Francesca Luca, PhD
Assistant Professor

3317 Scott Hall
540 E. Canfield Ave.
Wayne State University School of Medicine
Detroit, MI 48201
Voice: 313-577-1152
FAX: 313-577- 2646

Luca Lab
Assistant Professor (also with Obstetrics and Gynecology); PhD, University of Calabria, 2006.

Research interests

My lab is interested in understanding the genetic and molecular basis of inter-individual and inter-population differences in complex phenotypes. We combine evolutionary and functional genomics approaches to study intermediate phenotypes (e.g.: transcription factor binding, gene expression, protein secretion, etc.) and how they are affected by gene-environment interactions.

A current research area aims to characterize the genetic architecture underlying phenotypic differences in nuclear receptor related pathways (e.g. estrogen receptors). Projects related to this area utilize functional genomics techniques (e.g.: ChIP-seq, RNA-seq) on samples from different human populations.

Ultimately, our goals are to: i) understand how phenotypic differences evolved as humans adapted to changing environments, ii) characterize the biological mechanisms of such phenotypic differences from a genetic to a systems level and iii) understand the genetic basis of health disparities.

Selected publications

Luca F, Hudson RR, Witonsky D, Di Rienzo A. (2011) A reduced representation approach to population genetic analyses and applications to human evolution. Genome Research. Vol. 21:1087-98

Maranville JC* , Luca F*, Richards A, Wen X, Witonsky D, Baxter S, Stephens M and Di Rienzo A (2011) Interactions between glucocorticoid treatment and cis-regulatory polymorphisms contribute to cellular response phenotypes. PLoS Genetics. Vol. 7: e1002162. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002162. *These authors equally contributed to this work.

Luca F, Perry GH, Di Rienzo A (2010) Evolutionary Adaptations to Dietary Changes. Ann. Rev. Nutrition. Vol. 30: 291-314

Luca F, Kashyap S, Southard C, Zou M, Witonsky D, Di Rienzo A, Conzen SD (2009) Adaptive variation regulates the expression of the human SGK1 gene in response to stress. PLoS Genet. 5:e1000489

Luca F, Bubba G, Basile M, Brdicka R, Michalodimitrakis E, Rickards O, Vershubsky G, Quintana-Murci L, Kozlov AI, Novelletto A (2008) Multiple Advantageous Amino Acid Variants in the NAT2 Gene in Human Populations. PLoS ONE 3(9): e3136. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0003136

Luca F and Di Rienzo A (2007) An Evolutionary Framework for Common Disease. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester [10.1002/9780470015902.a0020758]

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