Fred Wright – $1.2 Million Grant from NHGRI

Fred Wright, Professor of Statistics and Biological Sciences, and Professor Andrew Nobel of UNC have been awarded a new 3-year $1.2 million grant from NHGRI, “Multi-tissue and network models for next-generation eQTL studies.” The grant stems from work that Wright, Nobel, and Biological Sciences faculty member Yi-Hui Zhou have performed as part of the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Consortium, which has gathered the world’s richest dataset on human genetic variation and gene expression across multiple tissues. The grant will address the multi-faceted statistical challenges that arise from analyzing the genetic regulation of expression, embedded within models that can handle simultaneous inference across dozens of tissues. The investigators have been active contributors to GTEx since the founding of the Consortium in 2010, and their modeling work has helped elucidate the tissue-specific nature of genetic regulation, with important implications for genetic components of disease risk.