Yuan Ji, Ph.D.
Yuan Ji, Ph.D., of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., became interested in clinical and translational research as a graduate student. She says that conducting basic genomic research — and then finding ways to translate her findings into patient care applications — convinced her that she could make significant contributions at the bedside using her laboratory-based knowledge and skills.
Dr. Ji cites the atmosphere at Mayo Clinic as a reason she chose to pursue the KL2 Mentored Career Development Program.
"The unique multidisciplinary research environment that I have been fortunate to experience at Mayo Clinic is another factor encouraging me to steer my research toward clinical and translational science," she explains. "The close interaction between the Mayo Clinic Center for Translational Science Activities (CTSA) and the National Institutes of Health-funded Pharmacogenomics Research Network provides great research resources and infrastructure, which makes it possible for me to quickly move my research forward and contribute to personalized medicine by identifying biomarkers for the treatment of psychiatric illnesses."
Dr. Ji is concerned with psychiatric disorders because they are common in the general population and cause huge personal, social and economic burdens. Although many treatment options — including several classes of antidepressant drugs — are available, more than one-third of people do not respond or inadequately respond to treatment.
In addition, there are no reliable biomarkers that can help predict whether individual patients will respond to therapy or have adverse reactions. During her time in the KL2 Program, Dr. Ji aims to apply cutting-edge technologies, including high-throughput genomewide analyses and metabolomics, to identify and validate biomarkers for a person's response to antidepressant therapy. Her long-term goal is to translate these findings into clinical practice and optimize treatment algorithms for psychiatric disorders.
As she proceeds with the program, Dr. Ji says she looks forward to obtaining systematic training in clinical and translational research — with a focus on clinical psychopharmacogenomics — through both the CTSA curriculum and by working closely with her two mentors, both well-known leaders in their respective fields.
See Dr. Ji's publications on PubMed.