Dr. Sofiya Milman’s research focuses on a unique population of centenarians and their families who are generally free of age-related diseases. Healthy longevity runs in most of these families, suggesting a heritable basis for this phenomenon. One trait associated with the health of this population is elevated high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Significant evidence exists that higher HDL cholesterol levels are associated with decreased risk of common age-related diseases, like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Milman’s team will do Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) to discover genes associated with both high HDL levels and longevity. They will also use data from longevity Epigenome-Wide Association Studies (EWAS) to study the effects of epigenetic modifications on the function of these genes and the associated HDL levels. Finally, they will attempt to validate their findings by studying children of parents with exceptional longevity.
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