Kevin White, PhD

James and Karen Frank Family Professor of Human Genetics

Professor of Ecology & Evolution

Director, Institute for Genomics & Systems Biology

Dr. Kevin White combines experimental and computational techniques to understand the networks of factors that control gene expression during development, evolution and disease. He is a Professor in Human Genetics and Ecology & Evolution, and Director of the Institute for Genomic & Systems Biology at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.

Dr. White graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a joint BS-MS degree in biology in 1993. He completed his PhD in developmental biology at Stanford University in 1998, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry and genomics at the Stanford Genome Technology Center. In 2001, he joined the faculty at Yale University as an Assistant Professor of Genetics, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003.

He was named an NIH Genome Scholar in 2000, a W.M. Keck Distinguished Young Investigator in Medical Sciences in 2003, an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Young Investigator in 2004, a Pritzker Fellow in 2006, and James and Karen Frank Family Professor in 2006. In 2004, he was elected chairman of the Gordon Conference on Genomics, and in 2005, vice-chairman of the Gordon Conference on Hormone Action in Development and Cancer.

Dr. White’s laboratory studies the coordinated action of networks of genes that control developmental and evolutionary processes, with a particular focus on building genome-wide models of transcriptional networks. They are using an integrated approach that makes use of gene expression microarrays, large-scale protein-protein and protein-DNA interaction analyses, systematic RNAi analysis and high throughput polymorphism detection. By applying these methods to both closely- and distantly-related species, the laboratory is investigating how conserved molecular networks control basic developmental processes and how variation in molecular networks translates into variation in organismal phenotypes. They are particularly interested in the transcriptional networks controlled by nuclear receptor proteins in development and disease, and are studying the transcriptional mechanisms involved in patterning early embryos. The Drosophila genome and the genomes of related species are used as model systems for many of these studies, and more recent work has applied these genomics and computational approaches to investigations of the human genome.

Selected Publications from 2010 – 2011

  • Tao Y, Ruan J, Yeh SH, Lu X, Wang Y, Zhai W, Cai J, Ling S, Gong Q, Chong Z, Qu Z, Li Q, Liu J, Yang J, Zheng C, Zeng C, Wang HY, Zhang J, Wang SH, Hao L, Dong L, Li W, Sun M, Zou W, Yu C, Li C, Liu G, Jiang L, Xu J, Huang H, Li C, Mi S, Zhang B, Chen B, Zhao W, Hu S, Zhuang SM, Shen Y, Shi S, Brown C, White KP, Chen DS, Chen PJ, Wu CI. Rapid growth of a hepatocellular carcinoma and the driving mutations revealed by cell-population genetic analysis of whole-genome data. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A [Epub ahead of print], 2011.
  • Stoddart A, McNerney ME, Bartom E, Bergerson R, Young DJ, Qian Z, Wang J, Fernald AA, Davis EM, Larson RA, White KP, Le Beau MM. Genetic pathways leading to therapy-related myeloid neoplasms. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis 3:e2011019, 2011.
  • Wang Y, Wu W, Negre NN, White KP, Li C, Shah PK. Determinants of Antigenicity and Specificity in immune response for Protein Sequences. BMC Bioinformatics 12:251, 2011.
  • ENCODE Project Consortium, Myers RM, Stamatoyannopoulos J, Snyder M, Dunham I, Hardison RC, Bernstein BE, Gingeras TR, Kent WJ, Birney E, Wold B, Crawford GE. A user’s guide to the encyclopedia of DNA elements (ENCODE). PLoS Biol 9:e1001046, 2011.
  • Quan J, Saaem I, Tang N, Ma S, Negre N, Gong H, White KP, Tian J. Parallel on-chip gene synthesis and application to optimization of protein expression. Nat Biotechnol 29:449-452, 2011.
  • Al-Dhaheri M, Wu J, Skliris GP, Li J, Higashimato K, Wang Y, White KP, Lambert P, Zhu Y, Murphy L, Xu W. CARM1 is an important determinant of ERα-dependent breast cancer cell differentiation and proliferation in breast cancer cells. Cancer Res 71:2118-2128, 2011.
  • Slattery M, Ma L, Négre N, White KP, Mann RS. Genome-wide tissue-specific occupancy of the hox protein ultrabithorax and hox cofactor homothorax in Drosophila. PLoS One 6:e14686, 2011.
  • Wang X, White KP. Large-scale genetic epistasis networks using RNAi. Nat Methods 8:299-301, 2011.
  • Nègre N*, Brown CD*, Ma L*, Bristow CA*, Miller S*, Kheradpour P, Loriaux P, Sealfon R, Li Z, Ishii H, Spokony R, Chen J, Hwang L, Wagner U, Auburn R, Shah PK, Morrison CA, Zieba J, Suchy S, Senderowicz L, Bild NA, Grundstad AJ, Hanley D, Mannervik M, Venken K, Bellen H, White R, Russell S, Grossman RL, Ren B, Posakony JW, Kellis M, White KP. A cis-regulatory map for the Drosophila genome.  Nature 471:527-531, 2011.
  • Ho JW, Bishop E, Karchenko PV, Nègre N, White KP, Park PJ. ChIP-chip versus ChIP-seq: Lessons for experimental design and data analysis. BMC Genomics 12:134, 2011.
  • modENCODE Consortium, et, al. Identification of functional elements and regulatory circuits by Drosophila modENCODE. Science 330:1787-1797, 2010.
  • Nègre N, Brown CD, Shah PK, Kheradpour P, Morrison CA, Henikoff JG, Feng X, Ahmad K, Russell S, White RA, Stein L, Henikoff S, Kellis M, White KP. A comprehensive map of insulator elements for the Drosophila genome. PLoS Genet 6:e1000814, 2010.


