Genetic variants underlying cardiovascular and metabolic disease
We are now surrounded by an unprecedented amount of information about the human genetic variation that influences who will develop cardiovascular disease. Although more variants are likely to be found, we can now turn our attention to deciphering the mechanisms by which this variation in DNA ultimately governs the differences from individual to individual. My research is focused on tackling this problem in several ways, combining experimental and emerging computational approaches to take advantage of the enormous amount of new molecular information in the public domain. Specifically, I hope to adapt the sorts of statistical learning tools used in finance and engineering (and consumer marketing!) to narrow the list of likely genes that determine our cholesterol levels. Guided by this information, I hope to move to the experimental laboratory to then decipher how individual variation affects the amount of these genes, and to break down how common environmental exposures influence their levels. My ultimate aim is to identify potential new drug targets and develop new means to classify patients according to their “molecular fingerprints” under stress.