All Press Releases for September 27, 2023

Geetha Chittoor Recognized by Marquis Who's Who

Ms. Geetha Chittoor is a bioinformatics scientist and researcher focused on bettering community health

All these activities showcase her significant research contributions to the health landscape of the U.S. populations.

    LEWISBURG, PA, September 27, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Geetha Chittoor, PhD, has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

Dr. Chittoor's love of science was sparked at an early age, and this passion of hers propelled her through the many challenges she navigated on the path to her career as a bioinformatics staff scientist. During both her undergraduate and graduate careers, she continually associated with projects involving health-related research. Dr. Chittoor's achievements are attributed to her upbringing and the values instilled in her by her late father, Rajasekhara Reddy Chittoor. Since she had a familial history of chronic diseases, Dr. Chittoor desired to study the genetic and environmental factors that influence a broad range of common complex diseases including obesity, diabetes, and other cardiometabolic disorders. She always has been concerned with identifying the genes underlying complex phenotypes because such findings may ultimately contribute to the development of effective strategies to prevent disease or treat individuals at high risk for a given disease. Dr. Chittoor is trained in anthropology, epidemiology, and in quantitative and statistical genetic techniques. Dr. Chittoor's research has a global focus as she has been involved in studies in European, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian, and African descent populations involving chronic diseases, its risk factors, and related biomarkers. Additionally, her research experiences are extensive and varied with a direct relevance to health disparities in the United States multi-ethnic populations.

As part of her master's thesis, she examined the profiles of obesity and blood pressure in two endogamous populations of the Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Following the completion of a master's degree in biological anthropology in India, at Sri Venkateswara University, she moved to the United States in 2004 to pursue a doctorate in biological anthropology with a focus on anthropological genetics and genetic epidemiology at The University of Kansas (KU). Although Dr. Chittoor experienced culture shock upon arriving to the U.S., she quickly adapted with support from Lab of Biological Anthropology family and excelled, holding numerous teaching and research assistant positions while pursuing her doctorate. She received summer research internship at Kansas Health Institute (2006), and the Allan Hanson Excellence in Anthropological Teaching Award (2008/2009) for being an outstanding graduate teaching assistant at KU. She also received Outstanding Research Poster Presentation Award two times (Spring 2007 and Spring 2009) being part of Graduate Student Research Competition in Social Sciences/Education Category at KU. For her PhD dissertation, she addressed similar issues with emphasis on genetic epidemiological investigation of blood pressure and its correlation with metabolic syndrome-related traits in Mexican American children from San Antonio Family Assessment of Metabolic Risk Indicators in Youth study.

Prior to graduating in 2009, Dr. Chittoor secured a Cowles postdoctoral fellowship at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Her involvement at Texas Biomed provided an opportunity to work with top experts (Drs. Duggirala and Blangero) in the field of genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics. She has participated in various projects through structured training and fruitful collaborations applying statistical genetic methods including pedigree-based and variance component techniques. She developed a remarkable research portfolio on the genetic epidemiology of both infectious and chronic complex diseases, with a focus on metabolic syndrome in U.S. minority populations. From 2014 to 2016, she continued as a postdoctoral research associate at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she worked with Drs. Voruganti and North. She investigated the genetic and nutritional epidemiology of complex traits in family-based studies, before promoted to the position of research scientist, specifically an analytical geneticist with a focus on nutrigenetics. During her time in North Carolina, Dr. Chittoor was an invited speaker at the Triangle Statistical Genetics Conference at the SAS Campus, also volunteered to present science activities at local schools and colleges. Moreover, she was involved with Genetic Analysis Workshop 18 and 19, which acts as a forum for investigators to propose new methods for analysis, where she collaborated on developing novel statistical genetic methods for analysis of longitudinal measures of disease risk, therefore, enabling a better understanding of disease progression for the population across time. These experiences enhanced her understanding in genetic epidemiology of complex diseases in ethnically diverse populations as showcased in her publication history.

