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Keene, Keith L. Faculty Member

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Diabetes is a global epidemic affecting more than 25 million people in the United States, alone. Diabetes related complications such as nephropathy, neuropathy, cardiovascular disease and stroke, are severe public health concerns. Environmental as well as genetic risk factors contribute to the development and progression of the disease. Over the past eight years, my research has focused on identifying and evaluating genetic risk factors of complex diseases, specifically type 1 and type 2 diabetes. More recently, I have collaborated on genetic and epigenetic studies of ischemic (and recurrent) stroke, resulting in the successful funding of an American Heart Association Career Development Award. My research experience includes using genetic, epigenetic, statistical and molecular biology methodologies, such as next generation DNA sequencing and high throughput genotyping to identify risk variants, implementing statistical software packages to test for association in family, case-control, and admixed populations, and performing functional assays to determine the biological relevance for associated variants. The identification of genetic risk factors will result in functional studies and potentially countless opportunities for multidisciplianary collaborations with experts outside of the particular disease field to further explore these findings in either animal models or clinical trials. With this understanding, more effective treatment regimens could be applied, pre‑symptomatic individuals would be identified that might benefit from early intervention, and new drugs could be devised to alter the function of important metabolic pathways.

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