January 16, 2019

Claw honored for service at Martin Luther King Tribute

Dr. Katrina Claw’s research builds on a six-year UW Northwest-Alaska Pharmacogenomics Research Network (NWA-PGRN) and University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR) collaboration.

Dr. Katrina Claw’s research builds on a six-year UW Northwest-Alaska Pharmacogenomics Research Network (NWA-PGRN) and University of Alaska Fairbanks Center for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR) collaboration.Alex Levine

We are thrilled that Pharmaceutics’ post doc Katrina Claw, PhD, will be honored with a service award at this year’s UW Health Sciences Martin Luther King Tribute on Thursday, January 17, 12:30 pm-2pm in Hogness Auditorium. The event will include a panel discussion.

To be recognized for my outreach and mentorship of Native American and other historically underrepresented students and my commitment to continue working with these communities is an honor.—Katrina Claw, PhD, Postdoc, Department of Pharmaceutics

Katrina’s research has focused on pharmacogenomics and the ethical implications of genomic research in Indigenous communities. Her current projects focus on hepatic variation, tobacco pharmacogenomics, and perceptions of genetic research in American Indian communities.

Her first project explored genetic and transcriptomic variation in the human liver, and identified and functionally characterized regulatory elements that influence pharmacogene expression in the liver. The liver is an ideal system to study due to its role in defining the efficacy and toxicity response to drugs that target the liver (e.g., warfarin and statins).

Her second project focused on the pharmacogenomics of nicotine metabolism, in particular identifying novel genetic variation in the CYP2A6 and CYP2B6 enzymes in Alaska Natives and American Indian populations. It is known that genetic factors account for variance in smoking cessation success, and pharmacogenetic testing brings the potential to optimize dosing for individual patients in order to improve drug response and limit adverse drug reactions.

Her third project is qualitative and has focused on examining the perspectives of American Indian tribes regarding genetic/genomic research. There is a history of research misconduct with Indigenous populations, and her work has examined attitudes and perspectives of tribal members with the eventual goals of developing community-driven genetic research projects and policies.

Ken Thummel, Milo Gibaldi Endowed Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics, with Katrina Claw who was honored for her service to the community at the 2019 Martin Luther King Tribute

Ken Thummel, Milo Gibaldi Endowed Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics, with Katrina Claw who was honored for her service to the community at the 2019 Martin Luther King Tribute

“This award was completely unexpected but I was extremely honored and moved after reading the nomination letter submitted by the UW School of Pharmacy, my advisors, and team,” said Katrina. The award honors individuals who exemplify Martin Luther King’s principles. Truth be told, I don’t think I ever directly sought out to enact any of these principles…they embody the Diné (Navajo) values of respect and reciprocity, of which I’m always conscious of and strive to follow. My outreach activities over the years were essential to creating a community in Seattle away from my home and tribal community and were also a way to be surrounded by the people and community that I needed to survive and thrive throughout my academic journey. I’m so thankful, honored, and humbled to be chosen for this award. Tʼáá íiyisíí ahéheeʼ (Many thanks)!”

Katrina is finishing up her postdoc this academic year and will be joining the University of Colorado School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Biomedical Informatics & Personalized Medicine, Colorado’s Center for Personalized Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

We are very excited for Katrina as she continues to advance research that has a profound impact on the health of Alaska Natives and American Indian populations.