Invited Commentary: Integrating Genomics and Social Epidemiology-Analysis of Late-Life Low Socioeconomic Status and the Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity.

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2017-09-01

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Abstract

Socially disadvantaged children face increased morbidity and mortality as they age. Understanding mechanisms through which social disadvantage becomes biologically embedded and devising measurements that can track this embedding are critical priorities for research to address social gradients in health. The analysis by Levine et al. (Am J Epidemiol. 2017;186(5):503-509) of genome-wide gene expression in a subsample of US Health and Retirement Study participants suggests important new directions for the field. Specifically, findings suggest promise in integrating gene expression data into population studies and provide further evidence for the conserved transcriptional response to adversity as a marker of biological embedding of social disadvantage. The study also highlights methodological issues related to the analysis of gene expression data and social gradients in health and a need to examine the conserved transcriptional response to adversity alongside other proposed measurements of biological embedding. Looking to the future, advances in genome science are opening new opportunities for sociogenomic epidemiology.

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10.1093/aje/kwx145

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Belsky, Daniel W, and Noah Snyder-Mackler (2017). Invited Commentary: Integrating Genomics and Social Epidemiology-Analysis of Late-Life Low Socioeconomic Status and the Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity. Am J Epidemiol, 186(5). pp. 510–513. 10.1093/aje/kwx145 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/15570.

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Belsky

Daniel W Belsky

Assistant Professor in Population Health Sciences

The goal of Dan’s work is to reduce social inequalities in aging outcomes in the US and elsewhere. Dan's research seeks to understand how genes and environments combine to shape health across the life course. His work uses tools from genome science and longitudinal data from population-based cohort studies. The aim is to identify targets for policy and clinical interventions to promote positive development in early life and extend healthspan.

Areas of interest: Aging, health disparities, epidemiology, life course, genetics, genomics, gene-environment interaction, health measurement

After finishing his Ph.D. at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health in 2012, Dan came to Duke for a postdoc at the Center for The Study of Aging and Human Development. Dan joined the faculty at Duke in 2014. He is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics at the Duke University School of Medicine and Social Science Research Institute. Dan is a Senior Fellow at the Aging Center and a Research Scholar at the Duke Population Research Institute.

Areas of expertise: Epidemiology and Health Measurement


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