Associate Name: Xiumei Hong
Funding Source/Period of the Grant: HPC Pilot Research Program and 21st Century Cities 04/26/2019-04/25/2020
Preterm birth (PTB) is among the most profound clinical and public health challenges we face today. Prenatal nutrition is believed to play a role in affecting PTB risk, but related studies have shown inconsistent findings. One reason is that individual genetic susceptibility was not considered in these studies. Besides the genome, the epigenome represents the critical interface between gene and environment (including nutrition), while the metabolome reflects the results of gene-environment interactions. Given that PTB is a complex problem with multi-factorial etiology, a systematic approach is critically needed. By leveraging our well-established Boston Birth Cohort along with existing extensive databases, we propose to investigate maternal and fetal genomewide gene×nutrition interactions on PTB in 1,700 mother-infant pairs; and to explore the underlying mechanisms by integrating metabolomic and epigenomic data. Findings from this study will potentially help identify novel gene×nutrition interactions and molecular targets to inform early prediction and prevention of PTB.