Understanding how genes and genetic variants influence heart function is of major importance, not only from a basic science viewpoint, but also as a foundation for future innovation in medicine and health-care. In this proposal, Dr. Niek Verweij aims to identify novel genes and mechanisms underlying heart growth. This will be done in collaboration with the top-scientist Dr. Chris Newton-Cheh (Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT) and Dr. Laurie Boyer (MIT). As heart growth accompanies many forms of heart disease, this project will focus on the QRS-complex (of the electrocardiogram) in population based studies as this reflects electrically active cardiac mass. We will search for novel low-frequency genetic variants associated with the QRS-complex within the CHARGE consortium and within a Dutch population using dedicated reference panels. Loci will be interrogated through the use of published and unpublished in silico big-data sets to further prioritize variants and regions for experimental follow-up aimed at elucidating biological mechanisms. This project will bridge the gap between population based genetic association studies (with Dr. Newton-Cheh) to functional biology (with Dr. Laurie Boyer). This proposal will provide novel insights into cardiomyocyte functioning and provide novel avenues to study heart disease vulnerability and design innovative treatment.
Call for proposal
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