Robert J. Straka, PharmD, FCCP

Department Head and Professor, Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (ECP)
Robert Straka Headshot


Office Phone
Office Address

7- 115B Weaver-Densford Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Administrative Assistant

Zack McGough


Department Head and Professor, Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology (ECP)


Bachelors Degree, University of Toronto, Canada (Pharmacy), 1983

PharmD, University of Minnesota, 1985

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Cardiovascular Pharmacokinetics, University of Tennessee, 1987

Sabbatical, Cardiovascular Pharmacogenomics, University of Florida, 2006-2007

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My lab’s research interests focus on optimizing the use of therapeutic agents for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and related diseases by investigating pharmacogenetic, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic sources of variability in response. My post doc fellowship training in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics provided me with the relevant basis to pursue quantitative relationships and the translational significance between xenobiotic exposure and pharmacologic response. With over 35 years of experience in these areas, and as evidenced by the focus of my publications in the past 15 years, I have increasingly incorporated the study of genomic-based sources of variability in drug response, in particular cases with relevance to drug therapies used in various including underserved populations. Our multidisciplinary team science approach has facilitated sustained collaborations with funding from NIH, American Heart Association, PCORI, CTSI sources and others. I continue leveraging my clinical, pharmacy and translational science expertise to examine associations and improve our understanding of pharmacogenomic determinants of drug exposure, drug response and patient outcomes. Improving our abilities to forecast drug response will enable us to tailor our decision-making regarding the selection and dose of drug therapy to optimize outcomes. Establishing ethical, interpretable, and responsible means for communicating the results of pharmacogenomic testing to patients and healthcare providers alike represent a priority in the field of pharmacogenomics.

Awards & Recognition

2018 University of Minnesota President’s Community-Engaged Scholar Award: This collegiate award recognizes exemplary community-engaged scholarship by a faculty member whose academic career has reflected longstanding commitment to the University’s definition of public engagement

Research Summary

Research Interests:

  • Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy
  • Pharmacogenomics 
  • Pharmacodynamicsand Pharmacokinetics 
  • Drug Metabolism 
  • Health Disparities

Research Projects:

My research interests focus on optimizing the use of therapeutic agents used for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease by investigating pharmacogenetic, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic sources of variability in drug response. Understanding variability in drug response can optimize achievement of therapeutic goals. Discovery and implementation of pharmacogenomic determinants of drug response can help tailor therapy to minimizing drug-drug-gene interactions. Discovering of novel genetic variants or recognizing unique allele frequencies of known variants in underserved populations may also help address disparities in optimal drug selection within such populations.

Therapeutic Areas of Interests

Hyperlipidemia, Hypertension, Hyperuricemia/Gout, Metabolic Syndrome and Heart Failure




