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Your Environment. Your Health.

Combining Biostatics and Genomics Research to Prevent Disease

Andres Cardenas, Ph.D., head shot
“There are preventable causes of disease. And the environment is largely a preventable cause,” Cardenas said. (Photo courtesy of Andres Cardenas)

Andres Cardenas, Ph.D., of the University of California (UC), Berkeley SRP Center explained how is applying his epigenetics expertise to investigate how environmental exposures contribute to the development of diseases, and how to prevent them.

Epigenetics research studies how environmental factors, such as chemical exposures, alter the activity of genes without changing the DNA sequence. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes can be reversible.

Cardenas also co-leads the Data Management and Analysis Core at the center.

With SRP support, Cardenas participated in an effort to collaborate with other SRP Centers to share arsenic exposure data from populations across rural Bangladesh, Northern Chile, and Navajo Nation and answer complex questions that could not be answered by a single dataset.

“By combining data from multiple populations, we were able to better characterize additional sources of arsenic exposure, such as food, and house dust,” Cardenas explained. “This has important implications for better understanding associations between chemical exposure and disease in human studies.”

Read more in his NIEHS Story of Success.

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