Multi-omics prediction of cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and death

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Molecular. Genetics & Pop Health


This project will investigate epigenetic-outlier burden as a potential biological measure of ageing.

DNA methylation is one of several epigenetic mechanisms that can affect the expression of genes. An epigenetic outlier occurs when the methylation level at a specific site in an individual's genome differs greatly from the methylation level of the majority of the population in this location. Cross-sectionally the number of epigenetic-outliers (here defined as data points more than 3 times the inter-quartile range from the 25th/75th percentiles) in the population has been observed to increase with age (Gentilini et al. 2015).

We will try to replicate this finding in a local dataset (Generation Scotland). In addition, we will examine how epigenetic-outlier burden changes longitudinally within individuals, its relation to other biological clock measures and whether epigenetic-outlier burden can be useful for the prediction of age-related cognitive and health outcomes. To do so, we will use data from large longitudinal cohort studies, such as the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) and the Swedish Adoption/Twin Study of Aging (STATSA).


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