Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Cardiovascular diseases are the major cause of death and disability in people with diabetes. Recent meta-analyses of observational studies have provided consistent evidence that diabetes conveys a greater excess risk for coronary heart disease and stroke in women than in men.

Mendelian randomisation analyses to examine sex differences in the relative effects of diabetes on the risk of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular diseases are the major cause of death and disability in people with diabetes. Recent meta-analyses of observational studies have provided consistent evidence that diabetes conveys a greater excess risk for coronary heart disease and stroke in women than in men. The mechanisms underpinning this sex difference are not fully understood. Moreover, while the sex differences seen in observational studies were apparently independent of age and major cardiovascular risk factors, the possibility that residual or unmeasured confounding explains some of the sex difference can not be excluded.   Mendelian randomisation (MR) analyses exploits the natural random allocation of genetic variants at birth and is an increasingly popular method of assessing causality. If diabetes elevates the risk of CHD and stroke more strongly in women than in men, then randomly allocated genetic variants that cause diabetes should also cause CHD and stroke more strongly in women than in men. Previously reported sex differences in the effects of genetic variants on body adiposity, glycaemia, and diabetes might provide a biological basis for such sex difference.  To provide further insight in the pathophysiology of diabetes and vascular disease, and its linked mechanisms, we use data from the UK Biobank to undertake sex-specific MR analyses on the relationships between body adiposity, glucose traits, diabetes, and macrovascular disease. The results produced will be independent of the many factors that may bias observational associations, such as confounding and reverse causation, and will account for pleiotropic effects. By investigating loci for differential causal effects between women and men, it may be possible to identify novel therapeutic targets that drive the differential effect of diabetes on vascular complications.  

Training opportunities

The student will work in the George Institute for Global Health, but will also have some supervision from collaborators at NDPH. Professor Woodward and Dr Peters have published widely on sex differences in Cardiovascular Disease and the student will be exposed to epidemiological and applied statistical methodologies pertinent to this subject.

Supervisor

Professor Mark Woodward

Second Supervisor

Sanne Peters