Honors & Awards

  • Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow, Bio-X (2010)

Membership Organizations

  • OB/Gyn Interest Group, Financial Officer
  • Arbor Free Clinic
  • MSFC: Medical Students For Choice

Education & Certifications

  • Bachelor of Science, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Biochemistry (2007)


  • 2014 Autumn - FAMMED 301A Family Medicine Core Clerkship

Stanford Advisors

Service, Volunteer and Community Work

  • Project Suyana, University of Michigan (6/19/2010)

    PROJECT SUYANA's mission is to narrow disparities in rural regions in Puno, Peru and combat them with a sustainable approach utilizing culturally appropriate, community-based projects. We hope to enhance the viability of rural life through goodwill, community partnership and practical action.


    Ann Arbor, MI <br> Puno, Peru

  • Volunteer Pre-clinical student, Cardinal Free Clinics, Women's Health Clinic (3/1/2009)


    Stanford, CA

Personal Interests

Dancing, yoga, and eating.

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My research has two components. The first component is to elucidate population structure among the Native Americans in South America. Based on their genomic data, my goal is to understand migration patterns, infer bottlenecks, admixture events, and relationships between the different indigenous populations of South America.

The second part of my research deals with the genetic basis of preeclampsia, specifically in admixed populations which have undergone positive adaption. This work is done in collaboration with the Hospital Manuel Nuñez Butron in Puno, Peru, where the prevalence of preeclampsia is much higher than the world-wide estimate of 3-8%. In conjunction with our genotypic studies, I will be looking at gene expression studies of placental sections of women with and without preeclampsia. My goal as an MSTP student is to elucidate the genetic mechanism for this condition and continue its study from a clinical perspective as I go on to do my residency in obstetrics and gynecology.

Lab Affiliations


All Publications

  • Genome-Wide Association Study in an Amerindian Ancestry Population Reveals Novel Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Risk Loci and the Role of European Admixture. Arthritis & rheumatology Alarcón-Riquelme, M. E., Ziegler, J. T., Molineros, J., Howard, T. D., Moreno-Estrada, A., Sánchez-Rodríguez, E., Ainsworth, H. C., Ortiz-Tello, P., Comeau, M. E., Rasmussen, A., Kelly, J. A., Adler, A., Acevedo-Vázquez, E. M., Mariano Cucho-Venegas, J., García-De La Torre, I., Cardiel, M. H., Miranda, P., Catoggio, L. J., Maradiaga-Ceceña, M., Gaffney, P. M., Vyse, T. J., Criswell, L. A., Tsao, B. P., Sivils, K. L., Bae, S., James, J. A., Kimberly, R. P., Kaufman, K. M., Harley, J. B., Esquivel-Valerio, J. A., Moctezuma, J. F., García, M. A., Berbotto, G. A., Babini, A. M., Scherbarth, H., Toloza, S., Baca, V., Nath, S. K., Aguilar Salinas, C., Orozco, L., Tusié-Luna, T., Zidovetzki, R., Pons-Estel, B. A., Langefeld, C. D., Jacob, C. O. 2016; 68 (4): 932-943


    Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease with a strong genetic component. We undertook the present work to perform the first genome-wide association study on individuals from the Americas who are enriched for Native American heritage.We analyzed 3,710 individuals from the US and 4 countries of Latin America who were diagnosed as having SLE, and healthy controls. Samples were genotyped with HumanOmni1 BeadChip. Data on out-of-study controls genotyped with HumanOmni2.5 were also included. Statistical analyses were performed using SNPtest and SNPGWA. Data were adjusted for genomic control and false discovery rate. Imputation was performed using Impute2 and, for classic HLA alleles, HiBag. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated.The IRF5-TNPO3 region showed the strongest association and largest OR for SLE (rs10488631: genomic control-adjusted P [Pgcadj ] = 2.61 × 10(-29) , OR 2.12 [95% CI 1.88-2.39]), followed by HLA class II on the DQA2-DQB1 loci (rs9275572: Pgcadj  = 1.11 × 10(-16) , OR 1.62 [95% CI 1.46-1.80] and rs9271366: Pgcadj  = 6.46 × 10(-12) , OR 2.06 [95% CI 1.71-2.50]). Other known SLE loci found to be associated in this population were ITGAM, STAT4, TNIP1, NCF2, and IRAK1. We identified a novel locus on 10q24.33 (rs4917385: Pgcadj  = 1.39 × 10(-8) ) with an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) effect (Peqtl  = 8.0 × 10(-37) at USMG5/miR1307), and several new suggestive loci. SLE risk loci previously identified in Europeans and Asians were corroborated. Local ancestry estimation showed that the HLA allele risk contribution is of European ancestral origin. Imputation of HLA alleles suggested that autochthonous Native American haplotypes provide protection against development of SLE.Our results demonstrate that studying admixed populations provides new insights in the delineation of the genetic architecture that underlies autoimmune and complex diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/art.39504

