Genes & Health, a pioneering genetic research programme that aims to improve health for British Bangladeshi and British Pakistani communities, has started 2023 celebrating new milestones.
In recognition of its major successes, the Medical Research Council has awarded Genes & Health a prestigious ‘Longitudinal Population Study’ award ensuring its long-term sustainability to fight health inequality in an underrepresented population of British South Asians.
Launched in 2014, the community-focused project has recruited over 55,000 volunteers across London, Bradford, and Manchester. Genes & Health brings together internationally renowned scientists to make new discoveries, using cutting-edge techniques such as discovering ‘knockout genes,’ developing polygenic risk scores, and helping with the design of new drug treatments.
This funding will allow Genes & Health to continue to provide a unique data source for researchers, generate valuable long-term data, as well as expand its focus on two areas of unmet health needs: mental health and pregnancy. Studies have indicated that individuals belonging to South Asian communities are comparatively less likely to receive diagnosis for mental health conditions, such as depression. As part of its aim to improve the lives of South Asians, Genes & Health will develop and deliver an innovative online platform that will be used to generate large-scale mental health research. Professor Gerome Breen from Kings College London said:
"This is such an exciting project which has the potential to revolutionise common mental health disorder research in British Bangladeshis and British Pakistanis."
Similarly, British South Asian women face greater risks for disorders such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia compared to the general population during and after pregnancy. The inclusion of this pregnancy cohort within Genes & Health will enable a greater understanding of pregnancy-associated medical disorders and prediction of long-term health risks following illness.
Dr Sarah Finer, Principal Investigator of the new award said:
“We are excited to receive funding to expand Genes & Health over the coming years and continue to make critical scientific discoveries that help improve the health of British Bangladeshis and British Pakistanis.”
Councillor Ahsan Khan, Chair of the Genes & Health Community Advisory Group said:
“Genes & Health has received incredible support from our volunteers and partners in the NHS, community organisations and local government. We look forward to another five years of work in these fantastic partnerships.”
Want to join the Genes & Health programme and make a meaningful contribution to scientific advancements in health and disease research? Visit us here and be part of shaping the future of medical research. Find out more about Genes & Health’s pioneering research through our Research Highways feature here.