Research Summary

I am a professor of medicine at UCSF, and I focus my research on human genetics of cancer susceptibility and hematological traits. My research synthesizes concepts and data from human population genetics and epidemiology. A particular focus is on the genetics of admixed populations such as Latinos and African Americans. My research group was the first to demonstrate that breast cancer risk is associated with ancestry among Latina women; in particular, we showed that Native American genetic ancestry among Latina women was associated with protection from breast cancer. Subsequently, I led the group that mapped this difference to a locus on chromosome 6q25, and then performed fine mapping and found a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) that explains a large fraction of this risk difference. I have also recently led a group to identify a set of SNP’s associated with survival among multiple myeloma patients.

Research Funding

  • July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2023 - (8) Genetics of Immune Related Adverse Events and Response to Immunotherapy, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA227466
  • August 9, 2012 - July 31, 2022 - Genetics of mammographic density and breast cancer risk in Latinas, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: K24CA169004
  • September 8, 2014 - August 31, 2019 - Germline and Tumor Genomic Analyses of Breast Cancer in Latinas, Co-Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA184585
  • December 15, 2014 - November 30, 2016 - Influence of germ line genetic variation on myeloma progression and survival, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R21CA191896


Yale University, New Haven, CT, BS, 1991, Magna cum Lauda, Biology
University of California, San Francisco, CA, MD, 1996, Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, CA, Intern, 1996-1997, Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, CA, Resident, 1997-1999, Medicine
University of California, San Francisco, CA, 1999-2001, Fellow, General Internal Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology

Honors & Awards

  • 1988-1991
    IBM Thomas J. Watson Scholarship
  • 1991
    Distinction in Biology, Yale University
  • 1991
    Magna cum Laude, Yale University
  • 2001-2003
    UCSF Women's Health Research Scholar
  • 2002-2004
    Clinical Research Training Grant Award, American Cancer Society
  • 2003
    Best Breast Cancer Clinical Investigation, UCSF Breast Oncology Program Retreat
  • 2004-2007
    National Cancer Institute Career Transition Award
  • 2005
    Robert Crede Award for Clinical Research, UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine
  • 2012-2017
    National Cancer Mid-Career Investigator Award for Patient Oriented Research

