Clinical and Genetic Epidemiology


 Research Focuses:

 We perform high quality, innovative clinical and genetic epidemiologic research of musculoskeletal diseases, obesity and related health problem. The major approaches include traditional linkage studies, linkage disequilibrium studies, genome-wide association studies, candidate gene studies, and up-to-date next generation re-sequencing studies. 

Our clinical research team also provides clinical supports for other divisions of the center on:


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  • Achieving a rigor of study design by providing advice in sample selection and issues related to clinical/epidemiological study design (such as development of ex/in-clusion criteria).
  • Recruiting human subjects needed for research projects.
  • Identifying eligible human subjects for research projects from existing human subject database.
  • Collecting necessary specimens, clinical phenotype data and information, such as blood samples, anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, bone densitometry, body composition, muscle strength, and family and medical history.  


  • Lan-Juan Zhao, PhD, Director (click link to the faculty page of the department)
  • Yongjun Liu, MD., PhD, Co-director
  • Ping Yu, Medical Technician
  • Karen Conroy, RN, Phlebotomist
  • Yan Zhai, MD, Medical Technician
  • Li Wu, Medical Technician
  • Rebecca Chaiban, Medical Technician
  • Ting Xu, MD, Medical Technician
  • Li Liao, MS, Medical Technician
  • An Ye, MD, Medical Technician


Genome wide scans for female osteoporosis genes

Louisiana Osteoporosis Study



Genome wide scans for female osteoporosis genes

Project description: to perform a whole genome association study to identify genes/variants important for female osteoporosis. The identified genes/variants will be compared and cross validated with previous linkage results and the results from genome-wide gene and protein expression study of peripheral blood monocytes and bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in subjects with high vs. those with low BMD.


Louisiana Osteoporosis Study

Project description: this is a clinical recruitment project. We aim to recruit ~20,000 human subjects in New Orleans and Baton Rouge and surrounding areas to build a large sample pool and database for the research of identifying risk factors (including genes and their functions and some environmental factors) important for osteoporosis and related health problems.

Kansas City Osteoporosis Study (KCOS)

>5,000 subjects recruited from Kansas City area

Louisiana Osteoporosis Study (LOS)

  • Two clinical recruitment sites, one located at New Orleans and the other at Baton Rouge (~1 hour drive from New Orleans). The New Orleans site is located on the 11th floor of Tulane University School of Public Health Building. The Baton Rouge site is located in the Baton Rouge General Medical Center (affiliated with Tulane Medical School).

NO Clinical Site

Both clinical sites house, respectively, an outpatient reception area, a waiting area, and multiple dedicated private interview offices for subject enrollment, exam rooms that are fully equipped for clinical examination, phenotyping and phlebotomy.


  • Both sites are staffed with clinical coordinators, phlebotomists, research assistants, and medical technicians.

The clinical recruitment site at New Orleans is within 4 minute walk from the research labs of the Center for Bioinformatics and Genomics (CBG). Research specimens collected at that site can be immediately hand delivered to the labs of the CBG for downstream processing. In addition, due to the short distance (~1 hour drive) between the clinical site at New Orleans and that at Baton Rouge, subjects recruited at the Baton Rouge site can easily visit the New Orleans site for specimen donation.


BR Clinical Site

Staff at New Orleans Clinic facility

Staff at Baton Rouge Clinic facility

In the past years, this Clinical Core has been supported by Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center (ORC) and Kansas City Osteoporosis Study (KCOS). Both ORC and KCOS provided large base populations for efficient screening, identifying and recruiting eligible subjects for this Core. Currently at Tulane University, we are implementing LOS (Louisiana Osteoporosis Study), aimed to enroll 20,000 subjects in four years to build a large sample pool and database for osteoporosis and related health research. An important purpose of LOS is to screen, select and identify potential subjects for this SCOR Clinical Core and our other NIH-funded projects. Under the support of LOS, recruitment of this Core has been making process smoothly.


Department of Biostatistics, 1440 Canal Street, Suite 2001, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-5164