faculty photo

Benjamin Franklin Voight

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology
Department: Pharmacology

Contact information
10-126 Smilow Center for Translational Research
3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Building 421
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-746-8083
Fax: 215-573-9135
Education:
BA (Mathematics)
University of Washington, 2001.
BS (Biology)
University of Washington, 2001.
PhD (Human Genetics)
University of Chicago, 2006.
Post-Graduate Training
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Human Genetics, Massachusetts General Hospital, 2006-2009.
Research Affiliate, Human Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, 2006-2009.
Research Scientist, Human Genetics, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, 2009-2011.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interest
Our lab develops and utilizes statistical genetics, computational biology, and population genetics-based approaches to understand the biological underpinnings and evolutionary history of human traits and complex disease.

Keywords
Population Genetics, Statistical Genetics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Statistics, Systems Biology, Metabolic Disorder, Type-2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, Obesity, Myocardial Infarction, Cholesterol Levels, Natural Selection, Demography, Genome-wide Association Study (GWAS), Next-Generation Sequencing, Mendelian Randomization.

Research Summary
The central aim in my lab is to understand the genetic, biological, and evolutionary basis of metabolic and cardiovascular phenotypes in human populations. To build this understanding, the lab constructs computational and statistical tools grounded in principles of population biology and quantitative genetics. These tools are then applied to genetic data collected across thousands of whole human genomes.

My research has answered population genetic questions about recent demographic and selective events in human populations, and work to develop new statistics to identify selective pressures is ongoing. Recent work in the lab has focused on statistical models which capture variability in the rate of mutation in the human genome.

I have an active interest in mapping risk alleles for common diseases, particularly type-2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, but perhaps more importantly, to identify the causal variant, gene, and mechanism that influences risk to these diseases from existing non-coding associations identified by genome-wide association studies.

I continue to utilize the framework of Mendelian Randomization, to perform causal inference studies between genetically-heritable biomarkers and complex diseases. Work in the lab is toward applications, but also development of novel methodologies.

In the coming years, the lab activities will focus on several key areas of interest, which includes:
- Developing statistical models to capture variability in the rate of mutation in human genomes, with application to identifying de novo mutations and rare variation related to human disease

- Computational methods and functional characterization of the causal variants and genes related to non-coding associations for type 2 diabetes and heart disease

- Developing informational and statistical tools which interrogate human genetic association data together with other sources of 'omics data to construct credibly actionable information on pathways responsible for disease susceptibility

- Population genetic methods to identify loci in the human genome which are targets of natural selective pressures, and to further identify the causal variants and genes responsible

- Genomics in Arachnids to understand the structure and function of spider silk genes

Positions Available!
For the 2016-2017 academic year, my lab has openings for computational post-doctoral positions. Please see the following site for further details on how to apply.

The lab also has a number of potential graduate student rotation projects available for the 2016-2017 academic year. Ideal students will have a strong background in computational sciences, and projects will be built around human genetic data, bioinformatic applications, statistical genetic analysis, epidemiology, and/or population and systems biology. Please contact me if you are interested.

Selected Publications

Diabetes Genetics Initiative of Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Lund University, and Novartis Institutes of BioMedical Research, Saxena R, Voight BF, Lyssenko V, Burtt NP, de Bakker PI, Chen H, Roix JJ, Kathiresan S, Hirschhorn JN, Daly MJ, Hughes TE, Groop L, Altshuler D, Almgren P, Florez JC, Meyer J, Ardlie K, Bengtsson Boström K, Isomaa B, Lettre G, Lindblad U, Lyon HN, Melander O, Newton-Cheh C, Nilsson P, Orho-Melander M, Råstam L, Speliotes EK, Taskinen MR, Tuomi T, Guiducci C, Berglund A, Carlson J, Gianniny L, Hackett R, Hall L, Holmkvist J, Laurila E, Sjögren M, Sterner M, Surti A, Svensson M, Svensson M, Tewhey R, Blumenstiel B, Parkin M, Defelice M, Barry R, Brodeur W, Camarata J, Chia N, Fava M, Gibbons J, Handsaker B, Healy C, Nguyen K, Gates C, Sougnez C, Gage D, Nizzari M, Gabriel SB, Chirn GW, Ma Q, Parikh H, Richardson D, Ricke D, Purcell S: Genome-wide association analysis identifies loci for type 2 diabetes and triglyceride levels. Science (New York, N.Y.) 316(5829): 1331-6, Jun 2007.

