Grant from Forte to Xia Jiang - News
Grant from Forte to Xia Jiang
Xia Jiang, Assistant Professor in Ingrid Kockum’s Group at CMM, is one of the 11 researchers from Karolinska Institutet who received research grants as a part of Forte’s yearly call within the areas of health, working life and welfare.
Forte is a government agency under the Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Junior researcher grants are awarded for 4 years and can be granted up to six years after obtaining a PhD. The aim of this grant is to support early stage researchers.
Xia received a Junior Research Grant consisting of SEK 5 500 000 for her project titled “Using large-scale genome-wide genetic data on millions of individuals to understand causal inference and shared genetic basis between modifiable environmental exposures and multiple sclerosis”.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurodegenerative autoimmune disorder. Despite several MS-associated environmental factors have been identified, it remains difficult to pinpoint which of the many lifestyle changes that have occurred during the past are responsible for MS onset later on.
This Forte-supported study addresses questions on the role of environmental exposures in causing MS. Using novel statistical tools, Xia will investigate whether environmental factors covering lifestyle, nutritional and psychosocial factors are causally associated with MS and whether there is a shared genetic basis between having MS and exposure to specific environmental factors.
To perform the study, Xia and her collaborators have access to statistical data on genetic background and several modifiable environmental exposures from millions of individuals. Additionally, with the purpose of validating findings, they will use genetic data from 47,429 MS cases and 68,374 controls, out of which 19,000 individuals have also provided extensive questionnaire data regarding the exposure to environmental factors.
It is the hope of Xia Jiang that her research may not only shed new light on the mechanistic developmental process of MS, but also provide actionable strategies to be used in preventive health care.
We say congratulations to Xia and wish her the best of luck!
Photo: Annika Hederby