Research Summary

The Witte Lab is a computational and epidemiological research group investigating the genetic and environmental contributions to disease risk and progression. We develop and apply novel genetic epidemiological methods to decipher the mechanisms underlying complex diseases. In particular, we focus on: 1) Pleiotropy: assessing the shared genetic basis across cancers and other diseases; 2) Risk Modeling: evaluating disease risk with polygenic risk scores (PRS) and hierarchical models; 3) Prostate Cancer: finding genetic risk factors, improving screening, and reducing disparities; and 4) Liquid Biopsy: detecting tumor mutations and determining response to immunotherapy.

Research Funding

  • December 1, 2004 - June 30, 2025 - Training in the Molecular & Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: T32CA112355
  • April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2024 - Precision Prostate Cancer Screening with Genetically Adjusted Prostate-Specific Antigen Levels, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA241410
  • August 1, 2016 - July 31, 2020 - Genome-wide Pleiotropy Scan across Multiple Cancers, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA201358
  • December 1, 2004 - August 31, 2019 - Training in Molecular& Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R25CA112355

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

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
  • 2010
    Directors Invited Lecture, NHGRI / NIH
  • 2011
    Stephen B. Hulley Award for Excellence In Teaching, UCSF Training in Clinical Research
  • 2016
    Up for a Challenge Grand Prize, National Cancer Institute
  • 2017
    Robert Millikan Symposium Memorial Lecture, Univ North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 2018
    Leadership Award, International Genetic Epidemiology Society

