Associate Professor from Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, will talk about "Molecular epidemiology of aging: insights from longitudinal studies on epigenetics".
She will act as the opponent of Maheswary Muniandy's doctoral dissertation on the following day.
Sara Hägg describes her own research as follows:
The overall aim of my research, in the newly coined field of geroscience, is to examine the biological mechanisms underlying aging and how that contributes to increased susceptibility to certain diseases. Towards this aim, I use several longitudinal studies of aging, mostly from the Swedish Twin Registry (STR), where we have multiple measurements of telomere length, DNA methylation, lipids, anthropometrics and cognitive function available among others. In addition, large-scale GWAS data and publicly available cohorts are used to increase power in studies and to assess causality using Mendelian Randomization (MR) designs.
The aging process is characterized by cell death and DNA modifications, and leads to gradual decline in body function and increased susceptibility to diseases. A way to study the aging process is by using epigenetics (chemical modifications on DNA) where genetic, environmental and random contributions are captured. Across life, epigenetic marks changes due to environmental pressure with dysregulation of genes, accelerated aging and disease onset as a consequence. Thus, studying these marks reflect the accumulative effects of lifestyle in relation to aging, and will increase our knowledge of the aging processes.