Selected Publications

  1. Esserman L, Eklund M, Veer LV, Shieh Y, Tice J, Ziv E, Blanco A, Kaplan C, Hiatt R, Fiscalini AS, Yau C, Scheuner M, Naeim A, Wenger N, Lee V, Heditsian D, Brain S, Parker BA, LaCroix AZ, Madlensky L, Hogarth M, Borowsky A, Anton-Culver H, Kaster A, Olopade OI, Sheth D, Garcia A, Lancaster R, Plaza M. The WISDOM study: a new approach to screening can and should be tested. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2021 Oct; 189(3):593-598.  View on PubMed
  2. Huilgol YS, Keane H, Shieh Y, Hiatt RA, Tice JA, Madlensky L, Sabacan L, Fiscalini AS, Ziv E, Acerbi I, Che M, Anton-Culver H, Borowsky AD, Hunt S, Naeim A, Parker BA, van 't Veer LJ, Athena Breast Health Network Investigators and Advocate Partners , Esserman LJ. Elevated risk thresholds predict endocrine risk-reducing medication use in the Athena screening registry. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Aug 03; 7(1):102.  View on PubMed
  3. Luo J, Martucci VL, Quandt Z, Groha S, Murray MH, Lovly CM, Rizvi H, Egger JV, Plodkowski AJ, Abu-Akeel M, Schulze I, Merghoub T, Cardenas E, Huntsman S, Li M, Hu D, Gubens MA, Gusev A, Aldrich MC, Hellmann MD, Ziv E. Immunotherapy-Mediated Thyroid Dysfunction: Genetic Risk and Impact on Outcomes with PD-1 Blockade in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2021 Sep 15; 27(18):5131-5140.  View on PubMed
  4. Adedokun B, Du Z, Gao G, Ahearn TU, Lunetta KL, Zirpoli G, Figueroa J, John EM, Bernstein L, Zheng W, Hu JJ, Ziegler RG, Nyante S, Bandera EV, Ingles SA, Press MF, Deming-Halverson SL, Rodriguez-Gil JL, Yao S, Ogundiran TO, Ojengbede O, Blot W, Troester MA, Nathanson KL, Hennis A, Nemesure B, Ambs S, Fiorica PN, Sucheston-Campbell LE, Bensen JT, Kushi LH, Torres-Mejia G, Hu D, Fejerman L, Bolla MK, Dennis J, Dunning AM, Easton DF, Michailidou K, Pharoah PDP, Wang Q, Sandler DP, Taylor JA, O'Brien KM, Kitahara CM, Falusi AG, Babalola C, Yarney J, Awuah B, Addai-Wiafe B, GBHS Study Team , Chanock SJ, Olshan AF, Ambrosone CB, Conti DV, Ziv E, Olopade OI, Garcia-Closas M, Palmer JR, Haiman CA, Huo D. Cross-ancestry GWAS meta-analysis identifies six breast cancer loci in African and European ancestry women. Nat Commun. 2021 07 07; 12(1):4198.  View on PubMed
  5. Luisa N. Borrell, Jennifer R. Elhawary, Elena Fuentes-Afflick, Jonathan Witonsky, Nirav Bhakta, Alan H. B. Wu, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, José R. Rodríguez-Santana, Michael A. Lenoir, James R. Gavin, Rick A. Kittles, Noah A. Zaitlen, David S. Wilkes, Neil R. Powe, Elad Ziv, Esteban G. Burchard. Race and Genetic Ancestry in Medicine—A Time for Reckoning With Racism. Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey. 2021 Jul 1; 76(7):395-397.  View on PubMed
  6. Belachew AA, Wu X, Callender R, Waller R, Orlowski RZ, Vachon CM, Camp NJ, Ziv E, Hildebrandt MAT. Genetic determinants of multiple myeloma risk within the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. Cancer Epidemiol. 2021 08; 73:101972.  View on PubMed
  7. Li N, Zethoven M, McInerny S, Devereux L, Huang YK, Thio N, Cheasley D, Gutiérrez-Enríquez S, Moles-Fernández A, Diez O, Nguyen-Dumont T, Southey MC, Hopper JL, Simard J, Dumont M, Soucy P, Meindl A, Schmutzler R, Schmidt MK, Adank MA, Andrulis IL, Hahnen E, Engel C, Lesueur F, Girard E, Neuhausen SL, Ziv E, Allen J, Easton DF, Scott RJ, Gorringe KL, James PA, Campbell IG. Evaluation of the association of heterozygous germline variants in NTHL1 with breast cancer predisposition: an international multi-center study of 47,180 subjects. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 May 12; 7(1):52.  View on PubMed
