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Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health


Research with the RPGEH

The RPGEH Access Review Committee (2012-2015) reviewed more than 100 applications for use of RPGEH data and biospecimens, approving 90 percent. Over 50 projects are currently active or seeking funding as of April 2017. Another 100 projects have separately accessed data through dbGaP.

Current research includes genome-wide association studies on many different health conditions and health-related traits, including the following examples:

Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS)

  • Disease conditions (prostate cancer, squamous cell cancer, hernia, major depression, hearing loss, asthma, COPD, lung cancer, breast cancer, bipolar disorder, and staph Infection)
  • Quantitative traits (blood pressure, mammographic density, serum lipids, body mass index, age at first birth, alcohol consumption, telomere length)
  • Pharmacogenetics (response to statins, allopurinol, metformin)

Additional projects have used Mendelian Randomization to study the relationship of diabetes and glaucoma, and have used polygenic risk scores to investigate the association of genetic risk of schizophrenia with bipolar disorder, and the contribution of common variants to risk of coronary heart disease. Other projects have been focused on investigation of pleiotropy in cancers and, separately, aging and aging-related diseases.

Research using the Pregnancy Cohort has recently begun with funding of a project under the auspices of the Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO), focusing on exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals and child health.

Other projects have linked the RPGEH Survey data with EHRs to study:

  • Mental health in lesbian, gay, and bisexual older adults
  • Vitamin D supplementation in the RPGEH population
  • Assessment of the secular trend in age of menarche in girls
  • Racial and ethnic disparities in lower urinary tract symptoms in men