Selected Publications

  1. Conti DV, Darst BF, Moss LC, Saunders EJ, Sheng X, Chou A, Schumacher FR, Olama AAA, Benlloch S, Dadaev T, Brook MN, Sahimi A, Hoffmann TJ, Takahashi A, Matsuda K, Momozawa Y, Fujita M, Muir K, Lophatananon A, Wan P, Le Marchand L, Wilkens LR, Stevens VL, Gapstur SM, Carter BD, Schleutker J, Tammela TLJ, Sipeky C, Auvinen A, Giles GG, Southey MC, MacInnis RJ, Cybulski C, Wokolorczyk D, Lubinski J, Neal DE, Donovan JL, Hamdy FC, Martin RM, Nordestgaard BG, Nielsen SF, Weischer M, Bojesen SE, Røder MA, Iversen P, Batra J, Chambers S, Moya L, Horvath L, Clements JA, Tilley W, Risbridger GP, Gronberg H, Aly M, Szulkin R, Eklund M, Nordström T, Pashayan N, Dunning AM, Ghoussaini M, Travis RC, Key TJ, Riboli E, Park JY, Sellers TA, Lin HY, Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Mucci LA, Giovannucci E, Lindstrom S, Kraft P, Hunter DJ, Penney KL, Turman C, Tangen CM, Goodman PJ, Thompson IM, Hamilton RJ, Fleshner NE, Finelli A, Parent MÉ, Stanford JL, Ostrander EA, Geybels MS, Koutros S, Freeman LEB, Stampfer M, Wolk A, Håkansson N, Andriole GL, Hoover RN, Machiela MJ, Sørensen KD, Borre M, Blot WJ, Zheng W, Yeboah ED, Mensah JE, Lu YJ, Zhang HW, Feng N, Mao X, Wu Y, Zhao SC, Sun Z, Thibodeau SN, McDonnell SK, Schaid DJ, West CML, Burnet N, Barnett G, Maier C, Schnoeller T, Luedeke M, Kibel AS, Drake BF, Cussenot O, Cancel-Tassin G, Menegaux F, Truong T, Koudou YA, John EM, Grindedal EM, Maehle L, Khaw KT, Ingles SA, Stern MC, Vega A, Gómez-Caamaño A, Fachal L, Rosenstein BS, Kerns SL, Ostrer H, Teixeira MR, Paulo P, Brandão A, Watya S, Lubwama A, Bensen JT, Fontham ETH, Mohler J, Taylor JA, Kogevinas M, Llorca J, Castaño-Vinyals G, Cannon-Albright L, Teerlink CC, Huff CD, Strom SS, Multigner L, Blanchet P, Brureau L, Kaneva R, Slavov C, Mitev V, Leach RJ, Weaver B, Brenner H, Cuk K, Holleczek B, Saum KU, Klein EA, Hsing AW, Kittles RA, Murphy AB, Logothetis CJ, Kim J, Neuhausen SL, Steele L, Ding YC, Isaacs WB, Nemesure B, Hennis AJM, Carpten J, Pandha H, Michael A, De Ruyck K, De Meerleer G, Ost P, Xu J, Razack A, Lim J, Teo SH, Newcomb LF, Lin DW, Fowke JH, Neslund-Dudas C, Rybicki BA, Gamulin M, Lessel D, Kulis T, Usmani N, Singhal S, Parliament M, Claessens F, Joniau S, Van den Broeck T, Gago-Dominguez M, Castelao JE, Martinez ME, Larkin S, Townsend PA, Aukim-Hastie C, Bush WS, Aldrich MC, Crawford DC, Srivastava S, Cullen JC, Petrovics G, Casey G, Roobol MJ, Jenster G, van Schaik RHN, Hu JJ, Sanderson M, Varma R, McKean-Cowdin R, Torres M, Mancuso N, Berndt SI, Van Den Eeden SK, Easton DF, Chanock SJ, Cook MB, Wiklund F, Nakagawa H, Witte JS, Eeles RA, Kote-Jarai Z, Haiman CA Publisher Correction: Trans-ancestry genome-wide association meta-analysis of prostate cancer identifies new susceptibility loci and informs genetic risk prediction.  View on PubMed
  2. Majumdar A, Burch KS, Haldar T, Sankararaman S, Pasaniuc B, Gauderman WJ, Witte JS A two-step approach to testing overall effect of gene-environment interaction for multiple phenotypes.  View on PubMed
  3. Conti DV, Darst BF, Moss LC, Saunders EJ, Sheng X, Chou A, Schumacher FR, Olama AAA, Benlloch S, Dadaev T, Brook MN, Sahimi A, Hoffmann TJ, Takahashi A, Matsuda K, Momozawa Y, Fujita M, Muir K, Lophatananon A, Wan P, Le Marchand L, Wilkens LR, Stevens VL, Gapstur SM, Carter BD, Schleutker J, Tammela TLJ, Sipeky C, Auvinen A, Giles GG, Southey MC, MacInnis RJ, Cybulski C, Wokolorczyk D, Lubinski J, Neal DE, Donovan JL, Hamdy FC, Martin RM, Nordestgaard BG, Nielsen SF, Weischer M, Bojesen SE, Røder MA, Iversen P, Batra J, Chambers S, Moya L, Horvath L, Clements JA, Tilley W, Risbridger GP, Gronberg H, Aly M, Szulkin R, Eklund M, Nordström T, Pashayan N, Dunning AM, Ghoussaini M, Travis RC, Key TJ, Riboli E, Park JY, Sellers TA, Lin HY, Albanes D, Weinstein SJ, Mucci LA, Giovannucci E, Lindstrom S, Kraft P, Hunter DJ, Penney KL, Turman C, Tangen CM, Goodman PJ, Thompson IM, Hamilton RJ, Fleshner NE, Finelli