Genetics and Aging Diseases: Epidemiology Research
The Genetic Epidemiology Program of the Institute for Aging Research comprises a team of scientists committed to uncovering the connections between genetics and aging. Specifically, their gerontology research is focused on identifying a genetic predisposition for aging-related common diseases (complex diseases); to define their associated risks and interaction with environmental risk factors; and to evaluate strategies for avoiding inherited risks of aging diseases in populations. This genetics and aging research is also actively involved in developing analytical/statistical methodology, investigating the determinants of complex human disease and exploring ways of using genetic information to improve human health (pharmacogenetics).
The Program is integrated with several clinical research groups at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife. Some of our group members are clinically trained. We are also closely aligned with the Framingham Heart Study and collaborate broadly with colleagues from the Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Harvard University School of Public Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, as well as other departments.
The Program has several major areas of research interest:
- Enabling the access to expertise and resources (such as the Framingham SNP Health Association Resource (SHARe) for genetic epidemiology, statistical genetics and bioinformatics;
- Performing interdisciplinary applied research in the inherited predisposition to complex diseases with a particular emphasis on aging-related diseases such as osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, type 2 diabetes in families and in populations;
- Developing analytical methodologies for gene-disease association, as well as gene-gene and gene-environment interactions; and multi-phenotype analyses.
- Studying the human genome structure, comparative genomes across different species and their relationship to the risks of complex diseases.
The overarching objective of the Program is to integrate the scholarly and educational activities of faculty members involved in genetic research, and to foster further development in these academic activities in parallel with rapidly evolving discipline of systems biology, population genetics, genomics, phenomics and personal medicine. Our additional goal is to attract innovative investigators in the field of aging-related chronic diseases and to provide the educational competencies needed for the successful practice of molecular epidemiology in the field of gerontology.
The Program provides in-home expertise and enables access to resources for genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics. We are assisting in grant development, power and sample size calculations, and bioinformatics support.