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Avera Institute for Human Genetics

3720 W. 69th Street Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
Phone: 605-322-3050

Erik EhliErik Ehli, PhD

Research Scientist

After earning his BS degree in Biology from Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., Erik Ehli received an MS in Basic Biological Sciences from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D., and a BSN from South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D. As an employee of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center for several years, Erik had worked as a registered nurse in Surgical Trauma prior to becoming a Genetics Research Associate at the Avera Institute for Human Genetics.

Research Interests

Currently working as a Research Scientist at the Avera Institute for Human Genetics, Dr. Ehli has a research interest in the molecular genetics of complex diseases. He is actively involved in leading genotyping projects on samples collected from children and adolescents through the Netherlands Twin Register. In addition, Dr. Ehli is working on the molecular characterization of metastatic breast cancer and has an interest in understanding the tumor genetics of gynecological cancer, specifically uterine sarcoma. Dr. Ehli has extensive training in a diverse range of molecular genetics techniques, including high density SNP genotyping, methylation, next generation sequencing, and pharmacogenetic profiling.

Professional Memberships

  • American Society for Human Genetics
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)
  • International Society for Twin Studies (ISTS)
  • Behavioral Genetics Association (BGA)


Franke B, Stein JL, Ripke S, Anttila V, Hibar DP, van Hulzen KJE, Arias-Vasquez A, Smoller JW, Nichols TE, Neale MC, McIntosh, AM, et al. Genetic Influences on Schizophrenia and Subcortical Brain Volumes: Large-Scale Proof of Concept. Nat Neurosci. 2016 Mar;19(3):420-31. van Dongen J, Nivard MG, Willemsen G, Hottenga JJ, Helmer Q, Dolan CV, Ehli EA, Davies GE, van Iterson M, Breeze CE, Beck Stephen, BIOS Consortium, Suchiman HE, Jansen R, van Meurs JB, Heilmans BT, Slagboom PE, Boomsma DI. Genetic and Environmental Influences Interact with Age and Sex in Shaping the Human Methylome. Nat Commun. 2016 Apr 7;7:11115. Click here for the full article.

San Lucas FA, Allenson K, Bernard V, Castillo J, Kim DU, Ellis K, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Petersen JL, Wolff R, Katz M, Varadhachary G, Wistuba I, Maitra A, Alvarez H. Minimally invasive genomic and transcriptomic profiling of visceral cancers by next-generation sequencing of circulating exosomes. Ann Oncol. 2015 Dec 17. [Epub ahead of print] Click here for the full article.

Fedko IO, Hottenga JJ, Medina-Gomez C, Pappa I, van Beijsterveldt CE, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Rivadeneira F, Tiemeier H, Swertz MA, Middeldorp CM, Bartels M, Boomsma DI. Estimation of Genetic Relationships Between Individuals Across Cohorts and Platforms: Application to Childhood Height. Behav Genet. 2015 Jun 3. [Epub ahead of print] Click here for the abstract.

Hansell NK, Halford GS, Andrews G, Shum DHK, Harris SE, Davies G, Franic S, Christoforou A, Zietsch B, Painter J, Medland SE, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Steen VM, Lundervold AJ, Reinvang, Montgomery GW, Espeseth T, et al. Genetic Basis of a Cognitive Complexity Metric. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0123886. Click here for the full article.

Abdellaoui A, Hottenga JJ, Willemsen G, Bartels M, van Beijsterveldt T, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Brooks A, Sullivan PF, Penninx BWJH, de Geus EJ, Boomsma DI. Educational Attainment Influences Levels of Homozygosity through Migration and Assortative Mating. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0118935. Click here for the full article.

Abdellaoui A, Ehli E, Hottenga JJ, Weber Z, Mbarek H, Willemsen G, von Beijsterveldt T, Brooks A, Hudziak JJ, Sullivan PF, de Geus EJ, Davies GE, Boomsma DI. CNV Concordance in 1,097 MZ Twin Pairs. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2015 Jan 12:1-12. [Epub ahead of print] Click here for the abstract.

Franic S, Dolan CV, Broxholme J, Hu H, Zemojtel T, Davies GE, Nelson KA, Ehli EA, Pool R, Hottenga JJ, Childhood Intelligence Consortium, Ropers HH, Boomsma DI. Medelian and polygenic inheritance of intelligence: A common set of causal genes? Using next-generation sequencing to examine the effects of 168 intellectual disability genes on normal-range intelligence. Intelligence. 2015;49:10-22.

