I am one of the leading national and international advocates and researchers of the “Precision” Public Health (PPH) principle.
I have made 4 important research-related contributions so far in my career. First, is to use genomic mapping tools to study inter-individual response to both medications (pharmacogenomics) and nutrients (nutrigenomics). These include pharmacogenomics studies of hypersensitivity to beta-lactam antibiotics and aspirin sensitive asthma as well as genomic and metabolomics studies of response to B-vitamins. The second has been to advocate the use of the classical twin model in pharmaco/nutrigenomic as well as other “Omics” studies for biomarker validation/discovery (See for example the Wellcome trust funded MuTHER study: www.muther.ac.uk/). We were amongst the first groups to report heritability estimates of B-vitamin biomarker status among the general population, were the first to use twin studies to show that the genetic architecture of nutrient status is different to the architecture of response (e.g. to supplement use) and leading efforts to identify genes associated with population variability for a myriad of micronutrients (vitamins B, D, and minerals calcium, Selenium, iodine) within important contexts (pregnancy, old age) and to use Mendelian randomisation studies to prove or disprove causal links between micronutrient levels and diseases (cardiovascular and ischaemic stroke). My third contribution has been on method development and critical analysis of “Omics” platforms. As part of the group at the Galton labs (UCL) we were one of the first groups to try and leverage linkage disequilibrium for mapping the human genome and devised the haplotype “tagging” approach and within the MolPAGE study (cordis.europa.eu/project/id/512066) I led the work package using the classical twin design to show the scope of molecular phenotyping in accelerating genomic epidemiology studies but the degree of technical variability outweighs the biological information for many of the platforms. Finally, my final contribution is to marry the field of human genetics, nutritional and social sciences. As part of my risk management work portfolio the translation of the most basic of research – in particular nutrition & genetics – requires involvement of the social sciences and so currently under the “food citizenship” remit I am actively gauging the utility of genetic risk in devising and refining the messaging and practice of nutrition risk management.