Aaron Leong, MD

Institution: Massachusetts General Hospital
Research: Hemoglobin A1c genetics in Diabetes Diagnosis and Patient Care
Grants & Publications: Harvard Catalyst
Categories: MGH

My research program is focused on the application of complex trait genetics to clinical practice. I am to rigorously test strategies for translating type 2 diabetes (T2D) and hemoglobin A1c (A1C) genetics to precision medicine in controlled, real-world research settings. I take genetic findings from largescale genome-wide association analyses of T2D and A1C to pharmacogenetic clinical studies involving detailed phenotyping and pharmacologic interventions, and patient-oriented outcomes research using biobanks and electronic health records. Ongoing research studies in my lab include 1) a study funded by the American Diabetes Association to examine host genetics underlying diabetes and COVID-19 severity (Principal Investigator), 2) a study funded by the American Diabetes Association to characterize the beta cell function and sulfonylurea response of individuals at the extremes of polygenic scores (Site Investigator), and 3) an examination of the association of genetics with A1C-glycemia mismatches funded by the Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (BADERC) Pilot and Feasibility Program and a Doris Duke Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award (Principal Investigator). I play both leadership and participatory roles in genetic discovery efforts within national and international genetics consortia – Meta-Analysis of Glycemic and Insulin-related Traits Consortium (MAGIC), Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) Program, Cohorts of Heart and Aging in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) and the Million Veteran Program (MVP). Additionally, I have published studies on novel approaches to diabetes population screening using health administrative databases and population-based surveys, and on Mendelian randomization approaches to evaluate causal relationship between risk factors and cardiometabolic disease.