Building a Large-Scale Database of Genetic Associations to Alzheimer Disease: Margaret Pericak-Vance, PhD


The director of the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami detailed a new international initiative that expands on the genetic backgrounds of people of Hispanic and African ancestry. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"What we need to do is understand the biological, and then learn about the social determinants of health, the environmental part, put those two together and overlay them. That way we can see if a particular gene has a response to some other environmental modification."

To build a resource that expands on Alzheimer disease (AD) genetic studies to the currently underrepresented African ancestry populations and Hispanic/Latinx groups, the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will lead a major 5-year, international, multisite initiative. Announced in early July, the initiative is funded by a $46 million grant awarded by the National Institute of Aging. Other institutions will contribute to the study, including Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Wake Forest University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Ibadan, which is the lead institution for the African Dementia Consortium.

Through the recruitment, assessment, and genetic analysis of a significantly large cohort of participants of Hispanic/Latinx and African ancestries, clinical, phenotypic, and genetic data, along with social determinants of health factors, will be collected to create a large genomic study databank. The cohort will include 5000 individuals from various African countries, 4000 African Americans, and 4000 Hispanic/Latinx individuals. The data collected will be added to existing databased of harmonized data from other ongoing studies as part of the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project.

Margaret Pericak-Vance, PhD, director of the HIHG and Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Professor of Human Genetics, will oversee the overall efforts of the principal investigators across domestic and international sites. In an interview with NeurologyLive®, Pericak-Vance provided in-depth detail to the study, how it will be carried out, and the goals the investigators are hoping to achieve.

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