GOHaD’s research interests are focused on the genetic and environmental contributions to disease, in particular common complex human diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, preeclampsia, asthma, schizophrenia and cancers.
These diseases have a substantial genetic involvement that has proven difficult to fully understand. Advances in statistical genetics, super-computing and high-throughput ‘omics’ technologies make this an unprecedented time for rapid disease gene discovery that will pave the way for development of new treatments and strategies to improve human health.
- Mammographic density as a risk factor for breast cancer
- Melanoma through the Western Australian Melanoma Health Study
- Mesothelioma through our collaboration with the Genetic Understanding of Asbestos Related Disease study
- Sarcoma through our collaboration with Sock it to Sarcoma, Hollywood Private Hospital Research Foundation, Winthrop Professor David Wood and the International Sarcoma Kindred Study and Professor David Thomas
- Stratified screening for colorectal cancer through our collaboration with Curtin University, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, King Edward Memorial Hospital and The University of Melbourne, funded by the Cancer Council of WA
Cancer is one of the major causes of mortality globally, and every form of cancer has a different cause and treatment. Our research aims to identify genetic and environmental factors that contribute to an individual’s risk of developing cancer. Currently, our research focusses on various types of cancer, risk factors and screening tools:
- The Busselton Family Heart Study and CVD, in collaboration with The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the Busselton Population Medical Research Institute.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the biggest cause of mortality in Australia. CVD describes a collection of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including heart attack and stroke. The risk of developing these diseases is affected by our diet and lifestyle and also by the genetic makeup that we inherit. Our work aims to identify the specific heritable genetic differences between individuals that put us at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Epigenetic modifications of complex disease over the human life course
- Genetics of isolated human populations
- Analysing the genetic architecture of complex traits using longitudinal data
There is large inter-individual variation in disease progression over the human lifecycle and between populations, which may be due to underlying genetic, epigenetic or environmental susceptibilities. A better understanding of these factors and how they influence disease may allow for increased precision in identifying risk, a greater understanding of disease aetiology, and potential new public health interventions. We collaborate on a range of projects aimed at investigating the underlying components that influence complex disease progression through time and in isolated populations.
- Preeclampsia through our collaboration with
Shaun Brennecke at The Royal Women's Hospital, and Matthew Johnson and John Blangero at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
- Schizophrenia through our collaboration with the Western Australian Familial Study of Schizophrenia funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council,
- Autism spectrum disorder through our collaboration with the Raine Study and Andrew Whitehouse at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
Neuropsychiatric disorders can result from an interaction of genetic, neurobiological and cultural factors, and life experiences. Our current collaborations investigate:
- Sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea through our collaboration with the Western Australian Sleep Health Study, Winthrop Professor Peter Eastwood, Clinical Professor David Hillman, Dr Nigel McArdle, the West Australian Sleep Disorders Research Institute and the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council
Disturbed sleep is common in the Australian community, yet the majority of sleep disorders causing sleep disturbance are undiagnosed, limiting our understanding of the prevalence of the disorder. Research suggests there are hereditary predispositions to sleep disorders, however the genetic basis of predisposition and how this influences phenotypic characteristics associated with disorders is unknown.
The Centre welcomes collaborations on any of these interests as well as new projects.
Contact the director, Professor Eric Moses, for more information.