Principal Investigator: Matthew Weirauch, PhD
We propose to use the interface between genetic association, environment, and gene regulation to identify the mechanisms that dispose to disease generation. Since gene regulatory changes seem to have the greatest influence on complex disorders, constituting over 85% of the now known genetic associations, this approach would promise to have enormous potential to describe the at present unknown origins of many diseases. We have found a powerful statistical association between the DNA sequences bound by the gene regulatory proteins with the DNA sequences that constitute risk loci for many diseases, including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Among the many potential future consequences of this work are new therapeutic strategies directed at the disease inducing mechanisms, new diagnostics, new methods for prognosis, and novel management strategies.