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Past Projects


Investigation of microbiome in rheumatoid arthritis in discordant monozygotic twins.

There is good evidence that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is influenced, and perhaps even caused, by alterations in the gut microbiome. The microbiome is, in turn, influenced by the host organism genotype. Thus twins are the perfect experimental model in which to study the influence of gut microbiome in RA.


Funding for twin recruitment and DNA collection, in Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

Recruit and examine new twin pairs with at least one member of each pair having RA, in collaboration with patients associations and clinical rheumatologists in the UK, to perform DNA and RNA extraction and store blood samples for study of RA.


Funding for DNA collection in fibromyalgia. 

A DNA resource from 2000 people having chronic widespread pain (CWP) will be constructed and then genomic/epigenomic pain candidates identified in twins will be validated in patients.


Understanding the genetic predisposition to migraine-a meta-analysis approach 

Migraine is the most common brain disorder; however the molecular mechanisms giving rise to them are poorly understood. The migraine consortium involved research into the genetic determinants of migraine and its subsets, migraine with aura and migraine without aura.


Skin ageing in relation to telomere length and vitamin D metabolism

This study showed, for the first time, that ‘moley’ people who have a slightly increased risk of melanoma may, on the other hand, have the benefit of reduced susceptibility to age-related diseases such as heart disease or osteoporosis.


The genetic basis of variation in response to dietary supplements

This research has resulted in the identification of the genetic basis for adverse drug reactions and individual responses to vitamin supplementation.


Genetic epidemiology of cognitive behaviour

This study focused on how effective self-report memory tests are – which had previously received little attention. As a result of this study, it was found that heritability estimates ranged between 37% and 64% for contentment (e.g., reporting to worry about one’s memory) and approximately 45% for ability (e.g., reporting a tendency to forget keys). These tests were found to be extremely useful in examining memory functioning in large- scale population studies and will help similar future cognitive studies. The study also identified a potential genetic region for forgetfulness, and also showed that large-scale gene discovery studies are possible with self-report memory questionnaires.


Twin migraine study

Certain conditions characterised by blood vessel constrictions (such as hypertension, migraine, Raynaud’s phenomenon and coronary artery disease) have been found to be related in epidemiological studies. However the biological causes for these associations remain controversial. This study used a classical twin design to show that these conditions are linked through a common underlying genetic propensity to blood vessel spams.


Collection of biological materials from knee Osteoarthritis case.

The collection of biological materials from knee OA cases has enabled a multitude of research papers to be published in the field of OA that cover all aspects of the field, from the early clinical manifestations of the disease, to the revelation of the environmental and genetic causes of OA.


Identification of novel genetic loci mapping to chromosome

This study led to the identification of genetic factors associated with Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis and was responsible for identifying potential genetic factors associated with this condition.


Osteoporosis- genetic susceptibility

This study searched for the genetic factors associated with Osteoporosis in an affected family and was responsible for identifying potential genetic factors associated with this condition.


Identification of novel genetic and environmental influences in osteoporosis

This study helped to reveal the genetic and environmental risk factors that influence osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and back pain. Understanding the underlying causes of these conditions is a crucial step in developing new therapies for these common conditions of ageing.

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