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Approved Research

Investigating the effects of various exposure factors on major diseases by integrating exposome, genome, and phenome data

Principal Investigator: Dr Haidong Kan
Approved Research ID: 98874
Approval date: January 31st 2023

Lay summary

People are always simultaneously exposed to thousands of environmental, lifestyle, behavioral, and economic factors, and these factors tend to cluster and interact with each other within populations. The development, progression, and prognosis of diseases lie on the interplay of various factors. Therefore, systematic evaluation of these factors is valuable for early prevention and detection of diseases. Clinical phenotypes at molecular, functional, and anatomical level may mediate the way environment affects health. Knowing how clinical phenotypes changes are influenced by environmental exposure and how they mediate the association between exposure and diseases is key for predicting and preventing health outcomes at early stage. In addition, various environmental factors and genes may act synergistically in affecting phenotype and disease outcomes. Comprehensive evaluation of environment-environment and gene-environment interactions is needed.

This project will use multi-dimensional omics data by integrating exposome, genome, and phenome to comprehensively explore the pathway of various exposure factors on the development, progress, and prognosis of major diseases. Using the concept of exposome, these exposure factors will comprise not only environmental exposure, but also humanistic exposome and biological response in the internal environment of the body. This project will use a combination of hypothesis-driven sing-exposure analysis and hypothesis-free omics analysis for risk factor assessments. Major diseases include but not limited to cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, psychiatric disorders, diabetes, kidney diseases, cancers, and so on. Specifically, this project will 1) identify risk factors associated with major diseases; 2) evaluate the association between environmental factor on clinical phenotypes at the molecular, functional, and anatomical level; 3) quantify the mediating effect of genetic changes and clinical phenotypes on environmental exposure-induced diseases; 4) assess the environment-environment and gene-environment interactions in triggering diseases.

We expect to complete the proposed project in 36 months. This project will identify risk factor that play major roles in the development of major diseases, which have implications in the prevention and early intervention of related diseases. We will also evaluate the potential mediation effects of the molecular, functional, and anatomical changes, which have the potential to explore the pathogenic mechanisms, and identify novel biomarkers for early detection of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses. In addition, the interaction effect analyses will be helpful in identifying and protecting vulnerable populations.