UTHSCSA Faculty Profiles v1.0

Arya, Rector

School of Medicine
(210) 567-5216

I am a biological anthropologist and genetic epidemiologist/statistical geneticist with more than 10 years of research experience in biomedical sciences particularly in human genetics and genomics. I have been employing statistical genetic methods in understanding the genetic architecture of complex diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and heart disease in Mexican Americans (MAs). My long-term career goals are to conduct family- and population-based observational and intervention studies in human populations, to study the genetic architecture of complex diseases such as obesity, T2D, and other metabolic syndrome and other CVD risk factors in adults and children by employing the state-of-the-art statistical genetic methods; to identify functional variant/genes underlying complex disease phenotypes, to obtain extramural funding for independent research, and to teach biomedical sciences and related subjects to both undergraduate and graduate students. My major research and teaching areas of interest are human biology, genetics including population genetics, quantitative genetics, genetic epidemiology; and anthropology including anthropological genetics of human populations, human growth, variation and evolution; and nutrition including nutritional epidemiology, nutrigenetics, and nutrigenomics.
My current research focuses on genetic epidemiological studies of common complex diseases such as obesity/abdominal obesity, T2D, metabolic syndrome, chronic kidney disease, gallbladder disease, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in Mexican Americans. My areas of expertise include the study of genetic-environmental (i.e., dietary intake and physical activity) factors and their interactions influencing complex diseases in Mexican American children and adults, and identification of disease susceptibility genes using analytical tools such as genome-wide linkage and association analyses, and candidate gene studies. I have contributed significantly in uncovering many new disease-related genes/variants for obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related diseases/traits in Mexican Americans. As a principal investigator, I have successfully completed two projects: the American Heart Association-Scientist Development Grant and a locally funded obesity study. I have been a co-investigator on several NIH-funded R01 projects including susceptibility gene discovery projects. And, the results have been presented at several International Scientific Annual Meetings organized by American Diabetes Association, The Obesity Society, American Society for Human Genetics, American Heart Association, American Association of Anthropological Genetics and Genetic Analysis Workshop and subsequently published ~50 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Genetics, Diabetes, Obesity, American Journal of Human Genetics, Human Molecular Genetics, Genetic Epidemiology, Kidney International, Diabetologia, Human Heredity, Human Genetics, and BMC Genetics.

10/2010 - Present Assistant Professor The University of Texas Health Science Center, Pediatrics, San Antonio, TX
5/2005 - Present Assistant Scientist (Adjunct) Texas Biomedical Research Institute, Genetics, San Antonio, TX