Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

Heather Wheeler

Ph.D., 2010, Stanford University
Phone: 773.508.
E-Mail: hwheeler1@luc.edu
Lab Webpage: Wheeler's Lab



Genome-wide analyses of the past few years have revealed that a substantial portion of the genetic control of complex traits is exerted through the regulation of gene expression. Much of the genetic variation associated with complex traits falls outside the protein coding regions of genes. Mechanistic understanding of how this variation contributes to phenotype is lacking, but gene regulation is thought to play a major role. We develop and apply methods that fully harness gene regulation within complex trait association and prediction studies.

For our future research, we will apply and extend methods we have developed like OmicKriging and PrediXcan using data available to the public and researchers from databases like the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO), the database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP), The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and the European Genome-Phenome Archive (EGA). These databases contain genome-wide genotype (genotyping array and exome sequencing) and gene expression (microarray and RNA-seq) datasets. Many funding sources (including the NIH) require database deposition of genome-wide datasets and thus the amount of data available will continue to grow. Combining gene expression data and multiple variants within a gene or pathway may reveal new genetic associations with a particular phenotype that were not discovered in an original association study where the genetic variants were analyzed singly. In addition, combining gene expression and genetic association data from multiple different studies may reveal new associations that were missed by single investigations. Because so much data is publicly available, students interested in joining our lab could potentially choose to study traits and diseases that interest them while learning how to mine the data and perform computational modeling.

For more information, see http://www.hewlab.org 



Gamazon ER*, Wheeler HE*, Shah KP*, Mozaffari SV, Aquino-Michaels K, Carroll RJ, Eyler AE, Denny JC, GTEx Consortium, Nicolae DL, Cox NJ, Im HK. (2015) PrediXcan: Trait mapping using human transcriptome regulation. Nature Genetics, in press *Contributed equally.

Komatsu M, Wheeler HE, Chung S, Low SK, Wing C, Delaney SM, Gorsic LK, Takahashi A, Kubo M, Kroetz D, Zhang W, Nakamura Y, Dolan ME. (2015) Pharmacoethnicity in paclitaxel-induced sensory peripheral neuropathy. Clinical Cancer Research, in press

Diouf B, Crews KR, Lew G, Pei D, Cheng C, Bao J, Zheng JJ, Yang W, Fan Y, Wheeler HE, Wing C, Delaney SM, Komatsu M, Paugh SW, McCorkle JR, Lu X, Winick NJ, Carroll WL, Loh ML, Hunger SP, Devidas M, Pui CH, Dolan ME, Relling MV, Evans WE. (2015) Association of an inherited genetic variant with vincristine-related peripheral neuropathy in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. JAMA 313(8):815-823. PMC4377066

Wheeler HE, Wing C, Delaney SM, Komatsu M, Dolan ME. (2015) Modeling chemotherapeutic neurotoxicity with human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neuronal cells. PLoS One 10(2):e0118020. PMC4331516


Thompson P, Wheeler HE, Delaney SM, Lorier R, Broeckel U, Devidas M, Reaman GH, Scorsone K, Sung L, Dolan ME, Berg SL. (2014) Pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics of daunorubicin in children: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, 74(4):831-8. PMC4282931

Wheeler HE, Aquino-Michaels K, Gamazon ER, Trubetskoy VV, Dolan ME, Huang RS, Cox NJ, Im HK (2014) Poly-omic prediction of complex traits: OmicKriging. Genetic Epidemiology, 38(5):402-15. PMC4072756

Wheeler HE, González-Neira A, Pita G, de la Torre-Montero JC, Alonso R, Lopez-Fernandez LA, Alba E, Martín M, Dolan ME (2014) Identification of genetic variants associated with capecitabine-induced hand-foot syndrome through integration of patient and cell line genomic analyses. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 24(5):231-7. PMC4076106


Gorsic LK, Stark AL, Wheeler HE, Wong SS, Im HK, Dolan ME (2013) EPS8 inhibition increases cisplatin sensitivity in lung cancer cells. PLoS One 8(12):e82220. PMC3868552

Parsa A, Fuchsberger C…Wheeler HE…Böger CA (>100 authors) (2013) Common variants in Mendelian kidney disease genes and their association with renal function. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 24(12):2105-17. PMC3839542

