Carole Ober, PhD

The research goals of my laboratory are to identify genetic variants that influence gene expression and epigenetic marks in tissues relevant to complex phenotypes and common diseases, in particular those related to asthma, allergy and preterm birth. To this end we are using both freshly isolated cells and tissues and cell culture models of gene-environment interactions to dissect the genetic architecture of common diseases. Our studies are conducted in founder populations, the Hutterites of South Dakota and the Amish of northern Indiana, in U.S. and European birth cohorts, and in patient populations from Chicago.

Northwestern University
Evanston, IL
PhD - Biological Anthropology

George Washington University
Washington, D.C.
BA - Anthropology

FUT2-ABO epistasis increases the risk of early childhood asthma and Streptococcus pneumoniae respiratory illnesses.
Ahluwalia TS, Eliasen AU, Sevelsted A, Pedersen CT, Stokholm J, Chawes B, Bork-Jensen J, Grarup N, Pedersen O, Hansen T, Linneberg A, Sharma A, Weiss ST, Evans MD, Jackson DJ, Morin A, Krogfelt KA, Schjørring S, Mortensen PB, Hougaard DM, Bybjerg-Grauholm J, Bækvad-Hansen M, Mors O, Nordentoft M, Børglum AD, Werge T, Agerbo E, Gern JE, Lemanske RF, Ober C, Pedersen AG, Bisgaard H, Bønnelykke K. FUT2-ABO epistasis increases the risk of early childhood asthma and Streptococcus pneumoniae respiratory illnesses. Nat Commun. 2020 12 16; 11(1):6398.
PMID: 33328473

Transcriptome and regulatory maps of decidua-derived stromal cells inform gene discovery in preterm birth.
Sakabe NJ, Aneas I, Knoblauch N, Sobreira DR, Clark N, Paz C, Horth C, Ziffra R, Kaur H, Liu X, Anderson R, Morrison J, Cheung VC, Grotegut C, Reddy TE, Jacobsson B, Hallman M, Teramo K, Murtha A, Kessler J, Grobman W, Zhang G, Muglia LJ, Rana S, Lynch VJ, Crawford GE, Ober C, He X, Nóbrega MA. Transcriptome and regulatory maps of decidua-derived stromal cells inform gene discovery in preterm birth. Sci Adv. 2020 Dec; 6(49).
PMID: 33268355

Altered transcriptional and chromatin responses to rhinovirus in bronchial epithelial cells from adults with asthma.
Helling BA, Sobreira DR, Hansen GT, Sakabe NJ, Luo K, Billstrand C, Laxman B, Nicolae RI, Nicolae DL, Bochkov YA, Gern JE, Nobrega MA, White SR, Ober C. Altered transcriptional and chromatin responses to rhinovirus in bronchial epithelial cells from adults with asthma. Commun Biol. 2020 Nov 13; 3(1):678.
PMID: 33188283

Epigenome-wide association study of DNA methylation and adult asthma in the Agricultural Lung Health Study.
Hoang TT, Sikdar S, Xu CJ, Lee MK, Cardwell J, Forno E, Imboden M, Jeong A, Madore AM, Qi C, Wang T, Bennett BD, Ward JM, Parks CG, Beane-Freeman LE, King D, Motsinger-Reif A, Umbach DM, Wyss AB, Schwartz DA, Celedón JC, Laprise C, Ober C, Probst-Hensch N, Yang IV, Koppelman GH, London SJ. Epigenome-wide association study of DNA methylation and adult asthma in the Agricultural Lung Health Study. Eur Respir J. 2020 Sep; 56(3).
PMID: 32381493

Cytokine-induced molecular responses in airway smooth muscle cells inform genome-wide association studies of asthma.
Thompson EE, Dang Q, Mitchell-Handley B, Rajendran K, Ram-Mohan S, Solway J, Ober C, Krishnan R. Cytokine-induced molecular responses in airway smooth muscle cells inform genome-wide association studies of asthma. Genome Med. 2020 07 20; 12(1):64.
PMID: 32690065

