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Abanish Singh, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Division: 
Behavioral Medicine & Neurosciences
Category: 
Office: 300 N Duke Street, Room 47-119, Carmichael Building, Durham, NC 27701
Campus Mail: DUMC Duke Box 104775, 300 N Duke Street, Durham, NC 27701

With a unique skill set resulting from outstanding training, my sole aim was to help improve human health through cutting-edge translational research. Specifically, I have been interested in illuminating the mechanisms responsible for the causes and progression of the leading public health conditions, which may help with the development and enhancement of precision medicine.  As part of this endeavor, I also became interested in studying the measurement of biobehavioral risk factors and environmental stressors and their interactions with genes that may influence cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and endophenotypes, adversely affecting the CVD pathways.

I joined medical research with my early research training on computational biology, high-throughput genomics, next-gen DNA sequencing, genome-wide studies, and big data analytics, which resulted in some of prominent findings on human genome (PMID: 18048317, PMID: 20223737, PMID: 20598109, PMID: 21703177). These findings included a significant contribution to the scientific community’s understanding that I made during my postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. David Goldstein at Duke Center for Human Genome Variation that how well RNA-Seq can identify human coding variants just using a small fraction of genome (transcriptome) as compared to whole genome (PMID: 20598109). This work was important not only scientifically, but also in pragmatic terms, given the high cost of sequencing.

In relatively recent work I discovered a novel CVD risk gene EBF1, where  a common genetic variant contributed to inter-individual differences in human central obesity, fasting blood glucose, diabetes, and CVD risk factors in the presence of chronic psychosocial stress (PMID: 25271088). This work demonstrated the genetic variant-specific significant path from chronic psychosocial stress to common carotid intimal–media thickness (CCIMT), a surrogate marker for atherosclerosis, via central obesity and fasting glucose. I also developed an algorithm to create a synthetic measure of stress using the proxy indicators of its components (PMID: 26202568).  Other more recent work has elucidated the race, sex, and age related differences in the EBF1 gene-by-stress interaction (Singh et al. ASHG 2017), which suggests the need for careful evaluation of environmental measures in different ethnicities in cross-ethnic gene-by-stress interaction studies.

Education and Training

  • Postdoctoral Associate Training, Center For Human Genome Variation, Duke University School of Medicine, 2009 - 2010
  • Ph.D., University of Texas, Arlington, 2008

Publications

Singh, Abanish, Michael A. Babyak, Mario Sims, Solomon K. Musani, Beverly H. Brummett, Rong Jiang, William E. Kraus, et al. “Evaluating the precision of EBF1 SNP x stress interaction association: sex, race, and age differences in a big harmonized data set of 28,026 participants.” Transl Psychiatry 10, no. 1 (October 20, 2020): 351. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-020-01028-5.

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Singh, Abanish, Michael A. Babyak, Beverly H. Brummett, William E. Kraus, Ilene C. Siegler, Elizabeth R. Hauser, and Redford B. Williams. “Developing a synthetic psychosocial stress measure and harmonizing CVD-risk data: a way forward to GxE meta- and mega-analyses.” Bmc Res Notes 11, no. 1 (July 24, 2018): 504. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-018-3595-z.

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Jiang, Rong, Michael A. Babyak, Beverly H. Brummett, Elizabeth R. Hauser, Svati H. Shah, Richard C. Becker, Ilene C. Siegler, et al. “Brain-derived neurotrophic factor rs6265 (Val66Met) polymorphism is associated with disease severity and incidence of cardiovascular events in a patient cohort.” Am Heart J 190 (August 2017): 40–45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ahj.2017.05.002.

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Dungan, Jennifer R., Xuejun Qin, Benjamin D. Horne, John F. Carlquist, Abanish Singh, Melissa Hurdle, Elizabeth Grass, et al. “Case-Only Survival Analysis Reveals Unique Effects of Genotype, Sex, and Coronary Disease Severity on Survivorship.” Plos One 11, no. 5 (2016): e0154856. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0154856.

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Singh, Abanish, Michael A. Babyak, Beverly H. Brummett, Rong Jiang, Lana L. Watkins, John C. Barefoot, William E. Kraus, et al. “Computing a Synthetic Chronic Psychosocial Stress Measurement in Multiple Datasets and its Application in the Replication of G × E Interactions of the EBF1 Gene.” Genet Epidemiol 39, no. 6 (September 2015): 489–97. https://doi.org/10.1002/gepi.21910.

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Singh, Abanish, Michael A. Babyak, Daniel K. Nolan, Beverly H. Brummett, Rong Jiang, Ilene C. Siegler, William E. Kraus, Svati H. Shah, Redford B. Williams, and Elizabeth R. Hauser. “Gene by stress genome-wide interaction analysis and path analysis identify EBF1 as a cardiovascular and metabolic risk gene.” Eur J Hum Genet 23, no. 6 (June 2015): 854–62. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejhg.2014.189.

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Brummett, Beverly H., Michael A. Babyak, Redford B. Williams, Kathleen Mullan Harris, Rong Jiang, William E. Kraus, Abanish Singh, Paul T. Costa, Anastasia Georgiades, and Ilene C. Siegler. “A putatively functional polymorphism in the HTR2C gene is associated with depressive symptoms in white females reporting significant life stress.” Plos One 9, no. 12 (2014): e114451. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0114451.

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Brummett, Beverly H., Michael A. Babyak, Abanish Singh, Rong Jiang, Redford B. Williams, Kathleen Mullan Harris, and Ilene C. Siegler. “Socioeconomic indices as independent correlates of C-reactive protein in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.” Psychosom Med 75, no. 9 (November 2013): 882–93. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000005.

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Jiang, Rong, Beverly H. Brummett, Elizabeth R. Hauser, Michael A. Babyak, Ilene C. Siegler, Abanish Singh, Arne Astrup, et al. “Chronic family stress moderates the association between a TOMM40 variant and triglyceride levels in two independent Caucasian samples.” Biol Psychol 93, no. 1 (April 2013): 184–89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.02.006.

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Brummett, Beverly H., Michael A. Babyak, Rong Jiang, Svati H. Shah, Richard C. Becker, Carol Haynes, Megan Chryst-Ladd, et al. “A functional polymorphism in the 5HTR2C gene associated with stress responses also predicts incident cardiovascular events.” Plos One 8, no. 12 (2013): e82781. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082781.

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