Sarah Williams-Blangero Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah Williams-Blangero at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Tasmania, Australia

HEB Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Genomics
Director, South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute

South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute

School of Medicine

Brownsville Campus Office     Edinburg Campus Office
BROBL, Room 134 Edinburg Research and Education Building
1 West University Blvd 1214 W. Schunior Street
Brownsville, TX. 78520 Edinburg, TX. 7841-2337

Phone:    Brownsville: +1 (956)-882-7501
Edinburg: +1 (956)-665-6426
Cell: +1 (210)-264-3298



1987 Ph.D. Biological Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

1984 M.A. Biological Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

1984 B.A. Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio

Research Focus

Dr. Williams-Blangero’s research program focuses on the genetic epidemiology of common complex diseases in minority populations. She has overseen the development of a number of major human population cohorts for long-term genetic research. In Nepal, she has worked with a single pedigree including more than 2,600 members of a small ethnic group, the Jirel population. This population has been the center of collaborative research projects on parasitic disease, childhood growth and development, osteoporosis and bone-related traits, dental traits, and psychiatric disease. The genetic determinants of ocular health and disease, including diabetic retinopathy, are currently under study in the Jirel population. Dr. Williams-Blangero also works with a study population of approximately 2000 residents from a rural area of Brazil that has very high rates of Trypanosoma cruzi infection. T. cruzi is the parasitic cause of Chagas disease, which is associated with progressive cardiomyopathy. Chagas disease is found throughout Latin America and is a border health issue relevant to the Rio Grande Valley. As the Director of the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, Dr. Williams-Blangero is expanding her research on the genetics determinants of diabetes and obesity and related disorders in Mexican Americans, the Jirel population, and the population of Posse, Brazil.

Intramural Appointments


Extramural Appointments

  • Member, Promotion, Tenure, and Appointment Committee, UTRGV School of Medicine

  • Member, Research Deans Council, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

  • Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houstons
  • Member, UT Women’s Senior Leadership Network

  • Member, University of Texas Diabetes Blue Ribbon Panel

Publication Highlights 

  • Kulkarni H, M Mamtani, JM Peralta, V Diego, TD Dyer, H Goring, L Almasy, MC Mahaney, S Williams-Blangero, R Duggirala, JE Curran, and J Blangero (2016) Lack of association between SLC30A8 variants and type 2 diabetes in Mexican American families. J Diabetes Res 2016:6463214. doi: 10.1155/2016/6463214

  • Mamtani M, H Kulkarni, G Wong, JM Weir, CK Barlow, TD Dyer, L Almasy, MC Mahaney, AG Comuzzie, DC Glahn, DJ Magliano, P Zimmet, J Shaw, S Williams-Blangero, R Duggirala, J Blangero, PJ Meikle, and JE Curran. (2016) Lipidomic risk score independently and cost-effectively predicts risk of future type 2 diabetes: Results from diverse cohorts. Lipids Health Dis 15:67. doi: 10.1186/s12944-016-0234-3

  • Kent JW Jr., J Charlesworth, VP Diego, HHH Göring, JE Curran, MP Johnson, TD Dyer, SA Cole, JBM Jowett, MC Mahaney, L Almasy, JW MacCluer, EK Moses, J Blangero, and S Williams-Blangero (2012) Genotype x age interaction in human transcriptional ageing. Mech Aging Dev 133:581-590. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2012.07.005

  • Diego VP, JE Curran, J Charlesworth, JM Peralta, VS Voruganti, SA Cole, TD Dyer, MP Johnson, EK Moses, HH Goring, JT Williams, AG Comuzzie, L Almasy, J Blangero, and S Williams-Blangero (2012) Systems genetics of the nuclear factor-κB signal transduction network: I. Detection of several quantitative trait loci potentially relevant to aging. Mech Aging Dev 133:11-19. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2011.11.007

  • Williams-Blangero S, JL VandeBerg, J Subedi, B Jha, and J Blangero (2008) Two quantitative trait loci influence susceptibility to whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) infection in a Nepalese population. Journal of Infectious Diseases 197:1198-1203. doi: 10.1086/533493

  • Williams-Blangero S, JL VandeBerg, J Subedi, B Jha, and J Blangero (2008) Localization of multiple quantitative trait loci influencing susceptibility to infection with Ascaris lumbricoides. J Infec Dis 197:66-71. doi: 10.1086/524060

Recent Publications

Book Chapters

  • Duggirala R, Almasy L, Williams-Blangero S, Paul S, Kole C (eds). Genome Mapping and Genomics in Human and Non-Human Primates, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 2015.

  • Williams-Blangero S, Blangero J. The utility of genomics for studying primate biology. Pp. 1-6. In: Genome Mapping and Genomics in Human and Non-Human Primates. R Duggirala, L Almasy, S Williams-Blangero, S Paul, C Kole (eds), Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. 2015.

Journal Articles


Collaborating Institutions

  • Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Nepal

  • Fundação Oswaldo Cruz - FIOCRUZ, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

  • Wright State University, Dayton, OH

  • Caribbean Primate Research Center, Puerto Rico

  • Miami University, Oxford, OH

  • Chitwan Medical College, Nepal

  • UTHealth School of Public Health