Sarah Williams-Blangero, Ph.D.

Dr. Sarah Williams-Blangero at Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Tasmania, AustraliaHEB Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Genomics
Director South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute
Chair, Department of Human Genetics
School of Medicine

Brownsville Campus Office
BBRHB 2.230
1 West University Blvd.
Brownsville, TX 78520
Phone: (956) 882-7501

Edinburg Campus Office
ERBL 1.200.4
1214 W. Schunior Street
Edinburg, TX 78541
Phone: (956) 665-6426

McAllen Biomedical Research Building
MBMRF 2.220
5300 N. L St
McAllen, TX 78504
Phone: (956) 665-6426



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 complex diseases in minority populations. She has led the development of a number of major human population cohorts for long-term genetic research. In Nepal, she has worked with a single pedigree that includes over 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, psychiatric disease, and ocular health and disease. 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 for the Rio Grande Valley. As the Director of the South Texas Diabetes and Obesity Institute, Dr. Williams-Blangero expanded her research on the genetic determinants of risk for diabetes, obesity, and related disorders in the Jirel population and in the population of Posse, Brazil. She also established the Rio Grande Valley Family Study with support from the Knapp Community Care Foundation. With a recruitment goal of 1,000 participants, this study now includes over 550 Mexican Americans belonging to large families from the mid-Valley who are being genetically characterized for risk for diabetes and related diseases.

Intramural Appointments

  • Member, UTRGV Tenure and Promotion Committee

  • Chair, Council of Chairs, UTRGV School of Medicine

  • Member, UTRGV Council of Chairs

  • Member, UTRGV Faculty Senate Executive Committee

  • Member, Faculty Assembly Executive Committee, UTRGV SOM

Extramural Appointments

  • Chair, Geographic Diversity Committee, CPRIT

Highlighted Publications

  • Kumar S, Curran JE, Kumar K, DeLeon E, Leandro AC, Peralta J, Williams-Blangero S, Blangero J. Disease modeling and disease gene discovery in cardiomyopathies: A molecular study of induced pluripotent stem cell generated cardiomyocytes. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Mar 24;22(7):3311. doi: 10.3390/ijms22073311.

  • Johnson MP, Keyho R, Blackburn NB, Laston S, Kumar S, Peralta J, Thapa SS, Towne B, Subedi J, Blangero J, Williams-Blangero S. Glycated serum protein genetics and pleiotropy with cardiometabolic risk factors. J Diabetes Res. 2019 Apr 4;2019:2310235. doi: 10.1155/2019/2310235. eCollection 2019.

  • Kent JW Jr, Göring HH, Charlesworth JC, Drigalenko E, Diego VP, Curran JE, Johnson MP, Dyer TD, Cole SA, Jowett JB, Mahaney MC, Comuzzie AG, Almasy L, Moses EK, Blangero J, Williams-Blangero S. Genotype age interaction in human transcriptional ageing. Mech Ageing Dev. 2012 Sep-Oct;133(9-10):581-90. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2012.07.005. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Recent Publications

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