EpiCan

Principal Investigators: Dr. Philip Awadalla, Dr. Jeffrey R. Brook, Dr. Audrey Smargiassi, Dr. Perry Hystad, Dr. Markey Johnson, Dr. Julie Hussin

Start Year: 2015

The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health (CanPath) is the product of $150+ million dollar investment to create first class infrastructure to
support health research internationally. It is Canada’s largest population cohort with detailed data and biospecimens on 300,000+ adults.

CanPath leaders have teamed-up with scientists from a range of disciplines to enable a deeper understanding of how air pollution and the surroundings where people live interact with genes to influence cardiometabolic health. Existing data and resources are used to address essential questions for public health authorities, researchers, and health practitioners. The focus is on metabolic syndrome (MetS), a cluster of medical conditions common among aging adults: obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance. Because people with MetS are more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease, MetS represents a substantial burden on
healthcare systems. MetS results from the interaction of genes, lifestyle and the environment, but these mechanisms are not well understood. This program aims to quantify the effect of air pollution and built environment on MetS, and map differences in DNA that impact gene expression, and see if their effect are modified by environmental factors.

Currently, no studies exist on the genetic and environmental risk factors of MetS at this scale, nor is there any program that has the infrastructure to return and share data with researchers to facilitate discovery.