Sarah Kleinstein

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MGM Graduate Student (2012)
Institute for Genomic Medicine at Columbia University
Physicians & Surgeons
630 West 168th Street, Suite 11-401
New York, NY 10032
Phone: 1-212-305-0754

Research interests: I am interested in understanding the host genetic factors that influence differential responses to infectious disease.

I am originally from the Kootenays, in British Columbia, Canada. It truly earns the moniker of “Beautiful British Columbia,” and I was fortunate to grow up with a natural vista as my playground. I completed a BS in Biochemistry and an MS in Genetic Epidemiology at the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington. My undergraduate research in the Ruohola-Baker Lab focused on elucidating causal mutations related to the Muscular Dystrophy phenotypes observed in mutant Drosophila melanogaster. My graduate research shifted focus towards human genetics, investigating genetic susceptibility to colorectal neoplasia and genetic interactions with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in the lipoxygenase pathway at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. After finishing my MS, I completed a one year CDC/APHL fellowship in Emerging Infectious Diseases. During my fellowship, I worked at the California Department of Public Health Microbial Diseases Laboratory, characterizing emerging multi-drug resistance in a Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak, and validating a new cpn60 gene target for broad range sequence-based bacterial identification.

As much as I love Canada, I decided to adventure southward: toward new places and less arctic climates! I chose Duke because of the interdisciplinary and collaborative environment fostered here. The opportunity to combine my research experiences in diseases and genetics led me to join David Goldstein’s lab, where my research focuses on how host genetics influence the susceptibility, severity, and treatment response of viral infections, including: HIV, HCV, HBV, and HSV. I have also recently begun to explore the relationship between human genetics and fibrosis progression, in both the context of viral infections and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

As a part of the Goldstein lab, I relocated in January 2015 to New York City, where I have been continuing my research while exploring a new university and location. As part of the move, I relinquished my tenure as co-coordinator of Duke’s WISE (Women in Science and Engineering), and have become involved in Columbia’s version (WISC: Women in Science at Columbia), where I am now the acting co-president.

Outside of the lab, I immerse myself in far too many nerdy pursuits, including but not limited to: sci-fi, Greeco-Roman mythology, Napoleon-era history, and writing. I can often be found curled up on my couch with a book and my cat (Morpheus), or orchestrating movie and DVD watching nights with friends. I also love to travel, and will happily seize any chance to do so. It’s a big world with plenty of mysteries (scientific and otherwise) to explore.


APHL/CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases Training Fellow, 2011-2012.