UQ’s Dr Joseph Powell (Institute for Molecular Bioscience) and Professor Peter Visscher (Queensland Brain Institute) are part of an international team which has successfully identified 1,497 age-associated genes that could lead to improved prevention and treatment of age-related diseases.
Chronological age is a major risk factor for many common diseases such as heart diseases, cancer and stroke, however, the underlying molecular mechanisms that lead to generalised disease susceptibility are largely unknown. Through an international alliance led by Dr Joyce van Meurs (Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and Dr Andrew Johnson (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, USA), gene activity levels in the blood of 14,983 individuals were analysed to identify the genes that are differentially expressed with chronological age.
“This information could be used to predict people who are at risk relative to their age for disease, and allow people to make lifestyle and environmental changes to mitigate that risk,” Dr Joseph Powell said.
Professor Peter Visscher and Dr Joseph Powell have further used the findings to develop a new method of predicting biological age based on gene activity profiles, where researchers are able to analyse human gene activity data and assess whether participants are ageing faster or slower than expected.
The study was published in eminent journal Nature Communications. For more information on the project and also collaborative opportunities, please contact Dr Joseph Powell and Professor Peter Visscher. Full media release can be accessed HERE.