Genetics of allostatic load in the CoLaus study

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Goal: The aim of this project is to conduct a genome-wide association study of the allostatic load in the population-based CoLaus study. The student will get familiar with the concept of an epidemiologic cohort including human participants, with statistical genetics concepts and the computational tools needed to conduct such analysis.

Background: The CoLaus study (Cohorte Lausannoise) is a prospective population-based cohort started in 2003. Baseline data collection was conducted from 2003 to 2006. The 6-year follow-up examination has started in 2009 and will be completed by 2012. The general aim of the CoLaus study is to analyze the non-genetic and genetic determinants of cardio-metabolic risk factors. The study includes 6184 Caucasian participants, a large proportion of whom have genome-wide genetic data (Affymetrix 500K chip).

In CoLaus, participants who report to receive some form of social help (government benefit) display a vast array of cardio-metabolic abnormalities. In other words, they have a high allostatic load. Allostatic load reflects dysregulatory response mechanisms of the human body to chronic stressful conditions. Such chronic stress arise from communication between the brain and the autonomic, cardiovascular, and immune systems via neural and endocrine mechanisms.

Supervisors: Murielle Bochud and Zoltan Kutalik

Students: Larissa Vernier, Tatiana Marchon & Jean-Noël Maillard

Presentation: Media:GWAS_projects_intro.ppt


McEwen BS, Gianaros PJ.Central role of the brain in stress and adaptation: links to socioeconomic status, health, and disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Feb;1186:190-222.

Seeman T, Epel E, Gruenewald T, Karlamangla A, McEwen BS.Socio-economic differentials in peripheral biology: cumulative allostatic load. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2010 Feb;1186:223-39. Review.

Firmann M, Mayor V, Vidal PM, Bochud M, Pécoud A, Hayoz D, Paccaud F, Preisig M, Song KS, Yuan X, Danoff TM, Stirnadel HA, Waterworth D, Mooser V, Waeber G, Vollenweider P.The CoLaus study: a population-based study to investigate the epidemiology and genetic determinants of cardiovascular risk factors and metabolic syndrome. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2008 Mar 17;8:6.

see Media:Seeman_-_2010_-_ANYAS_-_allostatic_load_review.pdf‎ , Media:Velders_-_2011_-_Psychoneuroendo_-_cortisol_genes_depression.pdf,‎ Genome Wide Association Studies, Media: McCarthy_review_GWAS.pdf , GWAS papers