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Michael Olivier, expert in the study of genes and proteins and their role in human disease, appointed to genetics faculty at Texas Biomed

Michael Olivier, Ph.D., professor of physiology and director of the Wisconsin Center of Excellence in Genomics Science at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, has been appointed to the position of Scientist in the Department of Genetics at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Olivier will be joining Texas Biomed,” said Sarah Williams-Blangero, Ph.D., the department chair. “He is a leader in the field of understanding how gene variations affect the structure and function of proteins. This research ultimately will lead to new approaches for treating many disorders, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease.”

The position is funded through one of a number of initiatives included in the current Texas Biomed capital campaign. The lead donors for this position were the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and the Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund. Olivier will start at Texas Biomed in early July.

“We are very grateful to these organizations for making this recruitment possible,” said Kenneth P. Trevett, Texas Biomed’s president and CEO. “This particular recruitment is a key element of our major effort to attract more world-class scientists to the institution, scientists who will enhance existing research programs, initiate new ones, and accelerate the pace of discovery.”

“My lab is interested in the genetic and functional analysis of common human disorders, with a special interest in lipid abnormalities such as high cholesterol and high plasma triglyceride levels.  We are trying to determine how these factors contribute to cardiovascular disease risk, especially in obese individuals.  I am also interested in other complications of obesity, such as fatty liver disease,” Olivier said.

“My expertise in technology, especially in proteomics – the analysis of proteins – can contribute to many ongoing Texas Biomed studies on both humans and baboons. We will be able to merge our tools and technologies with the outstanding resources and study cohorts at Texas Biomed,” he added.

Olivier, 46, is a native of Cologne, Germany.  He joined the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2001 as an assistant professor. He was promoted to associate professor in 2004 and to full professor with tenure in 2009. In addition to his position as director of the Wisconsin CEGS, Olivier is co-director of the TOPS Center for Obesity and Metabolic Research at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Olivier’s research has been published in high-profile journals such as Nature, Science and theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A major research effort of Olivier’s that already includes collaborations with John Blangero, Ph.D., and other scientists at Texas Biomed analyzes the metabolic syndrome in humans, a disorder characterized by obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and hypertension. Olivier is using both family-based, genome-wide analysis and candidate gene studies to explain the genetic alterations affecting lipid metabolism, plasma lipid levels and disease manifestations of these abnormalities, such as abdominal obesity and non–alcoholic fatty liver disease. Additional studies are examining changes in protein composition in cells and tissues from affected individuals to understand how these changes affect disease risk and progression and how the genetic alterations are linked to actual functional abnormalities.

Texas Biomed, formerly the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing global human health through innovative biomedical research.  Located on a 200-acre campus on the northwest side of San Antonio, Texas, the Institute partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world, targeting advances in the fight against emerging infectious diseases, AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, parasitic infections and a host of other diseases, as well as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, obesity, cancer, psychiatric disorders, and problems of pregnancy.  For more information on Texas Biomed, go to, or call Joe Carey, Texas Biomed’s Vice President for Public Affairs, at 210-258-9437.