Blanca E Himes

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Assistant Professor of Informatics in Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Senior Fellow, Institute for Biomedical Informatics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
CEET Investigator, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Department: Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Contact information
402 Blockley Hall
423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 573-3282
BS (Physics with Specialization in Computational Physics)
University of California, San Diego (UCSD), 2001.
PhD (Medical Physics and Bioinformatics)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 2007.
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Description of Itmat Expertise

The overarching goal of my research is to use biomedical informatics approaches to better understand complex respiratory diseases by leveraging the large volume of underutilized publicly available respiratory research data to gain insights and identify novel hypotheses based on diseased-focused integration of diverse data types. I work with experts in pulmonary biology to experimentally validate our findings as well as to collect novel genome-scale datasets.

Description of Research Expertise

Dr. Himes’ research focuses on gaining insights into asthma pathogenesis and treatment using biomedical informatics approaches. She has performed genome-wide association studies of asthma and related traits as a lead investigator and as part of large collaborations. She has used probabilistic graphical models to find genetic association networks and designed a computational algorithm to search through large datasets for optimal predictors of a phenotype. She has identified and characterized subjects for asthma genomics studies using patient-derived data from electronic medical records. Most recently, she has used RNA-Seq to study human airway smooth muscle cell response to asthma medications, vitamin D, and to identify differences in response between fatal asthma patients vs. individuals without asthma.

Selected Publications

Himes BE, Jiang X, Wagner P, Hu R, Wang Q, Klanderman B, Whitaker RM, Duan Q, Lasky-Su J, Nikolos C, Jester W, Johnson M, Panettieri RA Jr, Tantisira KG, Weiss ST, Lu Q: RNA-Seq Transcriptome Profiling Identifies CRISPLD2 as a Glucocorticoid Responsive Gene that Modulates Cytokine Function in Airway Smooth Muscle Cells. PLOS ONE 9(6): e99625, 2014.

Himes BE, Sheppard K, Berndt A, Leme AS, Myers RA, Gignoux CR, Levin AM, Gauderman WJ, Yang JJ, Mathias RA, Romieu I, Torgerson DG, Roth LA, Huntsman S, Eng C, Klanderman B, Ziniti J, Senter-Sylvia J, Szefler SJ, Lemanske RF Jr, Zeiger RS, Strunk RC, Martinez FD, Boushey H, Chinchilli VM, Israel E, Mauger D, Koppelman GH, Postma DS, Nieuwenhuis MA, Vonk JM, Lima JJ, Irvin CG, Peters SP, Kubo M, Tamari M, Nakamura Y, Litonjua AA, Tantisira KG, Raby BA, Bleecker ER, Meyers DA, London SJ, Barnes KC, Gilliland FD, Williams LK, Burchard EG, Nicolae DL, Ober C, DeMeo DL, Silverman EK, Paigen B, Churchill G, Shapiro SD, Weiss ST: Integration of Mouse and Human Genome-Wide Association Data Identifies KCNIP4 as an Asthma Gene. PLOS ONE 8(2), 2013.

McGeachie MJ, Stahl EA, Himes BE, Pendergrass SA, Lima JJ, Irvin CG, Peters SP, Ritchie MD, Plenge RM, Tantisira KG.: Polygenic heritability estimates in pharmacogenetics: focus on asthma and related phenotypes. Pharmacogenet Genomics 23(6): 324-8, 2013.

Duan QL, Lasky-Su J, Himes BE, Qiu W, Litonjua AA, Damask A, Lazarus R, Klanderman B, Irvin CG, Peters SP, Hanrahan JP, Lima JJ, Martinez FD, Mauger D, Chinchilli VM, Soto-Quiros M, Avila L, Celedón JC, Lange C, Weiss ST, Tantisira KG.: A genome-wide association study of bronchodilator response in asthmatics. Pharmacogenomics J 2013.

Wu AC, Himes BE, Lasky-Su J, Litonjua A, Peters SP, Lima J, Kubo M, Tamari M, Nakamura Y, Qiu W, Weiss ST, Tantisira K.: Inhaled corticosteroid treatment modulates ZNF432 gene variant's effect on bronchodilator response in asthmatics. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 133(3): 723-8, 2013.

Himes BE, Qiu W, Klanderman B, Ziniti J, Senter-Sylvia J, Szefler SJ, Lemanske RF Jr, Zeiger RS, Strunk RC, Martinez FD, Boushey H, Chinchilli VM, Israel E, Mauger D, Koppelman GH, Nieuwenhuis MA, Postma DS, Vonk JM, Rafaels N, Hansel NN, Barnes K, Raby B, Tantisira KG, Weiss ST.: ITGB5 and AGFG1 variants are associated with severity of airway responsiveness. BMC Med Genet 14(1): 86, 2013.