  8. Macauda A, Piredda C, Clay-Gilmour AI, Sainz J, Buda G, Markiewicz M, Barington T, Ziv E, Hildebrandt MAT, Belachew AA, Varkonyi J, Prejzner W, Druzd-Sitek A, Spinelli J, Andersen NF, Hofmann JN, Dudzinski M, Martinez-Lopez J, Iskierka-Jazdzewska E, Milne RL, Mazur G, Giles GG, Ebbesen LH, Rymko M, Jamroziak K, Subocz E, Reis RM, Garcia-Sanz R, Suska A, Haastrup EK, Zawirska D, Grzasko N, Vangsted AJ, Dumontet C, Kruszewski M, Dutka M, Camp NJ, Waller RG, Tomczak W, Pelosini M, Razny M, Marques H, Abildgaard N, Watek M, Jurczyszyn A, Brown EE, Berndt S, Butrym A, Vachon CM, Norman AD, Slager SL, Gemignani F, Canzian F, Campa D. Expression quantitative trait loci of genes predicting outcome are associated with survival of multiple myeloma patients. Int J Cancer. 2021 07 15; 149(2):327-336.  View on PubMed
  9. Graff RE, Cavazos TB, Thai KK, Kachuri L, Rashkin SR, Hoffman JD, Alexeeff SE, Blatchins M, Meyers TJ, Leong L, Tai CG, Emami NC, Corley DA, Kushi LH, Ziv E, Van Den Eeden SK, Jorgenson E, Hoffmann TJ, Habel LA, Witte JS, Sakoda LC. Cross-cancer evaluation of polygenic risk scores for 16 cancer types in two large cohorts. Nat Commun. 2021 02 12; 12(1):970.  View on PubMed
  10. Sayaman RW, Saad M, Thorsson V, Hu D, Hendrickx W, Roelands J, Porta-Pardo E, Mokrab Y, Farshidfar F, Kirchhoff T, Sweis RF, Bathe OF, Heimann C, Campbell MJ, Stretch C, Huntsman S, Graff RE, Syed N, Radvanyi L, Shelley S, Wolf D, Marincola FM, Ceccarelli M, Galon J, Ziv E, Bedognetti D. Germline genetic contribution to the immune landscape of cancer. Immunity. 2021 02 09; 54(2):367-386.e8.  View on PubMed
  11. Roelands J, Mall R, Almeer H, Thomas R, Mohamed MG, Bedri S, Al-Bader SB, Junejo K, Ziv E, Sayaman RW, Kuppen PJK, Bedognetti D, Hendrickx W, Decock J. Ancestry-associated transcriptomic profiles of breast cancer in patients of African, Arab, and European ancestry. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Feb 08; 7(1):10.  View on PubMed
  12. Borrell LN, Elhawary JR, Fuentes-Afflick E, Witonsky J, Bhakta N, Wu AHB, Bibbins-Domingo K, Rodríguez-Santana JR, Lenoir MA, Gavin JR, Kittles RA, Zaitlen NA, Wilkes DS, Powe NR, Ziv E, Burchard EG. Race and Genetic Ancestry in Medicine - A Time for Reckoning with Racism. N Engl J Med. 2021 Feb 04; 384(5):474-480.  View on PubMed
  13. Spear ML, Diaz-Papkovich A, Ziv E, Yracheta JM, Gravel S, Torgerson DG, Hernandez RD. Recent shifts in the genomic ancestry of Mexican Americans may alter the genetic architecture of biomedical traits. Elife. 2020 12 29; 9.  View on PubMed
  14. 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. Nat Commun. 2020 11 27; 11(1):6084.  View on PubMed
  15. Zhang C, Ostrom QT, Hansen HM, Gonzalez-Maya J, Hu D, Ziv E, Morimoto L, de Smith AJ, Muskens IS, Kline CN, Vaksman Z, Hakonarson H, Diskin SJ, Kruchko C, Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Ramaswamy V, Ali-Osman F, Bondy ML, Taylor MD, Metayer C, Wiemels JL, Walsh KM. European genetic ancestry associated with risk of childhood ependymoma. Neuro Oncol. 2020 11 26; 22(11):1637-1646.  View on PubMed
  16. 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. Genome Med. 2020 10 27; 12(1):93.  View on PubMed
  17. Lee EY, Mak ACY, Hu D, Sajuthi S, White MJ, Keys KL, Eckalbar W, Bonser L, Huntsman S, Urbanek C, Eng C, Jain D, Abecasis G, Kang HM, Germer S, Zody MC, Nickerson DA, Erle D, Ziv E, Rodriguez-Santana J, Seibold MA, Burchard EG. Whole-Genome Sequencing Identifies Novel Functional Loci Associated with Lung Function in Puerto Rican Youth. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020 10 01; 202(7):962-972.  View on PubMed
  18. Zavala VA, Bracci PM, Carethers JM, Carvajal-Carmona L, Coggins NB, Cruz-Correa MR, Davis M, de Smith AJ, Dutil J, Figueiredo JC, Fox R, Graves KD, Gomez SL, Llera A, Neuhausen SL, Newman L, Nguyen T, Palmer JR, Palmer NR, Pérez-Stable EJ, Piawah S, Rodriquez EJ, Sanabria-Salas MC, Schmit SL, Serrano-Gomez SJ, Stern MC, Weitzel J, Yang JJ, Zabaleta J, Ziv E, Fejerman L. Cancer health disparities in racial/ethnic minorities in the United States. Br J Cancer. 2021 01; 124(2):315-332.  View on PubMed
  19. 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 immune response to common viral infections. medRxiv. 2020 Sep 05.  View on PubMed
  20. 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. Nat Commun. 2020 09 04; 11(1):4423.  View on PubMed

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