The research of Eric D. Wieben, Ph.D., is focused on understanding how changes in gene structure and gene function affect human health. Much of his work is currently directed at bringing new tools to our efforts to understand the molecular basis of disease.
Current technologies enable the sequencing of entire genomes at an affordable cost. The new challenge is how to turn all of the data gathered in such efforts into clinically actionable knowledge across a wide spectrum of diseases.
- Pharmacogenomics. Dr. Wieben and his colleagues are investigating the relationship between individuals' genetic diversity and their responses to drug therapy. These projects are now conducted on a genome-wide scale and are yielding new insights into genetic differences that can help predict drug efficacy and adverse events.
- Eye disease. In collaboration with colleagues, Dr. Wieben is working to understand the molecular basis for Fuchs' corneal dystrophy, an autosomal-dominant eye disease. Their work suggests that most cases of this relatively common disease are caused by expansions of a trinucleotide repeat in a gene that codes for a transcription factor. He and his colleagues are now working to determine how this genetic change leads to the observed clinical phenotype.
Significance to patient care
An increased understanding of the link between DNA sequence changes and clinical observations will enable more-specific testing and provide new clues about how to improve the effectiveness of patient care.
Under the auspices of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine-funded BEAUTY project, Dr. Wieben and his colleagues are using DNA and RNA sequencing data from breast tumors to guide decision-making about chemotherapy.