  • Godley LA, Cunningham J, Dolan ME, Huang RS, Gurbuxani S, McNerney ME, Larson RA, Leong H, Lussier Y, Onel K, Odenike O, Stock W, White KP, Le Beau MM. An integrated genomic approach to the assessment and treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. Semin Oncol 38:215-224, 2011.

Selected Presentations

  • “Chicago Center for Systems Biology”
    Invited Speaker at the Annual Meeting of the National Centers of Systems Biology
    Seattle, WA
    July 2010
  • “Nuclear receptors, transcriptional networks and cancer”
    Invited Speaker at the Joint Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory/ Wellcome Trust Conference: Systems Biology: Networks Meeting
    Hinxton, United Kingdom
    August 2010
  • “Genomic and genetic aspects for human health and disease”
    Invited Speaker at the University of Oslo Symposium
    Oslo, Norway
    September 2010
  • “Informatics of genomics – implications for cancer centers”
    Invited Speaker at the Association of American Cancer Institutes Annual Meeting
    Chicago, IL
    October 2010
  • “Mining genome scale data and predicting patient outcomes”
    Invited Speaker at the Yale University System Biology Symposium
    New Haven, CT
    October 2010
  • “Nuclear receptors, transcriptional networks and cancer”
    Invited Speaker at the Inaugural Xiamen Winter Symposium
    Xiamen, China
    February 2011
  • “ModENCODE Workshop”
    Invited Speaker at the 52nd Annual Drosophila Research Conference
    San Diego, CA
    April 2011
  • “Genomic Analysis and Breast Cancer Prognosis”
    Invited Speaker at the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) 2011 Annual Meeting- Experimental Biology
    Washington DC
    April 2011
  • “Mining transcriptional networks for cancer biomarkers and predicting patient outcomes”
    Invited Speaker at the University of Illinois Seminar Series, Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology
    Urbana, IL
    May 2011
  • “The Chicago Center for Systems Biology”
    Invited Speaker at the National Systems Biology Meeting, National Institute of General Medical Sciences
    Durham, NC
    June 2011
  • “Genomic networks and predictive signatures of breast cancer subtypes”
    Invited Speaker at the Translational and Systems Medicine Meeting
    Stockholm, Sweden
    June 2011
  • “Mining transcriptional networks for cancer biomarkers and predicting patient outcomes”
    Invited Speaker at the Exciting Biology Series: Cellular Development – Biology at the Interface, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology
    Kobe, Japan
    September 2011
  • “Mining transcriptional networks for cancer biomarkers and predicting patient outcomes”
    Invited Speaker at Frontiers in Cancer Science 2011
    October 2011
  • “Mining transcriptional networks for cancer biomarkers and predicting patient outcomes”
    Invited Speaker at the Society of Urologic Oncology Meeting
    Bethesda, MD
    December 2011