Harvard Initiative on Gene-Environment and Disparities Research

Gene-environment interactions (GEI) research has increasingly become a focus for genomics researchers aiming to explicate causal factors leading to differences in the prevalence of common complex diseases.  However, one major barrier to successful GEI research is the lack of validated measures of the “environment.”  This Initiative seeks to produce and disseminate well-vetted conceptual frameworks, methods, and measures of social, physical, and behavioral environments that may be used to guide and design GEI studies aimed at understanding the etiology of health disparities.

Engaged Faculty

Related Publications

  • Shields A.E., Fullerton S.M., Olden K. Genes, Environment, and Cancer Disparities. In: Koh, H.K., ed. Toward the Elimination of Cancer Health Disparities: Clinical and Public Health Perspectives. New York, NY: Springer; 2009:49-82.
  • Olden K., Freudenberg N, Dowd JB, Shields A.E. Discovering How Environmental Exposures Alter Genes and Could Lead to New Treatments for Chronic Illness. Health Affairs. 2011. May;30(5):833-41. PMID: 21555469.
  • Shields A.E. Genes, the Environment, and Complex Chronic Illness: A Nexus of Opportunity for Better Understanding and Addressing Health Disparities. Health Affairs. (In press.)