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Telomere Length & Stress: Incorporating Novel Methods into Disparities Research (2014)

Location: Ware Room, 5th Floor Countway Library (10 Shattuck St, Boston)

Gene-Environment and Disparities Research Workshop Series

Telomere Length & Stress:

Incorporating Novel Methods into Disparities Research

Recent studies have shown that changes in diet, exercise, stress, and social support may result in longer telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that affect longevity. Telomeres maintain genomic stability by protecting against nucleolytic decay, end-to-end chromosomal fusion, and subsequent atypical recombination. Telomere length is determined by genetics and environment. Evidence that telomeres measure the accumulation of environmental and biochemical trauma to the genome has piqued recent interests. This workshop provided a small group of early-career investigators an introduction to environmental and lifestyle correlates of telomere length and educate on the design of human studies featuring telomeres. Participants then received individualized help in assessing how this methodology might be incorporated into their proposal under development, with a critical look at how their proposal might advance disparities research.

This workshop was tailored to junior faculty in the process of developing a K, R23, or R01 proposal that either: (1) is disparities-focused, but could benefit from the addition of cutting edge methods such as telomere analyses to strengthen the proposal; OR (2) already includes telomeres as a methodology, but would be strengthened by the addition of a disparities-focused aim. Participants will receive help identifying resources and collaborators, as well as additional expertise, as needed, including targeted grant development consulting support post-workshop.

This training opportunity was offered by the Catalyst Health Disparities Research Program in partnership with the Harvard/MGH Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations, and Health Disparities.

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