Lasky-Su J*, Himes BE*, Raby BA, Klanderman BJ, Sylvia JS, Lange C, Melen E, Martinez FD, Israel E, Gauderman J, Gilliland F, Sleiman P, Hakonarson H, Celedón JC, Soto-Quiros M, Avila L, Lima JJ, Irvin CG, Peters SP, Boushey H, Chinchilli VM, Mauger D, Tantisira K, Weiss ST; and for the SHARP investigators.: HLA-DQ strikes again: Genome-wide association study further confirms HLA-DQ in the diagnosis of asthma among adults. Clin Exp Allergy 42(12): 1724-33, 2012 Notes: *Equal contribution.

Himes BE, Jiang X, Hu R, Wu AC, Lasky-Su JA, Klanderman BJ, Ziniti J, Senter-Sylvia J, Lima JJ, Irvin CG, Peters SP, Meyers DA, Bleecker ER, Kubo M, Tamari M, Nakamura Y, Szefler SJ, Lemanske RF Jr, Zeiger RS, Strunk RC, Martinez FD, Hanrahan JP, Koppelman GH, Postma DS, Nieuwenhuis MA, Vonk JM, Panettieri RA Jr, Markezich A, Israel E, Carey VJ, Tantisira KG, Litonjua AA, Lu Q, Weiss ST: Genome-Wide Association Analysis in Asthma Subjects Identifies SPATS2L as a Novel Bronchodilator Response Gene. PLOS Genet 8(7), 2012.

Myers RA, Himes BE, Gignoux CR, Yang JJ, Gauderman WJ, Rebordosa C, Xie J, Torgerson DG, Levin AM, Baurley J, Graves PE, Mathias RA, Romieu I, Roth LA, Conti D, Avila L, Eng C, Vora H, Lenoir MA, Soto-Quiros M, Liu J, Celedón JC, Farber HJ, Kumar R, Avila PC, Meade K, Serebrisky D, Thyne S, Rodriguez-Cintron W, Rodriguez-Santana JR, Borrell LN, Lemanske RF Jr, Bleecker ER, Meyers DA, London SJ, Barnes KC, Raby BA, Martinez FD, Gilliland FD, Williams LK, Burchard EG, Weiss ST, Nicolae DL, Ober C.: Further Replication Studies of the EVE Consortium Meta-Analysis Identifies 2 Asthma Risk Loci in European Americans. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 130(6): 1294-301, 2012.

Xu JF, Washko GR, Nakahira K, Hatabu H, Patel AS, Fernandez IE, Nishino M, Okajima Y, Yamashiro T, Ross JC, Estépar RS, Diaz AA, Li HP, Qu JM, Himes BE, Come CE, D'Aco K, Martinez FJ, Han MK, Lynch DA, Crapo JD, Morse D, Ryter SW, Silverman EK, Rosas IO, Choi AM, Hunninghake GM; the COPDGene Investigators.: Statins and Pulmonary Fibrosis: The Potential Role of NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 185(5): 547-56, 2012.

Torgerson DG, Ampleford EJ, Chiu GY, Gauderman WJ, Gignoux CR, Graves PE, Himes BE, Levin AM, Mathias RA, Hancock DB, Baurley JW, Eng C, Stern DA, Celedón JC, Rafaels N, Capurso D, Conti DV, Roth LA, Soto-Quiros M, Togias A, Li X, Myers RA, Romieu I, Berg DJ, Hu D, Hansel NN, Hernandez RD, Israel E, Salam MT, Galanter J, Avila PC, Avila L, Rodriquez-Santana JR, Chapela R, Rodriguez-Cintron W, Diette GB, Adkinson NF, Abel RA, Ross KD, Shi M, Faruque MU, Dunston GM, Watson HR, Mantese VJ, Ezurum SC, Liang L, Ruczinski I, Ford JG, Huntsman S, Chung KF, Vora H, Li X, Calhoun WJ, Castro M, Sienra-Monge JJ, Del Rio-Navarro B, Deichmann KA, Heinzmann A, Wenzel SE, Busse WW, Gern JE, Lemanske RF Jr, Beaty TH, Bleecker ER, Raby BA, Meyers DA, London SJ; Children's Health Study (CHS) and HARBORS study, Gilliland FD; Genetics of Asthma in Latino Americans (GALA) Study, the Study of Genes- Environment and Admixture in Latino Americans (GALA2) and the Study of African Americans, Asthma, Genes & Environments (SAGE), Burchard EG; Childhood Asthma Research and Education (CARE) Network, Martinez FD; Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP), Weiss ST; Study of Asthma Phenotypes and Pharmacogenomic Interactions by Race-Ethnicity (SAPPHIRE), Williams LK; Genetic Research on Asthma in the African Diaspora (GRAAD) Study, Barnes KC, Ober C, Nicolae DL. : Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of asthma in ethnically diverse North American populations. Nat Genet. 43(9): 887-92, 2011.

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Last updated: 12/01/2017
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