A, Parent MÉ, Stanford JL, Ostrander EA, Geybels MS, Koutros S, Freeman LEB, Stampfer M, Wolk A, Håkansson N, Andriole GL, Hoover RN, Machiela MJ, Sørensen KD, Borre M, Blot WJ, Zheng W, Yeboah ED, Mensah JE, Lu YJ, Zhang HW, Feng N, Mao X, Wu Y, Zhao SC, Sun Z, Thibodeau SN, McDonnell SK, Schaid DJ, West CML, Burnet N, Barnett G, Maier C, Schnoeller T, Luedeke M, Kibel AS, Drake BF, Cussenot O, Cancel-Tassin G, Menegaux F, Truong T, Koudou YA, John EM, Grindedal EM, Maehle L, Khaw KT, Ingles SA, Stern MC, Vega A, Gómez-Caamaño A, Fachal L, Rosenstein BS, Kerns SL, Ostrer H, Teixeira MR, Paulo P, Brandão A, Watya S, Lubwama A, Bensen JT, Fontham ETH, Mohler J, Taylor JA, Kogevinas M, Llorca J, Castaño-Vinyals G, Cannon-Albright L, Teerlink CC, Huff CD, Strom SS, Multigner L, Blanchet P, Brureau L, Kaneva R, Slavov C, Mitev V, Leach RJ, Weaver B, Brenner H, Cuk K, Holleczek B, Saum KU, Klein EA, Hsing AW, Kittles RA, Murphy AB, Logothetis CJ, Kim J, Neuhausen SL, Steele L, Ding YC, Isaacs WB, Nemesure B, Hennis AJM, Carpten J, Pandha H, Michael A, De Ruyck K, De Meerleer G, Ost P, Xu J, Razack A, Lim J, Teo SH, Newcomb LF, Lin DW, Fowke JH, Neslund-Dudas C, Rybicki BA, Gamulin M, Lessel D, Kulis T, Usmani N, Singhal S, Parliament M, Claessens F, Joniau S, Van den Broeck T, Gago-Dominguez M, Castelao JE, Martinez ME, Larkin S, Townsend PA, Aukim-Hastie C, Bush WS, Aldrich MC, Crawford DC, Srivastava S, Cullen JC, Petrovics G, Casey G, Roobol MJ, Jenster G, van Schaik RHN, Hu JJ, Sanderson M, Varma R, McKean-Cowdin R, Torres M, Mancuso N, Berndt SI, Van Den Eeden SK, Easton DF, Chanock SJ, Cook MB, Wiklund F, Nakagawa H, Witte JS, Eeles RA, Kote-Jarai Z, Haiman CA Trans-ancestry genome-wide association meta-analysis of prostate cancer identifies new susceptibility loci and informs genetic risk prediction.  View on PubMed
  4. Emami NC, Cavazos TB, Rashkin SR, Graff RE, Tai CG, Mefford JA, Kachuri L, Cario CL, Wan E, Wong S, Aaronson D, Presti J, Habel LA, Shan J, Ranatunga DK, Chao CR, Ghai NR, Jorgenson E, Sakoda LC, Kvale MN, Kwok PY, Schaefer C, Risch N, Hoffmann TJ, Van Den Eeden SK, Witte JS A large-scale association study detects novel rare variants, risk genes, functional elements, and polygenic architecture of prostate cancer susceptibility.  View on PubMed
  5. Kachuri L, Graff RE, Smith-Byrne K, Meyers TJ, Rashkin SR, Ziv E, Witte JS, Johansson M Pan-cancer analysis demonstrates that integrating polygenic risk scores with modifiable risk factors improves risk prediction.  View on PubMed
  6. Ospina-Romero M, Glymour MM, Hayes-Larson E, Mayeda ER, Graff RE, Brenowitz WD, Ackley SF, Witte JS, Kobayashi LC Association Between Alzheimer Disease and Cancer With Evaluation of Study Biases: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.  View on PubMed
  7. Kachuri L, Francis SS, Morrison ML, Wendt GA, Bossé Y, Cavazos TB, Rashkin SR, Ziv E, Witte JS The landscape of host genetic factors involved in immune response to common viral infections.  View on PubMed
  8. Rashkin SR, Graff RE, Kachuri L, Thai KK, Alexeeff SE, Blatchins MA, Cavazos TB, Corley DA, Emami NC, Hoffman JD, Jorgenson E, Kushi LH, Meyers TJ, Van Den Eeden SK, Ziv E, Habel LA, Hoffmann TJ, Sakoda LC, Witte JS Pan-cancer study detects genetic risk variants and shared genetic basis in two large cohorts.  View on PubMed
  9. Hayes-Larson E, Ackley SF, Zimmerman SC, Ospina-Romero M, Glymour MM, Graff RE, Witte JS, Kobayashi LC, Mayeda ER The competing risk of death and selective survival cannot fully explain the inverse cancer-dementia association.  View on PubMed
  10. Cario CL, Chen E, Leong L, Emami NC, Lopez K, Tenggara I, Simko JP, Friedlander TW, Li PS, Paris PL, Carroll PR, Witte JS A machine learning approach to optimizing cell-free DNA sequencing panels: with an application to prostate cancer.  View on PubMed
  11. Carmichael SL, Ma C, Witte JS, Yang W, Rasmussen SA, Brunelli L, Nestoridi E, Shaw GM, Feldkamp ML Congenital diaphragmatic hernia and maternal dietary nutrient pathways and diet quality.  View on PubMed
