Metabolic syndrome—a cluster of risk factors that increases one’s susceptibility to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—has reached epidemic levels in the United States. An estimated 34 percent of the U.S. population is affected, and rates of the disorder are rising worldwide.
While lifestyle factors like poor diet and lack of exercise contribute significantly to these disorders, they don’t fully explain why some populations are at a higher risk than others. The Broad Institute’s Medical and Population Genetics program seeks to understand how genomic variation contributes to disease risk and responses to treatment. By studying the genetic makeup of human populations, Broad researchers gain powerful insights into the biological mechanisms responsible for disease and can work to develop new therapies.
In recent years, researchers have discovered that rare genetic variants play an important role in disease susceptibility. But identifying rare genetic variants can be difficult, and often the only way to uncover them is to sequence the genomes of many thousands of individuals. Thanks to our network of international collaborators, Broad scientists have assembled large collections of samples for a number of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, and discovered genetic mutations that contribute to—or protect against—their onset.
We are seeking philanthropic partners in the following projects:
Fully defining the genetic causes of cardiometabolic disease, including early-onset heart attack.
Finding promising targets by unlocking the biological mechanisms underlying the disease.
Driving the discovery and testing of novel therapeutics for promising targets.