The interaction of dietary micronutrients with genetic factors in shaping obesity-related phenotypes in adults and children

Project Code: 10381713

Faculty: Liggins Institute

Department: Liggins Institute

Main Supervisor: Dr Justin O'Sullivan

Principal investigator: Professor Melissa Wake (mwak005)

Application open date: 06 Jun 2017

Application deadline: 15 Dec 2017

Enrolment information: NZ Citizens, NZ Permanent Residents, International


We are generating a unique multigenerational set of genotypic data from over 1500 parents and their children as part of the Growing Up in Australia study with which to dissect the genetic architecture of obesity-related phenotypes in both generations. This genetic ‘risk profile’ will form in important platform on which to investigate gene:environment interactions. In parallel, we are implementing a platform for the analysis of targeted lipo-soluble vitamers and  metabolites in the methionine cycle. Each of these factors has potential to interact with genetic variation to impact obesity related outcomes such as BMI and adiposity.

What we are looking for in a successful applicant

This project is available to students able to attract funding stipends, e.g. via university or international scholarships.

**Please include undergraduate and any postgraduate transcripts with your application.**


Aim: This PhD will explore how micronutrient profiles influence underlying genetic risk for a range of obesity-related phenotypes in adults and their children.

Description: We will develop and ascertain the utility of a genetic-nutrition-based predictor (risk score) of obesity-related phenotypes across the first decade of life and across mid-life. This offers tremendous potential for a precision approach at two life stages critical to subsequent health, targeting those most likely to benefit from intervention in the longer term.

The PhD candidate will be contributing to the data derivation and management of the relevant CheckPoint and LSAC datasets, in collaboration with the study team, and conducting quantitative analyses of the study data to address the study objectives.

Other information

This project can be undertaken by a student based at the Liggins Institute (University of Auckland, New Zealand) or the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (University of Melbourne, Australia).

Please note, this project is expected to start in 2019.

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