Voight BF, Kudaravalli S, Wen X, Pritchard JK: A map of recent positive selection in the human genome. PLoS Biology 4(3): e72, Mar 2006.

Voight BF, Peloso GM, Orho-Melander M, Frikke-Schmidt R, Barbalic M, Jensen MK, Hindy G, Hólm H, Ding EL, Johnson T, Schunkert H, Samani NJ, Clarke R, Hopewell JC, Thompson JF, Li M, Thorleifsson G, Newton-Cheh C, Musunuru K, Pirruccello JP, Saleheen D, Chen L, Stewart AF, Schillert A, Thorsteinsdottir U, Thorgeirsson G, Anand S, Engert JC, Morgan T, Spertus J, Stoll M, Berger K, Martinelli N, Girelli D, McKeown PP, Patterson CC, Epstein SE, Devaney J, Burnett MS, Mooser V, Ripatti S, Surakka I, Nieminen MS, Sinisalo J, Lokki ML, Perola M, Havulinna A, de Faire U, Gigante B, Ingelsson E, Zeller T, Wild P, de Bakker PI, Klungel OH, Maitland-van der Zee AH, Peters BJ, de Boer A, Grobbee DE, Kamphuisen PW, Deneer VH, Elbers CC, Onland-Moret NC, Hofker MH, Wijmenga C, Verschuren WM, Boer JM, van der Schouw YT, Rasheed A, Frossard P, Demissie S, Willer C, Do R, Ordovas JM, Abecasis GR, Boehnke M, Mohlke KL, Daly MJ, Guiducci C, Burtt NP, Surti A, Gonzalez E, Purcell S, Gabriel S, Marrugat J, Peden J, Erdmann J, Diemert P, Willenborg C, König IR, Fischer M, Hengstenberg C, Ziegler A, Buysschaert I, Lambrechts D, Van de Werf F, Fox KA, El Mokhtari NE, Rubin D, Schrezenmeir J, Schreiber S, Schäfer A, Danesh J, Blankenberg S, Roberts R, McPherson R, Watkins H, Hall AS, Overvad K, Rimm E, Boerwinkle E, Tybjaerg-Hansen A, Cupples LA, Reilly MP, Melander O, Mannucci PM, Ardissino D, Siscovick D, Elosua R, Stefansson K, O'Donnell CJ, Salomaa V, Rader DJ, Peltonen L, Schwartz SM, Altshuler D, Kathiresan S. : Plasma HDL cholesterol and risk of myocardial infarction: a mendelian randomisation study. The Lancet 380(9841): 572-580, Aug 2012.