Complete Publications listed at PubMed

  • Wen YF, Gaedigk A, Boone EC, Wang WY, Straka RJ. The identification of novel CYP2D6 variants in US Hmong: Results from genome sequencing and clinical genotyping. (Accepted for publication Feb 25,2022) Frontiers in Pharmacology
  • Cooper-DeHoff RM, Niemi M, Ramsey LB, Luzum JA, Tarkiainem KK, Straka RJ, Gong L, Tuteja S, Wilke RA, Wadelius M, Larson EA, Roden DM, Klein TE, Yee SW, Krauss RM, Turner RM, Palaniappam L, Gaedigk A, Giacomini KM, Caudle KE, Voora D. The Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium: (CPIC) guideline for SLCO1B1ABCG2, and CYP2C9 and statin-associated musculoskeletal symptoms. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2022 Feb 12. doi: 10.1002/cpt.2557. Online ahead of print. PMID: 35152405 
  • Sun B^, Wen Y-F^, Culhane-Pera KA, Lo M, Xiong T, Lee K, Peng K^, Thyagarajan, B, Bishop JR, Zierhut H, Straka RJ. Differences in predicted warfarin dosing requirements between Hmong and East Asians using genotype-based dosing algorithms. Pharmacotherapy 2020 Dec; doi: 10.1002/phar.2487. PMID: 33202062
  • Wen,YF^, Culhane-Pera KA, Thyagarajan B, Bishop JR, Zierhut HA, Lo MC, Xiong T^, Peng K^, Holzer K^, Lee K, Straka RJ. Potential clinical relevance of differences in allele frequencies found within very important pharmacogenes between Hmong and East Asian populations. Pharmacotherapy 2020 Feb;40(2):142-152 doi:10.1002/phar.2360. PMID: 31884695
  • Peng K^, Bjork J, Wen YF^, Roman YM, Culhane-Pera, Lo MX, Gertner E, Straka, RJ. HLA-B*58:01.
    Carrier status in the Minnesota Hmong: first in Hmong genotyping for prevalence of this biomarker of risk for severe cutaneous adverse reactions (SCARs) caused by allopurinol. Pharmacogenetics and Genomics. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2019 Oct 25. doi: 10.1097/FPC.0000000000000391. PMID: 31658186
  • Culhane-Pera KA*, Straka RJ*, Moua M, Roman Y, Vue P, Xiaaj K, Lo MX, Lor M.. Engaging Hmong Adults in Genomics/Pharmacogenomics Research: Towards Reducing Health Disparities in Genomics Knowledge Using a Community-Based Participatory Research Approach. Journal of Community Genet. 2017, 8:117-125doi: 10.1007/s12687-017-0292-x (*Co-First AuthorsPMID: 28074382
  • Roman YM, Culhane-Pera KA, Menk J, Straka RJ. Assessment of genetic polymorphisms associated with hyperuricemia or gout in the Hmong. Personalized Medicine. 2016 September; 13(5), 429-440
  • An P, Straka RJ, Pollin TI, Feitosa MF, Wojczynski MK, Daw EW, O'Connell JR, Gibson Q, Ryan KA, Hopkins PN, Tsai MY, Lai CQ, Province MA, Ordovas JM, Shuldiner AR, Arnett DK, Borecki IB. Genome-wide association studies identified novel loci for non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and its postprandial lipemic response. Hum Genet. 2014 Jul;133(7):919-30. doi: 10.1007/s00439-014-1435-3. PMID: 24604477
  • Feitosa MF, Wojczynski MK, Straka R, Kammerer CM, Lee JH, Kraja AT, Christensen K, Newman AB, Province MA, Borecki IB. Genetic analysis of long-lived families reveals novel variants influencing high density-lipoprotein cholesterol. Front Genet. 2014 Jun 3;5:159. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00159. eCollection 2014. PMID 24917880
  • Oldenburg NC, Duval S, Luepker RV, Finnegan JR, LaMarre H, Peterson KA, Zantek ND, Jacobs G, Straka RJ, Miller KH, Hirsch AT.A 16-month community-based intervention to increase aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.Prev Chronic Dis. 2014 May 15;11:E83. doi: 10.5888/pcd11.130378. PMID 24831287
  • Trottier J, Perreault M, Rudkowska I, Levy C, Dallaire-Theroux A, Verreault M, Caron P, Staels B, Vohl MC, Straka RJ, Barbier O.Profiling serum bile acid glucuronides in humans: gender divergences, genetic determinants, and response to fenofibrate.Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Oct;94(4):533-43. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2013.122. Epub 2013 Jun 12. PMID 23756370
  • Aslibekyan S, Straka RJ, Irvin MR, Class SA, Arnett DK.Pharmacogenomics of high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol-raising therapies. Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2013 Mar;11(3):355-64. doi: 10.1586/erc.12.134. PMID 23469915