  12. Chua KC, Xiong C, Ho C, Mushiroda T, Jiang C, Mulkey F, Lai D, Schneider BP, Rashkin SR, Witte JS, Friedman PN, Ratain MJ, McLeod HL, Rugo HS, Shulman LN, Kubo M, Owzar K, Kroetz DL Genomewide Meta-Analysis Validates a Role for S1PR1 in Microtubule Targeting Agent-Induced Sensory Peripheral Neuropathy.  View on PubMed
  13. Ferreira MAR, Vonk JM, Baurecht H, Marenholz I, Tian C, Hoffman JD, Helmer Q, Tillander A, Ullemar V, Lu Y, Grosche S, Rüschendorf F, Granell R, Brumpton BM, Fritsche LG, Bhatta L, Gabrielsen ME, Nielsen JB, Zhou W, Hveem K, Langhammer A, Holmen OL, Løset M, Abecasis GR, Willer CJ, Emami NC, Cavazos TB, Witte JS, Szwajda A, Hinds DA, Hübner N, Weidinger S, Magnusson PK, Jorgenson E, Karlsson R, Paternoster L, Boomsma DI, Almqvist C, Lee YA, Koppelman GH Age-of-onset information helps identify 76 genetic variants associated with allergic disease.  View on PubMed
  14. Ospina-Romero M, Brenowitz WD, Glymour MM, Mayeda ER, Graff RE, Witte JS, Ackley SF, Lu KP, Kobayashi LC The Association Between Cancer and Spousal Rate of Memory Decline: A Negative Control Study to Evaluate (Unmeasured) Social Confounding of the Cancer-memory Relationship.  View on PubMed
  15. Kachuri L, Francis SS, Morrison M, Wendt GA, Bossé Y, Cavazos TB, Rashkin SR, Ziv E, Witte JS The landscape of host genetic factors involved in infection to common viruses and SARS-CoV-2.  View on PubMed
  16. Meyers TJ, Weiner AB, Graff RE, Desai AS, Cooley LF, Catalona WJ, Hanauer SB, Wu JD, Schaeffer EM, Abdulkadir SA, Kundu SD, Witte JS Association between inflammatory bowel disease and prostate cancer: A large-scale, prospective, population-based study.  View on PubMed
  17. Mefford J, Park D, Zheng Z, Ko A, Ala-Korpela M, Laakso M, Pajukanta P, Yang J, Witte J, Zaitlen N Efficient Estimation and Applications of Cross-Validated Genetic Predictions to Polygenic Risk Scores and Linear Mixed Models.  View on PubMed
  18. Du Z, Weinhold N, Song GC, Rand KA, Van Den Berg DJ, Hwang AE, Sheng X, Hom V, Ailawadhi S, Nooka AK, Singhal S, Pawlish K, Peters ES, Bock C, Mohrbacher A, Stram A, Berndt SI, Blot WJ, Casey G, Stevens VL, Kittles R, Goodman PJ, Diver WR, Hennis A, Nemesure B, Klein EA, Rybicki BA, Stanford JL, Witte JS, Signorello L, John EM, Bernstein L, Stroup AM, Stephens OW, Zangari M, Van Rhee F, Olshan A, Zheng W, Hu JJ, Ziegler R, Nyante SJ, Ingles SA, Press MF, Carpten JD, Chanock SJ, Mehta J, Colditz GA, Wolf J, Martin TG, Tomasson M, Fiala MA, Terebelo H, Janakiraman N, Kolonel L, Anderson KC, Le Marchand L, Auclair D, Chiu BC, Ziv E, Stram D, Vij R, Bernal-Mizrachi L, Morgan GJ, Zonder JA, Huff CA, Lonial S, Orlowski RZ, Conti DV, Haiman CA, Cozen W A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of multiple myeloma among men and women of African ancestry.  View on PubMed
  19. Kachuri L, Johansson M, Rashkin SR, Graff RE, Bossé Y, Manem V, Caporaso NE, Landi MT, Christiani DC, Vineis P, Liu G, Scelo G, Zaridze D, Shete SS, Albanes D, Aldrich MC, Tardón A, Rennert G, Chen C, Goodman GE, Doherty JA, Bickeböller H, Field JK, Davies MP, Dawn Teare M, Kiemeney LA, Bojesen SE, Haugen A, Zienolddiny S, Lam S, Le Marchand L, Cheng I, Schabath MB, Duell EJ, Andrew AS, Manjer J, Lazarus P, Arnold S, McKay JD, Emami NC, Warkentin MT, Brhane Y, Obeidat M, Martin RM, Relton C, Davey Smith G, Haycock PC, Amos CI, Brennan P, Witte JS, Hung RJ Immune-mediated genetic pathways resulting in pulmonary function impairment increase lung cancer susceptibility.  View on PubMed
  20. Belkora J, Chan JM, Cooperberg MR, Neuhaus J, Stupar L, Weinberg T, Broering JM, Tenggara I, Cowan JE, Rosenfeld S, Kenfield SA, Van Blarigan EL, Simko JP, Witte J, Carroll PR Development and pilot evaluation of a personalized decision support intervention for low risk prostate cancer patients.  View on PubMed

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