Epigenetic landscape links upper airway microbiota in infancy with allergic rhinitis at 6 years of age.
Morin A, McKennan CG, Pedersen CT, Stokholm J, Chawes BL, Malby Schoos AM, Naughton KA, Thorsen J, Mortensen MS, Vercelli D, Trivedi U, Sørensen SJ, Bisgaard H, Nicolae DL, Bønnelykke K, Ober C. Epigenetic landscape links upper airway microbiota in infancy with allergic rhinitis at 6 years of age. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Dec; 146(6):1358-1366.
PMID: 32693091

Expression quantitative trait locus fine mapping of the 17q12-21 asthma locus in African American children: a genetic association and gene expression study.
Ober C, McKennan CG, Magnaye KM, Altman MC, Washington C, Stanhope C, Naughton KA, Rosasco MG, Bacharier LB, Billheimer D, Gold DR, Gress L, Hartert T, Havstad S, Khurana Hershey GK, Hallmark B, Hogarth DK, Jackson DJ, Johnson CC, Kattan M, Lemanske RF, Lynch SV, Mendonca EA, Miller RL, Naureckas ET, O'Connor GT, Seroogy CM, Wegienka G, White SR, Wood RA, Wright AL, Zoratti EM, Martinez FD, Ownby D, Nicolae DL, Levin AM, Gern JE. Expression quantitative trait locus fine mapping of the 17q12-21 asthma locus in African American children: a genetic association and gene expression study. Lancet Respir Med. 2020 05; 8(5):482-492.
PMID: 32380068

Association of respiratory allergy, asthma, and expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2.
Jackson DJ, Busse WW, Bacharier LB, Kattan M, O'Connor GT, Wood RA, Visness CM, Durham SR, Larson D, Esnault S, Ober C, Gergen PJ, Becker P, Togias A, Gern JE, Altman MC. Association of respiratory allergy, asthma, and expression of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020 Jul; 146(1):203-206.e3.
PMID: 32333915

Club Cell TRPV4 Serves as a Damage Sensor Driving Lung Allergic Inflammation.
Wiesner DL, Merkhofer RM, Ober C, Kujoth GC, Niu M, Keller NP, Gern JE, Brockman-Schneider RA, Evans MD, Jackson DJ, Warner T, Jarjour NN, Esnault SJ, Feldman MB, Freeman M, Mou H, Vyas JM, Klein BS. Club Cell TRPV4 Serves as a Damage Sensor Driving Lung Allergic Inflammation. Cell Host Microbe. 2020 04 08; 27(4):614-628.e6.
PMID: 32130954

Club Cell TRPV4 Serves as a Damage Sensor Driving Lung Allergic Inflammation.
Wiesner DL, Merkhofer RM, Ober C, Kujoth GC, Niu M, Keller NP, Gern JE, Brockman-Schneider RA, Evans MD, Jackson DJ, Warner T, Jarjour NN, Esnault SJ, Feldman MB, Freeman M, Mou H, Vyas JM, Klein BS. Club Cell TRPV4 Serves as a Damage Sensor Driving Lung Allergic Inflammation. . 2020 04 08; 27(4):614-628.e6.
PMID: 32130954

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Distinguished Service Professor
University of Chicago
2018

Jonas Salk Health Leadership Award for Research
March of Dimes
2017

Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Award
Clinical Research Forum
2017

John E. Salvaggio Memorial Lectureship
American Association of Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology
2015

Reuben M. Cherniak Lecturer
Petty Aspen Lung Conference
2015

Fellow
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
2014

Named Blum-Riese Professor
University of Chicago
2010

Northwestern Obstetrics and Gynecology Award
Northwestern University Medical School
2005

Charles Reed Lectureship
American Association of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology (AAAAI)
2005

J. Christian Herr Award for Excellence in Basic or Applied Research in Reproductive Immunology
American Society of Reproductive Immunology (ASRI)
1996