Director: Kiran Musunuru, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.L.


Even some of the most common diseases - such as myocardial infarction (heart attack), the leading cause of death worldwide - are driven in part by the effects of one's genes. The members of the Genetic and Epigenetic Origins of Disease (GEODe) Program seek to understand how natural variations in genes make some people more susceptible to cardiovascular diseases than other people, whether the variations are in the DNA sequences that "code" for the genes (genetics), or whether the variations are structural changes in the DNA molecules or the proteins in which DNA is packaged in the cells (epigenetics). The dual aims of the program are: (1) to understand how the variations directly result in - or protect against - cardiovascular diseases; and (2) to use that knowledge to develop breakthrough approaches to diagnose, prevent, and treat cardiovascular diseases, in the service of people living longer, healthier lives. The program also seeks to educate members of the University of Pennsylvania community on the use of genetic and epigenetic techniques to empower their own scientific research.


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