Since 2017, she has worked as a bioinformatics staff scientist in Justice Lab at Geisinger. She applies advanced bioinformatic tools to dissect the genetic architecture of complex traits in large family- and population- based cohort studies or consortia (e.g., CHARGE, GIANT, MyCode, TOPMed): 1) mainly quantitative genetic analyses of family data using pedigree-based variance component techniques, 2) statistical genetic techniques involving large-scale data sets from candidate-gene, genome-wide, resequencing ('omics), and epigenetic data both in related and unrelated individuals, and 3) utilizing health care system founded electronic health record biobanks for common disease research. Dr. Chittoor is working with electronic health record data in real time, contributing to community-based research and thus improving patient health. She believes these integrated health systems with electronic health record data will help researchers identify real-time trends (e.g., COVID) and provide meaningful insights into community health. Some of Dr. Chittoor's research is funded, she is a co-investigator on "Integrated trajectory data and machine learning approaches for precision obesity medicine', this project will develop a novel integrated framework with statistical and machine learning approaches for characterizing patterns and subtypes of longitudinal body mass index change, identifying its genetic antecedents and its influence on downstream influence on type 2 diabetes and related comorbidities. Also, "Developing a P4 medicine approach to Obstructive Sleep Apnea". This research is designed to develop a precision medicine approach to this condition. It will develop new tools to predict disease earlier and more effectively, understand biomarkers relevant to important disease consequences, and provide a personalized assessment of risk for important aspects of disease heterogeneity. She is also actively involved with Employee Resource Groups at Geisinger for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Chittoor hopes to grow her role beyond being a bioinformatic staff scientist and aspires to be an independent researcher with the freedom to pursue impactful research that delivers results to patients and the wider community.

As a result of her work, Dr. Chittoor held several professional memberships including International Genetic Epidemiology Society, The Obesity Society, American Society of Human Genetics along with American Association of Anthropological Genetics, American Diabetes Association, and Advancing Science, Serving Society. Alongside her contributions as a researcher, she gained additional knowledge and hands on experience on advanced analytical tools at various national and international meetings and professional workshops, translated the research findings into scientific conference presentations (50+), book chapters (2), and publications (35+). She has also acquired practical knowledge on Institutional Review Board (IRB-) and grant writing related issues, and most importantly, commendable multi-faceted work commitment towards scientific achievements and stature in the research community as a peer reviewer, guest associate editor, review editor, and an editorial board member. She continues to volunteer for science related activities, she acted as the 2019 DNA Day Judge for the American Society of Human Genetics. As part of seminar series this March for The Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy at UNC Chapel Hill, her talk titled, "Polygenic risk for body mass index is associated with atypical antipsychotic induced weight gain". She also chaired a session as a member of Program & Publications Committee and Public Relations Committee for World Applied Anthropology Congress held in Kansas this June. Recently, Dr. Chittoor guest lectured on "From biological anthropology to biomedical research and beyond" for 19th International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences – World Anthropological Union: World Anthropology Pre-Congress 2023 held virtually in India.

All these activities showcase her significant research contributions to the health landscape of the U.S. populations. Dr. Chittoor's over-arching research goal is to integrate her skills as an anthropologist, epidemiologist, geneticist, and as a collaborative scientist/educator, bring together the biomedical and public health perspectives to investigate cardiometabolic disease risk in identifying disease susceptibility and targeted interventions to decrease the chronic disease burden. Pioneering biomedical research holds great importance for the future of human health globally, Dr. Chittoor desires to be an integral part of such establishment. Dr. Chittoor believes in work-life balance, loves dance, performs, and teaches Indian dance forms, also indulges in cooking, gardening, crafting, and social advocacy in her free time. Lastly, Dr. Chittoor would like to thank all her mentors, especially her PhD mentor - Dr. Michael Crawford, and her colleagues and friends. She is also grateful to have a supportive family, mainly her mother - Suneetha, her brother - Prasad & his family - Swathi, Aadya, Raj, and her son - Himay.

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Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America®, Marquis Who's Who® has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Marquis celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2023, and Who's Who in America® remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis® publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who® website at

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