Groen-Blokhuis MM, Middeldorp CM, Kan K, Abdellaoui A, van Beijsterveldt CEM, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Scheet PA, Xiao X, Hudziak JJ,  Hottenga J, Psychiatric Genomics Consortium ADHD Working Group, Neale BM, Boomsma DI. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder polygenic risk scores predict Attention Problems in a population-based sample of children. J Am Acad Child Psy. 2014 Oct;53(10):1123-9. Click here for the abstract.

Benke K, Nivard M, Velders F, Walters R, Pappa I, Scheet P, Xiao X, Ehli E, Palmer L, Whitehouse A, Verhulst F, Jaddoe V, Rivadeneira F, Groen-Blokhuis M, van Beijsterveldt C, Davies G, Hudziak J, Lubke G, Boomsma D, Pennell C, Tiemeier H, Middledorp C, Eagle Consortium. A genome-wide association meta-analysis of preschool internalizing problems. J Am Acad Child Psy. 2014 Jun;53(6):667-676. Click here for the abstract.

Huppertz C, Bartels M, Groen-Blokhuis M, Dolan C, de Moor M, Abdellaoui A, van Beijsterveldt T, Ehli EA, Hottenga J, Willemsen G, Xiao X, Scheet P, Davies G, Boomsma D, Hudziak J, de Geus E. The dopaminergic reward system and leisure time exercise behavior: a candidate allele study. BioMed Research International. 2014. Epub 2014 Mar 9. Click here to read the free article.

Hu Y, Young AJ, Ehli EA, Nowotny D, Davies PS, Droke EA, Soundy TJ, Davies GE. Metformin and berberine prevent olanzapine-induced weight gain in rats. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(3):e93310. Click here to read the free article.

van Dongen J, Ehli EA, Slieker RC, Bartels M, Weber ZM, Davies GE, Slagboom PE, Heijmans BT, Boomsma DI. Epigenetic variation in monozygotic twins: A genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation in buccal cells. Genes (Basel). 2014;5(2):347-65. Click here to read the free article.

de Zeeuw EL, van Beijsterveldt CEM, Glasner TJ, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Hudziak JJ, Social Science Genetic Association Consortium, Rietveld NA, Groen-Blokhuis MM, Hottenga J, de Geus EJC, Boomsma DI. Polygenic scores associated with educational attainment in adults predict educational achievement and attention problems in children. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2014 Sep; 165(6):510-20. Click here for the abstract.

Brouwer RM, van Soelen IL, Swagerman SC, Schnack HG, Ehli EA, Kahn RS, Hulshoff Pol HE, and Boomsma DI. Genetic associations between intelligence and cortical thickness emerge at the start of puberty. Hum Brain Mapp. 2014 Aug;35(8):3760-73. Click here for the abstract.

Rubin DH, Althoff RR, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Rettew DC, Crehan ET, Walkup JT, Hudziak JJ. Candidate Gene Associations to Withdrawn Behavior. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2013;54(12):1337-45. Click here for the abstract.

Abdellaoui A, Hottenga JJ, Xiao X, Scheet P, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Hudziak JJ, Smit DJA, Bartels M, Willemsen G, Brooks A, Sullivan PF, Smit JH, de Geus EJ, Phenninx BW, Boomsma D. Association Between Autozygosity and Major Depression: Stratification Due to Religious Assortment. Behav Genet. 2013 Nov;43(6):455-67. Click here for the abstract.

Groen-Blokhuis MM, Franic S, van Beijsterveldt CE, de Geus E, Bartels M, Davies GE, Ehli EA, Xiao X, Scheet PA, Althoff R, Hudziak JJ, Middeldorp CM, Boomsma DI. A prospective study of the effects of breastfeeding and FADS2 polymorphisms on cognition and hyperactivity/attention problems. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2013 Jul;162(5):457-65. Click here for the abstract.

Abdellaoui A, Hottenga JJ, Knijff PD, Nivard MG, Xiao X, Scheet P, Brooks A, Ehli EA, Hu Y, Davies GE, Hudziak JJ, Sullivan PF, van Beijsterveldt T, Willemsen G, de Geus EJ, Penninx BW, Boomsma DI. Population structure, migration, and diversifying selection in the Netherlands. Eur J Hum Genet. 2013 Mar 27. Click here for the abstract.

van Beijsterveldt CE, Groen-Blokhuis M, Hottenga JJ, Franić S, Hudziak JJ, Lamb D, Huppertz C, de Zeeuw E, Nivard M, Schutte N, Swagerman S, Glasner T, van Fulpen M, Brouwer C, Stroet T, Nowotny D, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Scheet P, Orlebeke JF, Kan KJ, Smit D, Dolan CV, Middeldorp CM, de Geus EJ, Bartels M, Boomsma DI. The Young Netherlands Twin Register (YNTR): Longitudinal Twin and Family Studies in Over 70,000 Children. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2013 Feb;16(1):252-67. Click here for the abstract.

