Michael C. Mahaney, Ph.D.

Faculty Profile Picture


South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute

School of Medicine

Office: Brownsville Campus, BROBL, Room 107
1 West University Blvd
Brownsville, TX.  78520
Phone: +1 (956)-882-7492
Email: michael.mahaney@utrgv.edu


1984 Ph.D. Biological Anthropology/Population Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

1979 M.A. Anthropology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Research Focus

Dr. Mahaney has a broad educational background in genetics, human physiological and anatomical variation, and comparative primate biology and evolution, as well as over 30 years of post-graduate research experience in quantitative biology and statistical genetics. His research since the late 1980s has focused on the genetics of complex traits related to human growth, development, aging and variation in susceptibility, severity, and progression of common diseases – especially cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis – in humans and nonhuman primates. A recurring interest has been identification and characterization of pleiotropic networks of disease risk factors, i.e., multiple traits affected by the same gene or set of genes.

More recent efforts have included analyses of data collected in two NIH-funded studies. One is a study of the effects of a high cholesterol high fat diet, on atherosclerosis risk factors and cardiovascular disease endpoints in pedigreed baboons. The other is a study of the effects of genes on co-variation between biomarkers of calcification and bone quality phenotypes in members of the Jirel population from eastern Nepal. Dr. Mahaney currently is conducting replication analyses of findings related to bone phenotypes with data from a large, longitudinal study of Mexican American families from San Antonio, Texas. He also is collaborating with a researcher from the University of Missouri in the genetic analyses of dental metric variation from the Jirel population. In the planning stages are studies of pleiotropic effects of genes affecting calcium metabolism on the development of atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity.

Currently, Dr. Mahaney also is the Coordinator of the Pilot Studies Program for the Rio Grande Valley Alzheimer’s Disease Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (AD-RCMAR) here at the UTRGV. Funded by the National Institute on Aging, the center’s goals include supporting the development of new and early-stage investigators who will contribute to research on Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in the Hispanic population of South Texas.

With colleagues in biological anthropology, Dr. Mahaney also has “kept his hand in” the evolutionary biology game during his career, collaborating on studies of the genetics of developmental variation in the dentition and craniofacial complex of nonhuman primates.

Intramural Appointments


Extramural Appointments

  • Member, Admissions Committee, UTRGV School of Medicine
  • Member, University Tenure and Promotion Committee, UTRGV
  • Member, Institutional Review Board, UTRGV
  • Member, TransOmics Precision Medicine Whole Genome Sequencing (NHLBI TOPMed WGS) Consortium, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • Member, Phenotype Harmonization Committee, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
  • Member, Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Committee (ELSI), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Publication Highlights

  • Karere GM, Mahaney MC, Newman DE, Riojas AM, Christensen C, Birnbaum S, VandeBerg JL, Cox L. Diet-induced leukocyte telomere shortening in a baboon model for early stage atherosclerosis. Sci Rep. 2019 Dec 12;9(1):19001. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-55348-8. PMID: 31831784; PMCID: PMC6908639.
  • Mahaney MC, Karere GM, Rainwater DL, Voruganti VS, Dick EJ Jr, Owston MA, Rice KS, Cox LA, Comuzzie AG, VandeBerg JL. Diet-induced early-stage atherosclerosis in baboons: Lipoproteins, atherogenesis, and arterial compliance. J Med Primatol. 2018 Feb;47(1):3-17. doi: 10.1111/jmp.12283. Epub 2017 Jun 16. PMID: 28620920.
  • Quillen EE, Rainwater DL, Dyer TD, Carless MA, Curran JE, Johnson MP, Göring HH, Cole SA, Rutherford S, Maccluer JW, Moses EK, Blangero J, Almasy L, Mahaney MC. Novel associations of nonstructural Loci with paraoxonase activity. J Lipids. 2012;2012:189681. doi: 10.1155/2012/189681. Epub 2012 Apr 17. PubMed PMID: 22577559; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3345224.
  • Hlusko LJ, Suwa G, Kono RT, Mahaney MC. Genetics and the evolution of primate enamel thickness: A baboon model. Am J Phys Anthropol. 2004 Jul;124(3):223-33. PubMed PMID: 15197818. 
  • Rogers J, Mahaney MC, Witte SM, Nair S, Newman D, Wedel S, Rodriguez LA, Rice KS, Slifer SH, Perelygin A, Slifer M, Palladino-Negro P, Newman T, Chambers K, Joslyn G, Parry P, Morin PA. A genetic linkage map of the baboon (Papio hamadryas) genome based on human microsatellite polymorphisms. Genomics. 2000 Aug 1;67(3):237-47. PubMed PMID: 10936045.
  • Mahaney MC, Blangero J, Comuzzie AG, VandeBerg JL, Stern MP, MacCluer JW. Plasma HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and adiposity. A quantitative genetic test of the conjoint trait hypothesis in the San Antonio Family Heart Study. Circulation. 1995 Dec 1;92(11):3240-8. PubMed PMID: 7586310.
  • Mahaney MC, McCoy KS. Developmental delays and pulmonary disease severity in cystic fibrosis. Hum Biol. 1986 Jun;58(3):445-60. PubMed PMID: 2426178.

Recent Publications

Collaborating Institutions

  • Harvard University

  • South Dakota State University
  • Stony Brook University, NY
  • Texas Biomedical Research Institute
  • University of California-Berkeley