    View details for PubMedID 26606652

  • Genomic Insights into the Ancestry and Demographic History of South America. PLoS genetics Homburger, J. R., Moreno-Estrada, A., Gignoux, C. R., Nelson, D., Sanchez, E., Ortiz-Tello, P., Pons-Estel, B. A., Acevedo-Vasquez, E., Miranda, P., Langefeld, C. D., Gravel, S., Alarcón-Riquelme, M. E., Bustamante, C. D. 2015; 11 (12)


    South America has a complex demographic history shaped by multiple migration and admixture events in pre- and post-colonial times. Settled over 14,000 years ago by Native Americans, South America has experienced migrations of European and African individuals, similar to other regions in the Americas. However, the timing and magnitude of these events resulted in markedly different patterns of admixture throughout Latin America. We use genome-wide SNP data for 437 admixed individuals from 5 countries (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, and Argentina) to explore the population structure and demographic history of South American Latinos. We combined these data with population reference panels from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas to perform global ancestry analysis and infer the subcontinental origin of the European and Native American ancestry components of the admixed individuals. By applying ancestry-specific PCA analyses we find that most of the European ancestry in South American Latinos is from the Iberian Peninsula; however, many individuals trace their ancestry back to Italy, especially within Argentina. We find a strong gradient in the Native American ancestry component of South American Latinos associated with country of origin and the geography of local indigenous populations. For example, Native American genomic segments in Peruvians show greater affinities with Andean indigenous peoples like Quechua and Aymara, whereas Native American haplotypes from Colombians tend to cluster with Amazonian and coastal tribes from northern South America. Using ancestry tract length analysis we modeled post-colonial South American migration history as the youngest in Latin America during European colonization (9-14 generations ago), with an additional strong pulse of European migration occurring between 3 and 9 generations ago. These genetic footprints can impact our understanding of population-level differences in biomedical traits and, thus, inform future medical genetic studies in the region.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1005602

    View details for PubMedID 26636962

  • HUMAN GENETICS The genetics of Mexico recapitulates Native American substructure and affects biomedical traits SCIENCE Moreno-Estrada, A., Gignoux, C. R., Carlos Fernandez-Lopez, J., Zakharia, F., Sikora, M., Contreras, A. V., Acuna-Alonzo, V., Sandoval, K., Eng, C., Romero-Hidalgo, S., Ortiz-Tello, P., Robles, V., Kenny, E. E., Nuno-Arana, I., Barquera-Lozano, R., Macin-Perez, G., Granados-Arriola, J., Huntsman, S., Galanter, J. M., Via, M., Ford, J. G., Chapela, R., Rodriguez-Cintron, W., Rodriguez-Santana, J. R., Romieu, I., Jose Sienra-Monge, J., del Rio Navarro, B., London, S. J., Ruiz-Linares, A., Garcia-Herrera, R., Estrada, K., Hidalgo-Miranda, A., Jimenez-Sanchez, G., Carnevale, A., Soberon, X., Canizales-Quinteros, S., Rangel-Villalobos, H., Silva-Zolezzi, I., Burchard, E. G., Bustamante, C. D. 2014; 344 (6189): 1280-1285


    Mexico harbors great cultural and ethnic diversity, yet fine-scale patterns of human genome-wide variation from this region remain largely uncharacterized. We studied genomic variation within Mexico from over 1000 individuals representing 20 indigenous and 11 mestizo populations. We found striking genetic stratification among indigenous populations within Mexico at varying degrees of geographic isolation. Some groups were as differentiated as Europeans are from East Asians. Pre-Columbian genetic substructure is recapitulated in the indigenous ancestry of admixed mestizo individuals across the country. Furthermore, two independently phenotyped cohorts of Mexicans and Mexican Americans showed a significant association between subcontinental ancestry and lung function. Thus, accounting for fine-scale ancestry patterns is critical for medical and population genetic studies within Mexico, in Mexican-descent populations, and likely in many other populations worldwide.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1251688

    View details for Web of Science ID 000337077500040

  • Reconstructing the population genetic history of the Caribbean. PLoS genetics Moreno-Estrada, A., Gravel, S., Zakharia, F., McCauley, J. L., Byrnes, J. K., Gignoux, C. R., Ortiz-Tello, P. A., Martínez, R. J., Hedges, D. J., Morris, R. W., Eng, C., Sandoval, K., Acevedo-Acevedo, S., Norman, P. J., Layrisse, Z., Parham, P., Martínez-Cruzado, J. C., Burchard, E. G., Cuccaro, M. L., Martin, E. R., Bustamante, C. D. 2013; 9 (11)


