The Center is using a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the influence of diet and individual genetic variation as risk factors for health disparities in racial/ethnic populations in the United States. Certain genotypes are more severely affected by specific types of dietary factors than other genotypes, though no genotype is completely immune to the deleterious effects of poor diet.
We are using genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics to identify and characterize genes regulated by naturally occurring constituents in foods and those gene-subsets that influence the balance between health and disease. Such knowledge is necessary, but not sufficient, to address health disparities among racial/ethnic populations and the poor. Social, economic and cultural factors also come into play when selecting foods and when designing studies to identify causative genes and environmental factors.
The specific objectives of the Center include:
- Developing better approaches for human association studies that recognize the importance of population stratification in racially/ethnically mixed populations;
- Educating students, health care professionals and biomedical researchers about the non-biologic factors contributing to health disparities and
- Establishing community outreach programs to inform racial/ethnic groups and the poor about the importance of good nutrition and its relationship to genetic makeup.
Health Disparities Populations
Minority populations: African American, Asian American, Latino
Diabetes, Obesity, Asthma, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), Prostate Cancer