Dr. Luca’s lab is interested in understanding the genetic and molecular basis of inter-individual and inter-population differences in complex phenotypes. We combine evolutionary and functional genomics approaches to study intermediate phenotypes (e.g.: transcription factor binding, gene expression, protein secretion, etc.) and how they are affected by gene-environment interactions. Ultimately, their goals are to: i) understand how phenotypic differences evolved as humans adapted to changing environments, ii) characterize the biological mechanisms of such phenotypic differences from a genetic to a systems level and iii) understand the genetic basis of health disparities.
Area of Expertise
Dr. Luca’s current research area aims to characterize the genetic architecture underlying phenotypic differences in nuclear receptor related pathways (e.g. estrogen receptors). Projects related to this area utilize functional genomics techniques (e.g.: ChIP-seq, RNA-seq) on samples from different human populations.