos. Int J Cancer. 2019 Jun 21.
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  2. Wu L, Wang J, Cai Q, Cavazos TB, Emami NC, Long J, Shu XO, Lu Y, Guo X, Bauer JA, Pasaniuc B, Penney KL, Freedman ML, Kote-Jarai Z, Witte JS, Haiman CA, Eeles RA, Zheng W. Identification of Novel Susceptibility Loci and Genes for Prostate Cancer Risk: A Transcriptome-Wide Association Study in Over 140,000 European Descendants. Cancer Res. 2019 Jul 01; 79(13):3192-3204.
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  3. Witte J, Mehlis K, Surmann B, Lingnau R, Damm O, Greiner W, Winkler EC. Methods for measuring financial toxicity after cancer diagnosis and treatment: a systematic review and its implications. Ann Oncol. 2019 May 02.
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  4. Cario CL, Witte JS. Samasy: an automated system for sample selection and robotic transfer. Biotechniques. 2018 12; 65(6):357-360.
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  5. Rashkin SR, Chua KC, Ho C, Mulkey F, Jiang C, Mushiroda T, Kubo M, Friedman PN, Rugo HS, McLeod HL, Ratain MJ, Castillos F, Naughton M, Overmoyer B, Toppmeyer D, Witte JS, Owzar K, Kroetz DL. A Pharmacogenetic Prediction Model of Progression-Free Survival in Breast Cancer using Genome-Wide Genotyping Data from CALGB 40502 (Alliance). Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Mar; 105(3):738-745.
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  6. McCarthy ME, Oltman SP, Baer RJ, Ryckman KK, Rogers EE, Steurer-Muller MA, Witte JS, Jelliffe-Pawlowski LL. Newborn Metabolic Profile Associated with Hyperbilirubinemia With and Without Kernicterus. Clin Transl Sci. 2019 Jan; 12(1):28-38.
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  7. Graff RE, Kachuri L, Witte JS. Personalized Prostate Cancer Screening Based on a Single Midlife Prostate-specific Antigen Measurement. Eur Urol. 2019 03; 75(3):408-409.
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  8. Li M, He Z, Tong X, Witte JS, Lu Q. Detecting Rare Mutations with Heterogeneous Effects Using a Family-Based Genetic Random Field Method. Genetics. 2018 10; 210(2):463-476.
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  9. Zhang C, Wiemels JL, Hansen HM, Gonzalez-Maya J, Endicott AA, de Smith AJ, Smirnov IV, Witte JS, Morimoto LM, Metayer C, Walsh KM. Two HLA Class II Gene Variants Are Independently Associated with Pediatric Osteosarcoma Risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 Oct; 27(10):1151-1158.
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  10. Johnson DB, Bordeaux J, Kim JY, Vaupel C, Rimm DL, Ho TH, Joseph RW, Daud AI, Conry RM, Gaughan EM, Hernandez-Aya LF, Dimou A, Funchain P, Smithy J, Witte JS, McKee SB, Ko J, Wrangle JM, Dabbas B, Tangri S, Lameh J, Hall J, Markowitz J, Balko JM, Dakappagari N. Quantitative Spatial Profiling of PD-1/PD-L1 Interaction and HLA-DR/IDO-1 Predicts Improved Outcomes of Anti-PD-1 Therapies in Metastatic Melanoma. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Nov 01; 24(21):5250-5260.
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  11. Cario CL, Witte JS. Orchid: a novel management, annotation and machine learning framework for analyzing cancer mutations. Bioinformatics. 2018 03 15; 34(6):936-942.
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  12. Majumdar A, Haldar T, Bhattacharya S, Witte JS. An efficient Bayesian meta-analysis approach for studying cross-phenotype genetic associations. PLoS Genet. 2018 02; 14(2):e1007139.
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  13. Asai Y, Eslami A, van Ginkel CD, Akhabir L, Wan M, Yin D, Ellis G, Ben-Shoshan M, Marenholz I, Martino D, Ferreira MA, Allen K, Mazer B, de Groot H, de Jong NW, Gerth van Wijk R, Dubois AEJ, Grosche S, Ashley S, Rüschendorf F, Kalb B, Beyer K, Nöthen MM, Lee YA, Chin R, Cheuk S, Hoffman J, Jorgensen E, Witte JS, Melles RB, Hong X, Wang X, Hui J, Musk AWB, Hunter M, James AL, Koppelman GH, Sandford AJ, Clarke AE, Daley D. A Canadian genome-wide association study and meta-analysis confirm HLA as a risk factor for peanut allergy independent of asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Apr; 141(4):1513-1516.
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  14. Wu YH, Graff RE, Passarelli MN, Hoffman JD, Ziv E, Hoffmann TJ, Witte JS. Identification of Pleiotropic Cancer Susceptibility Variants from Genome-Wide Association Studies Reveals Functional Characteristics. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 01; 27(1):75-85.
