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Approved Research

Linking genomic determinants of child development to predictors of ageing and multi-morbidities.

Principal Investigator: Dr Dennis Wang
Approved Research ID: 85457
Approval date: May 19th 2022

Lay summary

Our team is working on identifying the genomic factors that drive diseases observed in elderly individuals, such as dementia, and genomic factors that lead to disorders observed in children, such as autism. The link between unhealthy human development and unhealthy ageing is not well understood, but over the years there have been discoveries of genes involved in each. We want to ask the question whether these genes are related?

In this study, we are extracting information on genetic risk from previous studies focusing on children, known as birth cohort studies, and applying that information to studies focusing on ageing populations, like the UK Biobank. Over the next 3 years, we will specifically examine the genetic factors associated with neuro-development and metabolism in children, and then look for the same factors in UK Biobank's elderly individuals that have neurological and cardiovascular disease, or are at risk of those diseases.  We will also build computational methods using artificial intelligence to combine these early-age risk factors to predict who may have disease later in life. The links and methods generated in this study will inform public health policy on disease prevention and paediatrics researchers on how to treat children to ensure healthy outcomes into adulthood.