Pharmacogenomics (sometimes abbreviated as PGx) is the study of genetic differences in enzymes, drug transporters and other proteins associated with drug metabolism, which can affect individual responses to drugs in terms of therapeutic and adverse effects. Pharmacogenomics testing is a DNA-based test of genetic variations of genes associated with risk of adverse response or drug response.


Pharmacogenomics Testing for Veterans program (PHASER), brings pharmacogenomic testing to Veterans across the country receiving care at a VA. Led by Founding Director, Deepak Voora, PHASER uses this type of testing to optimize prescriptions using genetic data from patients to reduce adverse side effects and improve medication outcomes. 

Current Research

Statins are commonly used medications to lower cholesterol. However, in some patients, statins can lead to muscle aches and pains that often lead patients to stop taking their statins. Although most patients can tolerate these medications without problems, almost 1 in 10 will have some type of side effect that is thought to be caused by statins. As a consequence patients have higher cholesterol values and higher risks for cardiovascular disease.

We are interested in:

  1. Understanding what causes some patients to develop side effects while others do not, using electronic medical health record data, genetic, and metabolic data; and
  2. Designing novel strategies that enable doctors to use genomic markers to reduce the risk of side effects by partnering with primary care clinics to test how genetic testing can help patients with side effects to statins get back on statin therapy.

Contact Deepak Voora, MD, for more information

The Implementing GeNomics In practice (IGNITE) Pragmatic Clinical Trials Network is an NIH-funded network dedicated to advancing the implementation of genomics in healthcare.This consortium of investigators was created to enhance the use of genomic medicine by supporting the development of methods for incorporating genomic information into clinical care and exploration of the methods for effective implementation, diffusion and sustainability in diverse clinical settings. ADOPT-PGx is an umbrella protocol for three pragmatic clinical trials investigating pharmacogenomics (PGx)-guided therapy for acute post-surgical pain, chronic pain, and depression. Pain and depression impact substantial proportions of the U.S. population, but finding safe, effective drug therapies remains challenging. Read more about IGNITE.

The primary goal of the study was to characterize community pharmacists’ early experiences with PGx testing. Specifically we were interested in:

  1. The amount of time required of pharmacists to provide PGx testing
  2. Patient interest in undergoing PGx testing
  3. Pharmacists’ perceptions of patients' understanding after testing was completed
  4. Pharmacist interactions with prescribing physicians regarding PGx test results
  5. Changes made to prescriptions based on PGx results

These objectives are all related to factors that would likely have a large impact on the decision to provide PGx testing alongside other pharmacy services and the practice of providing PGx testing in a community pharmacy. This study is significant because it demonstrates the feasibility of offering PGx testing in a community pharmacy setting, and it will inform other pharmacies that are considering offering PGx testing. Read publication.