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  15. Ferreira MA, Vonk JM, Baurecht H, Marenholz I, Tian C, Hoffman JD, Helmer Q, Tillander A, Ullemar V, van Dongen J, Lu Y, Rüschendorf F, Esparza-Gordillo J, Medway CW, Mountjoy E, Burrows K, Hummel O, Grosche S, Brumpton BM, Witte JS, Hottenga JJ, Willemsen G, Zheng J, Rodríguez E, Hotze M, Franke A, Revez JA, Beesley J, Matheson MC, Dharmage SC, Bain LM, Fritsche LG, Gabrielsen ME, Balliu B, Nielsen JB, Zhou W, Hveem K, Langhammer A, Holmen OL, Løset M, Abecasis GR, Willer CJ, Arnold A, Homuth G, Schmidt CO, Thompson PJ, Martin NG, Duffy DL, Novak N, Schulz H, Karrasch S, Gieger C, Strauch K, Melles RB, Hinds DA, Hübner N, Weidinger S, Magnusson PKE, Jansen R, Jorgenson E, Lee YA, Boomsma DI, Almqvist C, Karlsson R, Koppelman GH, Paternoster L. Shared genetic origin of asthma, hay fever and eczema elucidates allergic disease biology. Nat Genet. 2017 Dec; 49(12):1752-1757.
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  16. Asai Y, Eslami A, van Ginkel CD, Akhabir L, Wan M, Ellis G, Ben-Shoshan M, Martino D, Ferreira MA, Allen K, Mazer B, de Groot H, de Jong NW, Gerth van Wijk RN, Dubois AEJ, Chin R, Cheuk S, Hoffman J, Jorgensen E, Witte JS, Melles RB, Hong X, Wang X, Hui J, Musk AWB, Hunter M, James AL, Koppelman GH, Sandford AJ, Clarke AE, Daley D. Genome-wide association study and meta-analysis in multiple populations identifies new loci for peanut allergy and establishes C11orf30/EMSY as a genetic risk factor for food allergy. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2018 Mar; 141(3):991-1001.
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  17. McAllister K, Mechanic LE, Amos C, Aschard H, Blair IA, Chatterjee N, Conti D, Gauderman WJ, Hsu L, Hutter CM, Jankowska MM, Kerr J, Kraft P, Montgomery SB, Mukherjee B, Papanicolaou GJ, Patel CJ, Ritchie MD, Ritz BR, Thomas DC, Wei P, Witte JS. Current Challenges and New Opportunities for Gene-Environment Interaction Studies of Complex Diseases. Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Oct 01; 186(7):753-761.
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  18. Gauderman WJ, Mukherjee B, Aschard H, Hsu L, Lewinger JP, Patel CJ, Witte JS, Amos C, Tai CG, Conti D, Torgerson DG, Lee S, Chatterjee N. Update on the State of the Science for Analytical Methods for Gene-Environment Interactions. Am J Epidemiol. 2017 Oct 01; 186(7):762-770.
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  19. Mechanic LE, Lindström S, Daily KM, Sieberts SK, Amos CI, Chen HS, Cox NJ, Dathe M, Feuer EJ, Guertin MJ, Hoffman J, Liu Y, Moore JH, Myers CL, Ritchie MD, Schildkraut J, Schumacher F, Witte JS, Wang W, Williams SM, Gillanders EM. Up For A Challenge (U4C): Stimulating innovation in breast cancer genetic epidemiology. PLoS Genet. 2017 09; 13(9):e1006945.
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  20. Conti DV, Wang K, Sheng X, Bensen JT, Hazelett DJ, Cook MB, Ingles SA, Kittles RA, Strom SS, Rybicki BA, Nemesure B, Isaacs WB, Stanford JL, Zheng W, Sanderson M, John EM, Park JY, Xu J, Stevens VL, Berndt SI, Huff CD, Wang Z, Yeboah ED, Tettey Y, Biritwum RB, Adjei AA, Tay E, Truelove A, Niwa S, Sellers TA, Yamoah K, Murphy AB, Crawford DC, Gapstur SM, Bush WS, Aldrich MC, Cussenot O, Petrovics G, Cullen J, Neslund-Dudas C, Stern MC, Jarai ZK, Govindasami K, Chokkalingam AP, Hsing AW, Goodman PJ, Hoffmann T, Drake BF, Hu JJ, Clark PE, Van Den Eeden SK, Blanchet P, Fowke JH, Casey G, Hennis AJM, Han Y, Lubwama A, Thompson IM, Leach R, Easton DF, Schumacher F, Van den Berg DJ, Gundell SM, Stram A, Wan P, Xia L, Pooler LC, Mohler JL, Fontham ETH, Smith GJ, Taylor JA, Srivastava S, Eeles RA, Carpten J, Kibel AS, Multigner L, Parent ME, Menegaux F, Cancel-Tassin G, Klein EA, Brureau L, Stram DO, Watya S, Chanock SJ, Witte JS, Blot WJ, Henderson BE, Haiman CA. Two Novel Susceptibility Loci for Prostate Cancer in Men of African Ancestry. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017 08 01; 109(8).
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