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Approved research

Uncover the genetic and phenotypic background for the disease network influencing women's life course health

Principal Investigator: Dr Haomin Yang
Approved Research ID: 61083
Approval date: April 30th 2020

Lay summary

Women are at increased risk of many diseases as compared to men, such as osteoporosis, mental disorders and breast cancer. In addition, women in their life course may experience several special events, including delivery and menopause, which may further influence the risk. This sex dependent risk difference could be explained by the genetic background of the women as well as their exposing to specific environmental risk factors. However, it is still unknown whether these diseases are associated with each other and whether health status in the early adulthood may predict outcomes in later life.

In this study, we aim to investigate those diseases with a higher risk among women than men to identify the phenotypic network between these diseases, including their co-occurrence and temporal patterns. We will also select several important diseases occurring during different life course stages of the women for in-depth analysis, such as hyperthyroidism, osteoporosis and breast cancer.

To reveal the underlying mechanism for the associated diseases, we will assess the common phenotypic risk factors for these diseases, including lifestyle factors and circulating biomarkers. We will further investigate the genetic correlation among these diseases and identify the co-localized causal genes for related diseases.

Besides the common diseases associated with female sex, the sex dependent risk difference exists for rare diseases as well, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and blood cancers. We will also explore the environmental and genetic risk factors for these diseases in different life course stages, with focus on oral health status, early life exposures and biomarkers.