  • Frazier-Wood AC1, Aslibekyan S, Borecki IB, Hopkins PN, Lai CQ, Ordovas JM, Straka RJ, Tiwari HK, Arnett DK.Genome-wide association study indicates variants associated with insulin signaling and inflammation mediate lipoprotein responses to fenofibrate. Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2012 Oct;22(10):750-7. PMID 22890011
  • Frazier-Wood AC, Ordovas JM, Straka RJ, Hixson JE, Borecki IB, Tiwari HK, Arnett DK.The PPAR alpha gene is associated with triglyceride, low-density cholesterol and inflammation marker response to fenofibrate intervention: the GOLDN study. Pharmacogenomics J. 2013 Aug;13(4):312-7. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2012.9. Epub 2012 May 1. PMID 22547144
  • Aslibekyan S, Kabagambe EK, Irvin MR, Straka RJ, Borecki IB, Tiwari HK, Tsai MY, Hopkins PN, Shen J, Lai CQ, Ordovas JM, Arnett. DKA genome-wide association study of inflammatory biomarker changes in response to fenofibrate treatment in the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drug and Diet Network.Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2012 Mar;22(3):191-7. doi: 10.1097/FPC.0b013e32834fdd41. PMID 22228203
  • Kraja AT, Province MA, Straka RJ, Ordovas JM, Borecki IB, Arnett DK. Fenofibrate and metabolic syndrome.
  • Straka RJ, Liu LZ, Girase PS, DeLorenzo A, Chapman RH. Incremental cardiovascular costs and resource use associated with diabetes: an assessment of 29,863 patients in the US managed-care setting. Cardiovascular Diabetology. 2009 Sep 26;8:53. PMID: 19781099
  • Shen J. Arnett DK, Parnell LD, Peacock JM, Lai CQ, Hixon JE, Tsai MY, Province MA, Straka RJ, Ordovas JM. Association of common C-reactive protein (CRP) gene polymorphisms with baseline plasma CRP levels and fenofibrate response: The GOLDN Study. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:910-915. PMID: 18285551
  • Smith JA, Arnett DK, Kelly RJ, Ordovas JM, Sun YV, Hopkins PN, Hixson JE, Straka RJ, Peacock JM, Kardia SLR. The genetic architecture of fasting plasma triglyceride response to fenofibrate treatment. Euro J Hum Gen. 2008;16: 603-613. PMID: 18212815
  • Straka RJ, Mamdani M, Damen J, Kuntze CEE, Liu LZ, Botteman MF, Koren MJ. Economic impacts attributable to the early clinical benefit of atorvastatin therapy – a US managed care perspective. Curr Med Res Opin. 2007;23(7):1517-29. PMID: 17535539
  • Kaila N, Straka RJ, Brundage RC. Mixture models and subpopulation classification: A pharmacokinetic simulation study and application to metoprolol CYP2D6 phenotype. J Pharmacokinetics Pharmacodynamics. 2007;34(2):141-56. PMID: 17053980
  • Straka RJ, Burkhardt RT, Lang NP, Hadsall KZ, Tsai MY. Discordance between N-acetyltransferase 2 phenotype and genotype in a population of Hmong subjects. J Clin Pharmacol. 2006;46(7):802-11. PMID 16809806
  • Straka RJ, Burkhardt RT, Lang NP, Vang T, Hadsall KZ, Tsai MY Verified predominance of slow acetylator phenotype N-acetyltransferase 2 (NAT2) in a Hmong population residing in Minnesota. Biopharm Drug Dispos. 2006;27(6):299-304. PMID: 16799928
  • Straka RJ, Taheri R, Cooper SL, Smith JC. Achieving cholesterol target in a managed care organization (ACTION) trial. Pharmacotherapy. 2005;25(3):360-71. PMID: 15843283
  • Straka RJ, Taheri R, Cooper SL, Tan AW, Smith JC. Assessment of hypercholesterolemia control in a health care organization. Pharmacotherapy. 2001;21(7):818-27. PMID: 11444578
  • Straka RJ, Fish JP, Benson SR, Suh JT. Patient self-reporting of compliance does not correspond with electronic monitoring: an evaluation using isosorbide dinitrate as a model drug. Pharmacotherapy 1997:17(1);126-33. PMID: 9017773
  • Straka RJ, Hansen R, Walker P. Predominance of slow acetylators of N-acetyltransferase in a Hmong population residing in the United States. J Clin Pharmacol. 1996;36(8):740-7. PMID: 8877679
  • Straka RJ, Hansen RS, Walker PF. Comparison of the prevalence of the poor metabolizer phenotype for CYP2D6 between 203 Hmong subjects and 280 white subjects residing in Minnesota. Clin. Pharmacol Ther 1995;58(1):29-34. PMID: 7628180
  • Lalonde RL, Straka RJ, Pieper JA, Bottorff MB, Mirvis DM. Propranolol pharmacodynamic modeling using unbound and total concentrations in healthy volunteers. J Pharmacokinet Biopharm 1987;15(6):569-82. PMID: 3450842
  • Straka RJ, Lalonde RL, Pieper JA, Bottorff MB, Mirvis DM. Nonlinear pharmacokinetics of unbound propranolol after oral administration. J Pharm Sci 1987;76(7):521-4. PMID: 3668812