Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Gene-environment interactions in cardiovascular diseases: an integrated genomics and behavioral approach using multi-ancestry population

Principal Investigator: Dr Paule Joseph
Approved Research ID: 57780
Approval date: March 31st 2020

Lay summary

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Individuals of African ancestry experience disproportionately higher CVD mortality and comorbidities. CVD are characterized by interactions between modifiable (environmental factors such as diet, physical activities, smoking) and non-modifiable risk factors. Elevated blood lipid levels are strong predictors of CVD. Dyslipidemias are complex genetic disorders involving hundreds of genes. The interactions between the genes and environmental factors impact health outcomes and the cause of disparities associated with CVD remain unclear. Most genetic studies have been conducted among individuals of European ancestry and their findings are used to establish standards for clinical diagnosis, management and treatment. These standards might not be optimal for individuals from different ancestry populations. Besides identifying diet tailored to an individual's genetic ancestry, adherence to a heart healthy diet is influenced by taste. Taste preferences, defined by one's genes and culture, can influence food choices and diet. Bitter, sweet, fat, and salty tastes preferences can impact diet and unhealthy diets can lead to obesity, dyslipidemia, and CVD. This study aims to: 1) explore the role of diet and lipid-associated variants on lipid phenotypes using genetic association approaches, in individuals from diverse ancestry populations; 2) elucidate interactions between diet, lipid-associated traits and taste-related genes in the brain. This study has the potential to address the interactions between genes and environment contributing to health disparities and clinical outcomes of dyslipidemia and CVD.