Research Core Directors

Esteban G. Burchard, M.D., M.P.H.

Harry Wm. and Diana V. Hind Distinguished Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Professor, Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences and Medicine

University of California, San Francisco
1550 4th Street
Room 584B, Box 2911
San Francisco, CA 94143

Tel: 415-514-9677
Fax: 415-514-4365

Asthma Collaboratory

Esteban González Burchard, M.D., M.P.H., is a physician-scientist with formal training and expertise in pulmonary medicine, epidemiology, molecular genetics, genetic and clinical research. He has led a large research program focusing on minority children and geneenvironment interactions since 2001. Dr. Burchard served as an advisor to the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S. Congress on gene-environment interactions. Dr. Burchard has expertise in the field of precision medicine and served on the Expert Panel for President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative. He initiated and now directs four independent asthma studies in minority children. He has assembled a collaborative team of co-investigators on several projects with specific expertise in genetics, social and environmental epidemiology. Dr. Burchard is the lead PI of the NIH/NHLBI funded PRIMERO, the Puerto Rican Infant Metagenomic and Epidemiologic study of Respiratory Outcomes birth cohort study (U01HL138626), which is designed to study early-life respiratory viral infections.

Dr. Esteban Burchard directs the UCSF Asthma Genetics Core Facility, now named the Asthma Collaboratory, which is now the largest biorepository from minority populations with asthma in the world. The Asthma Biobank is open to reputable scientists seeking to assess genetic risk for variants in populations of interest or to extend findings made in animal models to suggest potential mechanistic involvement in human asthma. The Asthma Collaboratory has met continued goals to expand the numbers of patient samples; to extend the numbers of collaborators both nationally and internationally who use the database; and to continue to spearhead genetic studies in minority populations with asthma. The Burchard lab has led efforts to identify genetic modifiers of drugs used in asthma that might contribute to the poorer response in a number of ethnic populations and more recently is leading efforts to find biomarkers for different subsets of asthma as defined by presentation or response to therapy. These efforts have contributed to over 300 publications with more than 90 collaborators. Dr. Burchard served on President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative and has begun efforts to prepare a US-wide Asthma Genetics Consortium grant funded by the NIH.

Dr. Burchard’s team is taking a comprehensive approach to studying asthma and related phenotypes in minority children by focusing on genetic, social and environmental risk factors with the goal of creating innovative therapies and identifying targets for public health inventions. Dr. Burchard’s team was the first to leverage genetic ancestry to identify novel genetic and environmental risk factors for disease and drug response. Dr. Burchard’s laboratory recently completed the largest genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and admixture-mapping scans of asthma in minority children and total IgE in the United States. Dr. Burchard and his team published the largest air pollution and genome-wide study of asthma in minority children. His research has been seminal in elucidating the pathogenesis of asthma and asthma related traits in minority populations.

Lab Objectives:
  1. Focus on the interplay between genes and their social and physical environments to determine the root causes of asthma health disparities among different populations locally and globally.
  2. Identify risk factors associated with poor drug response, which we hope will lead the way to better therapies for all populations.
  3. Collaborate with other researchers in the field and share our results and strengths.
Selected Publications:
  1. Borrell LN*, Elhawary JR*, Fuentes-Afflick E, Witonsky J, Bhakta N, Wu AB, Bibbins-Domingo K, Rodriguez-Santana JR, Gavin J, Kittles R, Zaitlen NA, Wilkes DS, Powe N, Ziv E, Burchard EG*. Race and Genetic Ancestry -- A time for reckoning with racism. N Engl J Med. 2021 Feb 4;384(5):474-480. PMID: 33406325. * authors contributed equally
  2. Lee EY, Mak ACY, Hu D, Sajuthi S, White MJ, Keys KL, Eckalbar W, Bonser L, Huntsman S, Urbanek C, Eng C, Jain D, Abecasis G, Kang HM, Germer S, Zody MC, Nickerson DA, Erle D, Ziv E, Rodriguez-Santana J, Seibold MA and Burchard EG. Whole-Genome Sequencing Identifies Novel Functional Loci Associated with Lung Function in Puerto Rican Youth. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2020 Oct 1; 202(7):962- 972. PMID: 32459537.
  3. Mak ACY, Sajuthi S, Joo J, Xiao S, Sleiman PM, White MJ, Lee EY, Saef B, Hu D, Gui H, Keys KL, Lurmann F, Jain D, Abecasis G, Kang HM, Nickerson DA, Germer S, Zody MC, Winterkorn L, Reeves C, Huntsman S, Eng C, Salazar S, Oh SS, Gilliland FD, Chen Z, Kumar R, Martínez FD, Wu AC, Ziv E, Hakonarson H, Himes BE, Williams LK, Seibold MA and Burchard EG. Lung Function in African American Children with Asthma Is Associated with Novel Regulatory Variants of the KIT Ligand KITLG/SCF and Gene-By-Air-Pollution Interaction. Genetics. 2020 Jul; 215(3):869- 886. PMID: 32327564.
  4. Neophytou AM, Oh SS, Hu D, Huntsman S, Eng C, Rodríguez-Santana JR, Kumar R, Balmes JR, Eisen EA and Burchard EG. In utero tobacco smoke exposure, DNA methylation, and asthma in Latino children. Environ Epidemiol. 2019 Jun; 3(3):e048. PMID: 31342008.
  5. Thakur N, Borrell LN, Ye M, Oh SS, Eng C, Meade K, Avila PC, Farber HJ, Serebrisky D, Brigino-Buenaventura E, Rodriguez-Cintron W, Kumar R, Bibbins-Domingo K, Thyne S, Sen S, Rodriguez-Santana JR and Burchard EG. Acculturation is associated with asthma burden and pulmonary function in Latino youth: The GALA II study. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019 May; 143(5):1914-1922. PMID: 30682453.