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Research Center of Genes, Environment, and Human Health

 

Director: Wen-Chung Lee, Ph.D.

 

Background

After the completion of resequencing human genome and the development of high-throughput genotyping techniques, there are over 30 thousand of genes identified in human genome. The huge amount of genetic information has great impact on clinical diagnosis of disease, the development of disease treatment, and disease screening and prevention. In the past 20 years, the genetic components of single gene syndrome, e.g., Huntington disease and cystic fibrosis, have been successfully identified. This type of disease is usually caused by rare mutations, which are highly penetrant and thus lead to high mortality, and is less affected by environmental factors. In contrast, most of current human diseases are complex diseases, e.g., cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia among the elderly. They are determined by multiple genes and each gene has limited contribution to the disease. However, some environmental and endogeneous factors complicate the association between genetic variations and the risk of complex diseases. Because the human complex disease has high incidence and prevalence, to assess the interaction between gene and environment becomes important in Public Health.

 

In the post-genome era, the biological mechanism of human complex disease has become a main research field and faced many challenges. To explore the genetic components of complex disease, we usually need to recruit a large number of subjects, utilize the high-throughput genotyping techniques to determine a large number of genetic markers, and to identify biomarkers to assess the interaction between gene and environmental/endogenous factors. The genetic responses to diseases change a lot through the modification of environmental factors. Therefore, to understand the gene-environment interaction for human complex disease has become an essential topic in public health.

 

Framework

Goals

  1. To facilitate interdisciplinary studies, especially in genetics for characterizing biological mechanism associated with environmental exposures.
  2. To promote collaborations and communications between the faculties and inter-school researchers.

 

Collaborative studies

  • FP7 EnviroGenoMarkers project: to discover novel biomarkers and environmental exposures in human disease through the application of large-scale omics technologies.

  • Exposomic project: to study exposomics that reflect all exposure events of an individual during a lifetime and how those exposures relate to disease.


Joint seminar

  • Topic: Molecular and Genomic Epidemiology for Cancer Etiology and Outcome. (October 27, 2014)
    Speaker: Dr. Rayjean J Hung (Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital Cancer Care Ontario)

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