Eadon MT, Wheeler HE, Stark AL, Zhang X, Moen EL, Delaney SM, Im HK, Cunningham PN, Zhang W, Dolan ME (2013) Genetic and epigenetic variants contributing to clofarabine cytotoxicity. Human Molecular Genetics 22(19):4007-20. PMC3766179

Gamazon ER, Lamba JK, Pounds S, Stark AL, Wheeler HE, Cao X, Im HK, Mitra AK, Rubnitz JE, Ribeiro RC, Raimondi S, Campana D, Crews KR, Wong SS, Welsh M, Hulur I, Gorsic L, Hartford CM, Zhang W, Cox NJ, Dolan ME (2013) Comprehensive genetic analysis of cytarabine sensitivity in a cell-based model identifies polymorphisms associated with outcome in AML patients. Blood 121(21):4366-76. PMC3663430

Wheeler HE, Gamazon ER, Wing C, Njiaju UO, Njoku C, Baldwin RM, Owzar K, Jiang C, Watson D, Shterev I, Kubo M, Zembutsu H, Winer E, Hudis C, Shulman LN, Nakamura Y, Ratain MJ, Kroetz DL, Cox NJ, Dolan ME (2013) Integration of cell line and clinical trial genome-wide analyses supports a polygenic architecture of paclitaxel-induced sensory peripheral neuropathy. Clinical Cancer Research 19(2):491-9. PMC3549006

Wheeler HE, Maitland ML, Dolan ME, Cox NJ, Ratain MJ (2013) Cancer pharmacogenomics: strategies and challenges. Nature Reviews Genetics 14(1):23-34. PMC3668552

Wheeler HE, Gamazon ER, Stark AL, O’Donnell PH, Gorsic LK, Huang RS, Cox NJ, Dolan ME (2013) Genome-wide meta-analysis identifies variants associated with platinating agent susceptibility across populations. The Pharmacogenomics Journal 13(1):35-43. PMC3370147


Chasman DI, Fuchsberger C…Wheeler HE…Kao WH, Fox CS, Kottgen A (>100 authors) (2012) Integration of genome-wide association studies with biological knowledge identifies six novel genes related to kidney function. Human Molecular Genetics 21(24):5329-43. PMC3607468

Cox NJ, Gamazon ER, Wheeler HE, Dolan ME (2012) Clinical translation of cell-based pharmacogenomic discovery. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 92(4):425-7. PMC3664667

Madian AG, Wheeler HE, Jones RB, Dolan ME (2012) Relating human genetic variation to variation in drug responses. Trends in Genetics 28(10):487-95. PMC3448823

Stark AL, Delaney SM, Wheeler HE, Im HK, Dolan ME (2012) Functional consequences of PRPF39 on distant genes and cisplatin sensitivity. Human Molecular Genetics 21(19):4348-55. PMC3441128

Leandro-Garcia LJ, Lekela S, Jara Sanchez C, Green H, Avall Lundqvist E, Wheeler HE, Dolan ME, Inglada-Perez L, Maliszewska A, de Cubas AA, Comino-Mendez I, Mancikova V, Cascon A, Robledo M, Rodriguez-Antona C (2012) Regulatory polymorphisms in β-tubulin IIa are associated with paclitaxel-induced peripheral neuropathy. Clinical Cancer Research 18(16):4441-8. PMC3664665

O’Donnell PH, Stark AL, Gamazon ER, Wheeler HE, McIlwee BE, Gorsic LK, Im HK, Huang RS, Cox NJ, Dolan ME (2012) Identification of novel germline polymorphisms governing capecitabine sensitivity. Cancer 118(16):4063-73. PMC3413892

Pattaro C, Köttgen A, Teumer A, Garnaas M, Böger CA…Wheeler HE…Kao WH, Fox CS (>100 authors) (2012) Genome-wide association and functional follow-up reveals new loci for kidney function. PLoS Genetics 8(3): e1002584. PMC3315455

Njiaju UO, Gamazon ER, Gorsic LK, Delaney SM, Wheeler HE, Im HK, Dolan ME (2012) Whole-genome studies identify solute carrier transporters in cellular susceptibility to paclitaxel. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics 22(7): 498-507. PMC3376193

Wheeler HE and Dolan ME. (2012) Lymphoblastoid cell lines in pharmacogenomic discovery and clinical translation. Pharmacogenomics 13(1):55-70. PMC3292907