Voight BF, Scott LJ, Steinthorsdottir V, Morris AP, Dina C, Welch RP, Zeggini E, Huth C, Aulchenko YS, Thorleifsson G, McCulloch LJ, Ferreira T, Grallert H, Amin N, Wu G, Willer CJ, Raychaudhuri S, McCarroll SA, Langenberg C, Hofmann OM, Dupuis J, Qi L, Segrè AV, van Hoek M, Navarro P, Ardlie K, Balkau B, Benediktsson R, Bennett AJ, Blagieva R, Boerwinkle E, Bonnycastle LL, Bengtsson Boström K, Bravenboer B, Bumpstead S, Burtt NP, Charpentier G, Chines PS, Cornelis M, Couper DJ, Crawford G, Doney AS, Elliott KS, Elliott AL, Erdos MR, Fox CS, Franklin CS, Ganser M, Gieger C, Grarup N, Green T, Griffin S, Groves CJ, Guiducci C, Hadjadj S, Hassanali N, Herder C, Isomaa B, Jackson AU, Johnson PR, Jørgensen T, Kao WH, Klopp N, Kong A, Kraft P, Kuusisto J, Lauritzen T, Li M, Lieverse A, Lindgren CM, Lyssenko V, Marre M, Meitinger T, Midthjell K, Morken MA, Narisu N, Nilsson P, Owen KR, Payne F, Perry JR, Petersen AK, Platou C, Proença C, Prokopenko I, Rathmann W, Rayner NW, Robertson NR, Rocheleau G, Roden M, Sampson MJ, Saxena R, Shields BM, Shrader P, Sigurdsson G, Sparsø T, Strassburger K, Stringham HM, Sun Q, Swift AJ, Thorand B, Tichet J, Tuomi T, van Dam RM, van Haeften TW, van Herpt T, van Vliet-Ostaptchouk JV, Walters GB, Weedon MN, Wijmenga C, Witteman J, Bergman RN, Cauchi S, Collins FS, Gloyn AL, Gyllensten U, Hansen T, Hide WA, Hitman GA, Hofman A, Hunter DJ, Hveem K, Laakso M, Mohlke KL, Morris AD, Palmer CN, Pramstaller PP, Rudan I, Sijbrands E, Stein LD, Tuomilehto J, Uitterlinden A, Walker M, Wareham NJ, Watanabe RM, Abecasis GR, Boehm BO, Campbell H, Daly MJ, Hattersley AT, Hu FB, Meigs JB, Pankow JS, Pedersen O, Wichmann HE, Barroso I, Florez JC, Frayling TM, Groop L, Sladek R, Thorsteinsdottir U, Wilson JF, Illig T, Froguel P, van Duijn CM, Stefansson K, Altshuler D, Boehnke M, McCarthy MI; MAGIC investigators; GIANT Consortium.: Twelve type 2 diabetes susceptibility loci identified through large-scale association analysis. Nature Genetics 42(7): 579-89, Jul 2010.

Aggarwala V and Voight BF: An expanded sequence context model broadly explains variability in polymorphism levels across the human genome. Nature Genetics 48(4): 349–355, Apr 2016 Notes: doi: 10.1038/ng.3511.

Georgi B, Voight BF, Bućan M: From mouse to human: evolutionary genomics analysis of human orthologs of essential genes. PLoS Genetics 9(5): e1003484, May 2013.

Keenan T, Zhao W, Rasheed A, Ho WK, Malik R, Felix JF, Young R, Shah N, Samuel M, Sheikh N, Mucksavage ML, Shah O, Li J, Morley M, Laser A, Mallick NH, Zaman KS, Ishaq M, Rasheed SZ, Memon FU, Ahmed F, Hanif B, Lakhani MS, Fahim M, Ishaq M, Shardha NK, Ahmed N, Mahmood K, Iqbal W, Akhtar S, Raheel R, O'Donnell CJ, Hengstenberg C, März W, Kathiresan S, Samani N, Goel A, Hopewell JC, Chambers J, Cheng YC, Sharma P, Yang Q, Rosand J, Boncoraglio GB, Kazmi SU, Hakonarson H, Köttgen A, Kalogeropoulos A, Frossard P, Kamal A, Dichgans M, Cappola T, Reilly MP, Danesh J, Rader DJ, Voight BF, Saleheen D.: Causal Assessment of Serum Urate Levels in Cardiometabolic Diseases Through a Mendelian Randomization Study. J Am Coll Cardiol 67(4): 407-16, Feb 2016.

