Sandra Laston, Ph.D.

Faculty Profile Picture

Associate Professor of Research

South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute

School of Medicine

Office: Brownsville Campus, BROBL, Room 108
1 West University Blvd
Brownsville, TX.  78520
Phone: +1 (956)-882-7490


1992 Ph.D. Medical Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
1987 M.A. Medical Anthropology Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA
1972 Diploma Nursing, Idabelle Firestone School of Nursing, Akron, OH

Research Focus

Dr. Laston’s research efforts are focused on oversight of large-scale genetic studies conducted with human populations.   With specialized expertise in medical anthropology and nursing, Dr. Laston has directed the fieldwork for studies of a number of minority populations including Alaska Natives, Zuni Indians and other American Indian tribes.  Her current research is focused on ocular health and disease in the Jirel population of eastern Nepal.  A member of the UTRGV institutional review board, Dr. Laston has strong interests in the design of human subjects research projects and cross-cultural research.    

Intramural Appointments

  • UTRGV Institutional Review Board

Publication Highlights

  • Siddique AK, Salam A, Islam MS, Akram K, Majumdar RN, Zaman K, Fronczak N, Laston SL. Why treatment centers failed to prevent cholera deaths among Rwandan refugees in Goma, Zaire. Lancet. 1995:345:359-61.
  • Ebbesson SOE, Laston S, Wenger CR, Dyke B, Romenesko T, Swenson M, Fabsitz R, MacCluer JW, Devereux R, Roman M, Robbins D, Howard BV. Recruitment and community interactions in the GOCADAN Study. Int. J. Circumpolar Health. 2006:65:55-64. PMID: 16544648
  • Laston SL, Voruganti VS, Haack K, Shah VO, Bobelu A, Bobelu J, Ghahate D, Harford AM, Paine SS, Tentori F, Cole SA, MacCluer JW, Comuzzie AG, Zager PG. Genetics of kidney disease and related cardiometabolic phenotypes in Zuni Indians: the Zuni Kidney Project. Front Genet. 2015 Jan 30;6:6. PMID: 25688259; PMCID: PMC4311707. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2015.00006

Recent Publications

Collaborating Institutions
  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health    
  • Texas Biomedical Research Institute    
  • Wright State University, Dayton, OH
  • Miami University, Oxford, OH
  • Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology