Research

Research

Dr. Chung collaborates in four major areas of activity:

  1. Pharmacogenetics of immunosuppressants
    We endeavor to identify the genetic markers that predict immunosuppressants’ response and toxicity, particularly for azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, and mycophenolate, using the biobank at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (BioVU). We collaborate with Drs. Adriana Hung and Kelly Birdwell to study the genetic determinants of response to tacrolimus as part of a project involving the Million Veteran Program. 
     
  2. Pharmacoepidemiology, with a concentration on drug safety
    We study the comparative safety of opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone, and morphine in the treatment of non-cancer chronic pain. We collaborate with Drs. Wayne Ray, Mike Stein, Bill Dupont, Kathy Murray, Bill Cooper, and Todd Callahan to estimate the incidence of opioid toxicity in children treated with these drugs. We study the cardiovascular side effects of popular non-opioid pain medications that are prescribed to millions of patients with chronic pain using administrative databases such as Medicare and TennCare.
     
  3. Inflammation and cardiovascular disease, with a focus on Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
    We study traditional and novel cardiovascular risk factors as well as long-term outcomes in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). For example, we are examining the relationship between ambulatory blood pressure variability and cardiovascular disease in patients with SLE. In collaboration with Dr. Mike Stein, we are investigating the role of skin sodium concentrations on inflammation in patients with SLE.
     
  4. Pharmacogenetics of lipid lowering agents
    ​We collaborate with Dr. QiPing Feng and Wei-Qi Wei to study the genetic determinants of statins effectiveness and the role of variants in the PCSK9 gene using BioVU, which contains electronic health records linked to DNA in 225,000 de-identified patients.