Scheet P, Ehli EA, Xiao X, van Beijsterveldt CE, Abdellaoui A, Althoff RR, Hottenga JJ, Willemsen G, Nelson KA, Huizenga PE, Hu Y, Amos CI, Bartels M, Groen-Blokhuis MM, de Geus EJ, Hudziak JJ, Davies GE, Boomsma DI. Twins, tissue, and time: an assessment of SNPs and CNVs. Twin Res Hum Genet. 2012 Dec;15(6):737-45. Click here for the abstract.

Ehli EA, Abdellaoui A, Hu Y, Hottenga JJ, Kattenberg M, van Beijsterveldt T, Bartels M, Althoff RR, Xiao X, Scheet P, de Geus EJ, Hudziak JJ, Boomsma DI, Davies GE. De novo and inherited CNVs in MZ twin pairs selected for discordance and concordance on Attention Problems. Eur J Hum Genet. 2012 Oct;20(10):1037-43. Click here for abstract.

Hu Y, Ehli EA, Hudziak JJ, Davies GE. Berberine and evodiamine influence serotonin transporter (5-HTT) expression via the 5-HTT-linked polymorphic region. Pharmacogenomics J. 2012 Oct;12(5):372-8. Click here for the abstract.

Hu Y, Ehli EA, Nelson K, Bohlen K, Lynch C, Huizenga P, Kittlelsrud J, Soundy TJ, Davies GE. Genotyping performance between saliva and blood-derived genomic DNAs on the DMET array: a comparison. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33968. Click here for the abstract.

Hu Y, Ehli EA, Kittelsrud J, Ronan PJ, Munger K, Downey T, Bohlen K, Callahan L, Munson V, Jahnke M, Marshall LL, Nelson K, Huizenga P, Hansen R, Soundy TJ, Davies GE. Lipid-lowering effect of berberine in human subjects and rats. Phytomedicine. 2012 Jul 15;19(10):861-7. Click here for abstract.

Ehli EA, Hu Y, Lengyel-Nelson T, Hudziak JJ, Davies GE. Identification and functional characterization of three novel alleles for the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region. Mol Psychiatry. 2012 Feb;17(2):185-92. Click here for the abstract.

Albaugh MD, Harder VS, Althoff RR, Rettew DC, Ehli EA, Davies GE, Ayer L, Sulman J, Stanger C, Hudziak JJ. COMT Val158Met genotype as a risk factor for problem behaviors in youth. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Aug;49(8):841-9. Click here for the abstract.

Shokeen S, Greenfield TJ, Ehli EA, Rasmussen J, Perrault BE, Weaver KE. An intramolecular upstream helix ensures the stability of a toxin-encoding RNA in Enterococcus faecalis. J Bacteriol. 2009 Mar;109(5):1528-36. Click here for the abstract.

Ehli EA, Lengyel-Nelson T, Hudziak JJ, Davies GE. Using a commercially available DNA extraction kit to obtain high quality human genomic DNA suitable for PCR and genotyping from 11-year-old saliva saturated cotton spit wads. BMC Res Notes. 2008 Dec 22;1(1):133. Click here to read the free article.

Weaver KE, Ehli EA, Nelson JS, Patel S. Antisense RNA Regulation by Stable Complex Formation in the Enterococcus faecalis Plasmid pAD1 Post-segregational Killing System par. J Bacteriol. 2004 Oct;186(19):6400-08. Click here to read the free article.

Weaver KE, Weaver DM, Wells CL, Waters CM, Gardner ME, Ehli EA. Enterococcus faecalis Plasmid pAD1-Encoded Fst Toxin Affects Membrane Permeability and Alters Cellular Responses to Lantibiotics. J Bacteriol. 2003 Apr;185(7):2169-77. Click here to read the free article.

Greenfield TG, Ehli EA, Kirshenmann T, Franch T, Gerdes K, Weaver KE. The antisense RNA of the par locus of pAD1 regulates the expression of a 33-amino-acid toxic peptide by an unusual mechanism. Mol Microbiol. 2000 Aug;37(3):652-60. Click here to read the free article.