Back to top anchor

Effects of unique Pacific gene variants on immunity and metabolic disease

48 months
Approved budget:
Dr Natalie Netzler
Professor Peter Shepherd
Dr John Taylor
Health issue:
Infectious disease
Proposal type:
Pacific Health Postdoctoral Fellowship
Lay summary
Despite the rich wealth of diversity across the Pacific Islands, disproportionately high rates of metabolic disorders are reported throughout all Pacific populations compared to other ethnicities. Despite these disparities, research to identify any particular cause is severely lacking. Historical waves of migration devastated Pacific Island societies with disproportionately high mortality rates following the introduction of pandemics into naïve Pacific populations. These events may have selected survivor gene pools that were less susceptible to infectious diseases but more predisposed to metabolic diseases. Many studies have clearly shown that human metabolism and immunity are highly integrated systems, therefore the identification of Pacific gene variants linked to altered immunity may also identify genetic risk factors for metabolic diseases. This study aims to identify unique Pacific gene variants associated with altered immune responses using human models, which will also provide a platform to identify candidate genes for examination in their role in metabolic disease.