Kathiresan S, Voight BF, Purcell S, Musunuru K, Ardissino D, Mannucci PM, Anand S, Engert JC, Samani NJ, Schunkert H, Erdmann J, Reilly MP, Rader DJ, Morgan T, Spertus JA, Stoll M, Girelli D, McKeown PP, Patterson CC, Siscovick DS, O'Donnell CJ, Elosua R, Peltonen L, Salomaa V, Schwartz SM, Melander O, Altshuler D, Ardissino D, Merlini PA, Berzuini C, Bernardinelli L, Peyvandi F, Tubaro M, Celli P, Ferrario M, Fetiveau R, Marziliano N, Casari G, Galli M, Ribichini F, Rossi M, Bernardi F, Zonzin P, Piazza A, Mannucci PM, Schwartz SM, Siscovick DS, Yee J, Friedlander Y, Elosua R, Marrugat J, Lucas G, Subirana I, Sala J, Ramos R, Kathiresan S, Meigs JB, Williams G, Nathan DM, MacRae CA, O'Donnell CJ, Salomaa V, Havulinna AS, Peltonen L, Melander O, Berglund G, Voight BF, Kathiresan S, Hirschhorn JN, Asselta R, Duga S, Spreafico M, Musunuru K, Daly MJ, Purcell S, Voight BF, Purcell S, Nemesh J, Korn JM, McCarroll SA, Schwartz SM, Yee J, Kathiresan S, Lucas G, Subirana I, Elosua R, Surti A, Guiducci C, Gianniny L, Mirel D, Parkin M, Burtt N, Gabriel SB, Samani NJ, Thompson JR, Braund PS, Wright BJ, Balmforth AJ, Ball SG, Hall A; Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Schunkert H, Erdmann J, Linsel-Nitschke P, Lieb W, Ziegler A, König I, Hengstenberg C, Fischer M, Stark K, Grosshennig A, Preuss M, Wichmann HE, Schreiber S, Schunkert H, Samani NJ, Erdmann J, Ouwehand W, Hengstenberg C, Deloukas P, Scholz M, Cambien F, Reilly MP, Li M, Chen Z, Wilensky R, Matthai W, Qasim A, Hakonarson HH, Devaney J, Burnett MS, Pichard AD, Kent KM, Satler L, Lindsay JM, Waksman R, Knouff CW, Waterworth DM, Walker MC, Mooser V, Epstein SE, Rader DJ, Scheffold T, Berger K, Stoll M, Huge A, Girelli D, Martinelli N, Olivieri O, Corrocher R, Morgan T, Spertus JA, McKeown P, Patterson CC, Schunkert H, Erdmann E, Linsel-Nitschke P, Lieb W, Ziegler A, König IR, Hengstenberg C, Fischer M, Stark K, Grosshennig A, Preuss M, Wichmann HE, Schreiber S, Hólm H, Thorleifsson G, Thorsteinsdottir U, Stefansson K, Engert JC, Do R, Xie C, Anand S, Kathiresan S, Ardissino D, Mannucci PM, Siscovick D, O'Donnell CJ, Samani NJ, Melander O, Elosua R, Peltonen L, Salomaa V, Schwartz SM, Altshuler D: Genome-wide association of early-onset myocardial infarction with single nucleotide polymorphisms and copy number variants. Nature Genetics 41(3): 334-41, Mar 2009.

Cotsapas C*, Voight BF*, Rossin E, Lage K, Neale BM, Wallace C, Abecasis GR, Barrett JC, Behrens T, Cho J, De Jager PL, Elder JT, Graham RR, Gregersen P, Klareskog L, Siminovitch KA, van Heel DA, Wijmenga C, Worthington J, Todd JA, Hafler DA, Rich SS, Daly MJ: Pervasive sharing of genetic effects in autoimmune disease. PLoS Genetics 7(8): e1002254, Aug 2011.

Voight BF, Kang HM, Ding J, Palmer CD, Sidore C, Chines PS, Burtt NP, Fuchsberger C, Li Y, Erdmann J, Frayling TM, Heid IM, Jackson AU, Johnson T, Kilpeläinen TO, Lindgren CM, Morris AP, Prokopenko I, Randall JC, Saxena R, Soranzo N, Speliotes EK, Teslovich TM, Wheeler E, Maguire J, Parkin M, Potter S, Rayner NW, Robertson N, Stirrups K, Winckler W, Sanna S, Mulas A, Nagaraja R, Cucca F, Barroso I, Deloukas P, Loos RJ, Kathiresan S, Munroe PB, Newton-Cheh C, Pfeufer A, Samani NJ, Schunkert H, Hirschhorn JN, Altshuler D, McCarthy MI, Abecasis GR, Boehnke M.: The metabochip, a custom genotyping array for genetic studies of metabolic, cardiovascular, and anthropometric traits. PLoS Genetics 8(8): e1002793, Aug 2012.

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Last updated: 08/08/2016
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