Gene-Environment Interaction: There is no doubt that genetic polymorphisms can influence the development or progression of disease but they are rarely the sole cause. Most people have a genetic risk of disease, based on family history, but lifestyle choices are the most common initiating factors. For example, an individual who gains weight will be more likely to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease than a person with the same genetic predisposition who remains lean. In the same way, our genetic makeup will determine our response to the environment, as some will remain lean despite little exercise where others will gain weight.
Biomarker identification: The early identification of disease risk is important for preventing the onset and progression of disease.
Pathophysiology of disease:
Novel Combination strategies: The identification of effective, low cost and easily administered stimuli that improve health would be of great benefit to society. We are working to identify and evaluate stimuli that mimic the effect of exercise or enhance the response to lifestyle modification. This will include the interaction between exercise, dietary and behaviour changes with pharmacological agents and the development of technology to increase adherence to lifestyle modification.
Optimising existing strategies: Exercise, dietary and behaviour interventions have been shown to reduce body weight and improve diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk. However, many of the current recommendations are generic and do not account for individualised risk, age, the degree of obesity, the duration of disease or other complicating factors. This has led to high levels of variability in published results and confusion for policy makers and the public. The aim of our research is to optimise lifestyle interventions and to increase their effectiveness by developing population specific strategies.