Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

Each month, the OVPR highlights the past month’s sponsored research funding awarded to Tufts’ investigators, including both a list of funded awards and one or more featured project abstracts.

You can download the list of January’s awardees by clicking the button below. In January, Tufts researchers received 22 awards for extramural funding from federal, foundation, and corporate sponsors.

To submit a recent award to be highlighted, please use the "nominate a project" button below.

This month's featured abstract highlights Dr. Yau-Hua Yu of the Dental School, funded via the NIH Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development award program for her project ‘'Exploring Genomic Determinants of Periodontal Disease via Shared Genetic Pathways with Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Bone Density". Please see the full abstract of her project below.

Exploring Genomic Determinants of Periodontal Disease via Shared Genetic Pathways with Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Bone Density

PI: Yau-Hua Yu
Funder: NIH
Title: Exploring Genomic Determinants of Periodontal Disease via Shared Genetic Pathways with Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Bone Density’

Abstract: Despite significant improvement in treating periodontal disease (PD) and the identification of multiple risk factors, little is known about the specific contribution of genetics to PD pathogenesis. Several genome- wide association studies (GWAS) of PD have been published, but only one reported locus has reached the threshold for genome-wide significance. Epidemiological studies and biological experiments established associations and suggested common pathogenetic pathways between PD and cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes (DM), and osteoporosis. The overall objective is to identify genetic loci for PD as a first step toward a better understanding of PD pathogenesis. In a preliminary study in the Women's Genome Health Study (WGHS), new-onset cases of PD were associated with a family history of myocardial infarction (MI). Further preliminary analyses presented shared phenotypic variation of PD/CVD, PD/DM, or PD/osteoporosis that could be accounted by the whole-genome genetic matrices. Several variants from the GWAS catalog of bone density and family history of MI were found correlated with PD in the WGHS. Based on these findings and the literature, the central hypothesis is that there are common pathogenetic links between PD and these other diseases and that GWAS using the comorbidity case definitions will help identify potential common loci. Three specific aims independently refine the approach to GWAS of PD: (1) Validate and expand the PD information by adding the CDC-AAP self-reported periodontal parameters to the annual follow-up survey in the Women's Health Study; (2) Identify genetic determinants of PD shared with CVD, DM, or osteoporosis via an integrative computational biological networks approach; and (3) Preparatory training to connect and collaborate with future large dental-genomic databases for GWAS of PD. These aims also provide a mentored training experience for Dr. Yau-Hua Yu, a talented dentist scientist with a strong background in periodontology and bioinformatics. Dr. Yu's career goal is to integrate epidemiological, genomic and clinical studies to elucidate the systemic links and genetic components that periodontal disease shares with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. The proposed work will highlight future research paths for PD and open possible new avenues of investigation for comorbid conditions.