Our lab has had a longstanding, fifteen-plus year research collaboration to investigate genetic issues that are of importance to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and surrounding Tribal community members. Another important goal of our lab is to enhance the biomedical research infrastructure at the Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC), which has allowed continued genetic and epidemiologic research to be conducted by American Indian Investigators and TMCC students to encourage self-determination and increase research capacity.

Our Larger Genetics and Pre-Eclampsia Study

Preeclampsia is a common condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy, which can be life-threatening to both mother and child. Elucidating potential genetic associations with preeclampsia was the aim of Dr. Lyle Best, an Indian Health Services family practitioner who started the study at Turtle Mountain Community College (TMCC). The lab has since associated three genetic variants of the C-reactive protein (CRP) to preeclampsia in Chippewa women and has observed that women affected by preeclampsia are at greater risk of developing hypertension later on in life.

ethnographic (interview) study

Krystal Tsosie will also examine in greater depth the bioethical issues around engaging tribal communities in genomics research. Because the larger Genetics and Pre-Eclampsia Study represents one of few genomics studies that have been based in a Native American Tribal community investigating a clinical phenotype, our lab has the unique opportunity to interview participants that have been involved in the study. We can use what we have learned to help inform best practices for future community-based genomics research.

A computational model of C-reactive protein, which is associated with pre-eclampsia

Other projects

Our lab also works with other Tribal communities and partner collaborations in other projects:

  • Strong Heart Study
  • Factors Influencing Pediatric Asthma (FIPA)
  • Environmental health effects relating to arsenic and heavy metal exposure from private well water