Past and Current Projects
Several Older Americans Independence Center (OAIC) development projects have enabled investigators in the Biological Mechanisms Core (previously called the Genetics, Genomics, and Molecular Core) to integrate new genetic technology and analytical techniques into genetic studies related to frailty. Key candidate genes in apoptotic pathways have also emerged. In addition, investigators have developed a new frail mouse model that has led to a key publication and several new grants related to inflammation and frailty. Recent developmental projects have linked Pepper Center investigators with cutting-edge epigenetic technology in the laboratory of Dr. Andrew Feinberg, King Fahd Professor of Molecular Medicine in the Johns Hopkins Institute of Genetic Medicine.
In recent years, the Biological Mechanisms Core continued to expand its scope beyond human genetics studies into a comprehensive genetics, genomics, and molecular core that builds on the evolving science, infrastructure, and expertise developed in the first years of this center. This evolution requires the leveraging of additional human and infrastructure resources from across the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions towards frailty research, and includes facilitating access to senior leaders with necessary expertise and infrastructure and to a) facilitate analytical strategies needed to analyze the vast amounts of genetics and genomics data being generated, b) incorporate measurements of oxidative stress, mitochondrial function, DNA methylation, and gene expression into RC-2 sponsored frailty research, and c) develop improved access to human and/or animal biological samples and phenotypic data for needed for additional frailty research. This next stage of goals and advances enables RC-2 to continue to support the most rigorous human genetic studies related to frailty while at the same time enabling it to expand its scope to support studies of molecular pathways identified in genetics studies related to human frailty. We have provided assay development support and biological expertise regarding etiology of a hearing loss and vestibular system changes to all of our RCDC supported and PESC supported scholars. In addition, we continue to provide a wide range of external support to individual investigators from across JHU and nationally regarding frailty phenotype development, frailty measurement, human genetics expertise, mouse model development expertise, renin-angiotensin system expertise, and in the use of frailty as a risk factor for organ transplantation failure.