Epigenomics and longevity/health: What determines lifespan in humans? Recent findings in animal models show that lifespan is not exclusively encoded in genes, and that epigenetic factors such as DNA methylation and histone modification of the genome have important roles. Longevity is therefore regulated by both genetic and environmental factors. To decipher the relationship between longevity and factors such as diet, life style, faith and other variables, a large and unique human study, the Adventist Health Study (AHS2), was initiated at LLU in Loma Linda, CA, one of the five blue zones in the world where many people enjoy a long and healthy life span. We will use state-of-the-art next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies and cutting-edge genomic and bioinformatic tools to map out the epigenomic and transcriptomic fingerprints that are characteristic of longevity. Using systems biology approaches and through a 3-D study design, our objectives are: 1) decipher genome-wide DNA methylation and its relationship with aging/longevity; 2) determine long-term dietary (vegan) modulations and reprogramming of the epigenome and their relationship with aging; 3) define the molecular underpinning of health and disease by interrogating the epigenome and transcriptome of the AHS2 population. Our long-term goal is to gain a better understanding (from a systems biology perspective) of epigenomic reprogramming due to diet and life style in relation to longevity.  This study is in collaboration with Dr. Penelope Duerksen-Hughes and Dr. Gary Fraser.

Other Collaborations (Wang NIH S10 Grant)
Dr. Lubo Zhang, PhD, Professor & Director of Center for Perinatal Biology, school of Medicine, LLU (Major User)
Gary Fraser, MD, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean of School of Public Health, LLU (Major User)
Hansel Fletcher, PhD, Professor & Vice Chair of the Department of Basic Sciences, Assistant Dean, School of Medicine, LLU (Major User)
Carlos Casiano, PhD, Professor & Associate Director, Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine, School of Medicine, LLU (Major User)