Amanda Vinson

The Vinson Lab is focused on developing large genotyped and phenotyped pedigrees of rhesus macaques in order to study the genetic basis of complex diseases that severely impact the health of both macaques and humans. These diseases include cardiovascular disease and obesity in humans, and endometriosis and colitis in macaques, among others. To characterize the genetic basis of these diseases, I apply quantitative genetic approaches to estimate the heritability of risk factors for disease, to locate quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that influence these risk factors, and to identify functional genetic variants at identified QTLs.  I have a particular interest in genetic effects on chronic inflammation and how these effects contribute to increased cardiovascular risk. 


Based on a subset of >750 macaques sampled to date, I have recently demonstrated significant heritability for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, abdominal circumference, and BMI in a single extended pedigree containing ~1,300 animals spanning 6 generations.  Currently, I am working to develop genome-wide genetic data in these pedigreed macaques that will enable a search for QTLs that influence these cardiovascular risk factors, as well as risk factors for other important diseases.  



Amanda Vinson is an Assistant Scientist in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.  Dr. Vinson is also the head of the Colony Genetics & Demographics unit within the Primate Genetics Program at the ONPRC. In this capacity, she is responsible for pedigree characterization of ~4,000 non-human primates at the ONPRC for genetic research and colony management. Dr. Vinson completed a Ph.D. in population genetics from the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior at the University of Minnesota, and a postdoctoral fellowship in quantitative/statistical genetics at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute/Southwest National Primate Research Center.  During her postdoctoral training, she characterized heritability and QTL effects on Lp-PLA2 activity and LDL cholesterol, and on gene expression implicated in Th1 and Th2 immune response in a large, pedigreed baboon population.  



Vinson A, Curran JE, Johnson MP, Dyer TD, Moses EK, Blangero J, Cox L, Roger J, VandeBerg JL, Havill L, Mahaney MC.  Genetical genomics of Th1 and Th2 immune response in a baboon model of atherosclerosis risk factors. Atherosclerosis 217:387-394. 

Vinson A, Mahaney MC, Diego VP, Cox LA, Rogers J, VandeBerg JL, Rainwater DL.  (2008) Genotype-by-diet effects on co-variation in Lp-PLA2 activity and LDL cholesterol concentration in baboons fed an atherogenic diet. J Lipid Res  49:1295-1302. 

Vinson A, Mahaney MC, Cox LA, Rogers J, VandeBerg JL, Rainwater DL. (2008) A pleiotropic QTL on 2p influences serum Lp-PLA2 activity and LDL cholesterol concentration in a baboon model for the genetics of atherosclerosis risk factors.  Atherosclerosis 196:667-673.  

Rogers J, Garcia R Jr, Shelledy W, Kaplan J, Arya A, Johnson Z, Bergstrom M, Novakowski L, Nair P, Vinson A, Newman D, Heckman G, Cameron J (2006) An initial genetic linkage map of the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) genome using human microsatellite loci.  Genomics 87:30-38.   

Rogers J, Bergstrom M, Garcia R IV, Kaplan J, Arya A, Novakowski L, Johnson Z, Vinson A, Shelledy W (2005) A panel of 20 highly variable microsatellite polymorphisms in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) selected for pedigree or population genetic analysis.  Am J Primatol 67:377-383.