Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) are a major public health concern as the leading cause of death and as a major source of racial/ethnic health disparities. Because CVD is a multi-factorial disease, a true understanding of its etiology requires investigations of interactions among many genetic and environmental factors. Thus, the overall goal of this study is to advance our understanding of how multi-level factors (from genes to neighborhoods) synergistically affect CVD.
The specific aims of the proposed research are to: 1) develop measures of neighborhood socioeconomic, built/physical, and social environments, 2) examine cross- sectional and longitudinal associations between genetic and neighborhood factors, and their interactions in relation to CVD risk factors, and 3) examine racial/ethnic differences in CVD risk factors and determine if these differences are explained by neighborhood-gene interactions.
These aims will be achieved through the merging of data from the Research Program on Genes, Environment, and Health (RPGEH), with data derived from available sources on neighborhoods and the built environment. The RPGEH is one of the largest research resources in the U.S. designed to examine genetic and environmental determinants of common diseases. The candidate, Mahasin Mujahid, is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. The proposed NHLBI Mentored Career Development Award (K01) will provide Dr. Mujahid with the unique opportunity to augment her current expertise in general epidemiology, social epidemiology, and population health with new training in cardiovascular pathophysiology, genetic epidemiology, and statistical genetics. Moreover, Dr. Mujahid will receive the necessary support and training to work towards her long-term career goal of establishing an independent research program on the social epidemiology of cardiovascular disease with an emphasis on the underlying biological, genetic, and epigenetic pathways linking social factors to CVD.
The results of this research project and future studies may enhance our understanding of how factors operating at multiple levels (from genes to neighborhoods) interact to increase CVD risk in multi-ethnic populations.