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Approved Research

Multi-omics polygenic architecture of common diseases

Principal Investigator: Professor Philip Awadalla
Approved Research ID: 65592
Approval date: September 7th 2021

Lay summary

Human diseases result from a contribution of both genetic risk factors and environmental exposures, such as diet, smoking and lifestyle. By looking at millions of positions in each of our genomes, scientists can predict which diseases are most likely to develop, and these predictive tools are called genetic risk scores. For this project, in the next three years, we will work to improve genetic risk scores for several common human diseases (early-onset cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological diseases) and in particular disease subtypes and disease trajectories. For example, we believe that people who develop cancer at a young age may be at high genetic risk. We will also compare how well our genetic scores can predict disease in people from Europe versus people from smaller populations, such as French-Canadians and Acadians. Finally, we will also compare the ability of our genetic risk scores to make predictions when we incorporate other information, such as how genes are used, data from image scans we get when we visit our doctor's office, or whether or not a certain person has smoked their entire life. This work will produce tools to predict diseases and disease subtypes that could improve our understanding of the impact of genetic and environmental risk factors on disease, in the hope of guiding decisions about population health.