    The Caribbean basin is home to some of the most complex interactions in recent history among previously diverged human populations. Here, we investigate the population genetic history of this region by characterizing patterns of genome-wide variation among 330 individuals from three of the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola), two mainland (Honduras, Colombia), and three Native South American (Yukpa, Bari, and Warao) populations. We combine these data with a unique database of genomic variation in over 3,000 individuals from diverse European, African, and Native American populations. We use local ancestry inference and tract length distributions to test different demographic scenarios for the pre- and post-colonial history of the region. We develop a novel ancestry-specific PCA (ASPCA) method to reconstruct the sub-continental origin of Native American, European, and African haplotypes from admixed genomes. We find that the most likely source of the indigenous ancestry in Caribbean islanders is a Native South American component shared among inland Amazonian tribes, Central America, and the Yucatan peninsula, suggesting extensive gene flow across the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times. We find evidence of two pulses of African migration. The first pulse--which today is reflected by shorter, older ancestry tracts--consists of a genetic component more similar to coastal West African regions involved in early stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The second pulse--reflected by longer, younger tracts--is more similar to present-day West-Central African populations, supporting historical records of later transatlantic deportation. Surprisingly, we also identify a Latino-specific European component that has significantly diverged from its parental Iberian source populations, presumably as a result of small European founder population size. We demonstrate that the ancestral components in admixed genomes can be traced back to distinct sub-continental source populations with far greater resolution than previously thought, even when limited pre-Columbian Caribbean haplotypes have survived.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003925

    View details for PubMedID 24244192

  • Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean PLOS GENETICS Moreno-Estrada, A., Gravel, S., Zakharia, F., McCauley, J. L., Byrnes, J. K., Gignoux, C. R., Ortiz-Tello, P. A., Martinez, R. J., Hedges, D. J., Morris, R. W., Eng, C., Sandoval, K., Acevedo-Acevedo, S., Norman, P. J., Layrisse, Z., Parham, P., Martinez-Cruzado, J. C., Burchard, E. G., Cuccaro, M. L., Martin, E. R., Bustamante, C. D. 2013; 9 (11)
  • Purification and assay protocols for obtaining highly active Jumonji C demethylases ANALYTICAL BIOCHEMISTRY Krishnan, S., Collazo, E., Ortiz-Tello, P. A., Trievel, R. C. 2012; 420 (1): 48-53


    Jumonji C (JmjC) lysine demethylases (KDMs) are Fe(II)-dependent hydroxylases that catalyze the oxidative demethylation of methyllysine residues in histones and nonhistone proteins. These enzymes play vital roles in regulating cellular processes such as gene expression, cell cycle progression, and stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Despite their biological importance, recombinant forms of JmjC KDMs generally display low enzymatic activity and have remained challenging to isolate in a highly active form. Here we present a simple affinity purification scheme for Strep(II)-tagged JmjC KDMs that minimizes contamination by transition state metal ions, yielding highly active and pure enzyme. We also describe an optimized continuous fluorescent assay for KDMs that detects formaldehyde production during demethylation via a coupled reaction using formaldehyde dehydrogenase. Purification and kinetic analysis of the human KDMs JMJD2A and JMJD2D using these methods yielded activities substantially higher than those previously reported for these enzymes, which are comparable to that of the flavin-dependent KDM LSD1. In addition, we show that JMJD2A exhibited a lower catalytic efficiency toward a histone peptide bearing a chemically installed trimethyllysine analog compared with a bona fide trimethylated substrate. The methodology described here is broadly applicable to other JmjC KDMs, facilitating their biochemical characterization and high-throughput screening applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ab.2011.08.034

    View details for Web of Science ID 000296487600008

    View details for PubMedID 21925481

  • Specificity and mechanism of JMJD2A, a trimethyllysine-specific histone demethylase NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Couture, J., Collazo, E., Ortiz-Tello, P. A., Brunzelle, J. S., Trievel, R. C. 2007; 14 (8): 689-695


    JMJD2A is a JmjC histone demethylase (HDM) that catalyzes the demethylation of di- and trimethylated Lys9 and Lys36 in histone H3 (H3K9me2/3 and H3K36me2/3). Here we present the crystal structures of the JMJD2A catalytic domain in complex with H3K9me3, H3K36me2 and H3K36me3 peptides. The structures reveal that histone substrates are recognized through a network of backbone hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions that deposit the trimethyllysine into the active site. The trimethylated epsilon-ammonium cation is coordinated within a methylammonium-binding pocket through carbon-oxygen (CH...O) hydrogen bonds that position one of the zeta-methyl groups adjacent to the Fe(II) center for hydroxylation and demethylation. Mutations of the residues comprising this pocket abrogate demethylation by JMJD2A, with the exception of an S288A substitution, which augments activity, particularly toward H3K9me2. We propose that this residue modulates the methylation-state specificities of JMJD2 enzymes and other trimethyllysine-specific JmjC HDMs.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nsmb1273

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248555400005

    View details for PubMedID 17589523