Genomics Medicine Ireland links up with UCD to launch GenoFit study

13 Sep 201710 Shares

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From left: Prof Colin Boreham, director of the UCD Institute of Sport and Health; Sean Ennis, CSO, Genomics Medicine Ireland; and Prof Giuseppe De Vito, dean and head of the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

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GenoFit is Ireland’s first large-scale research study into the role of genetics in health and fitness.

Irish life sciences company Genomics Medicine Ireland has created a partnership with the Institute for Sport and Health at University College Dublin (UCD) to examine the part that genes play in the health of individuals.

The GenoFit research study will be open to anyone aged 18 or older from the UCD Belfield campus community of approximately 30,000 people. Residents from the local area that use the Belfield facilities for sport and recreation are also welcome to take part.

The combination of advanced genomic technology and detailed lifestyle information from participants will create a comprehensive view of the potential genetic factors contributing to our physical wellbeing.

‘The identification of specific genetic factors that may protect an individual against the development of a particular health condition could allow the generation of targeted interventions to improve our health’
– PROF GIUSEPPE DE VITO

The participants are already being recruited, and volunteers will be given a full mini-health check, including a DEXA scan to monitor bone and muscle health. They will also have to give a blood sample, take a short fitness test and complete a questionnaire about their lifestyle.

Targeting issues with genomics

The new clinic will be overseen by head of the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, Prof Giuseppe De Vito, and director at the UCD Institute for Sport and Health, Prof Colin Boreham.

De Vito said: “This research partnership with Genomics Medicine Ireland gives us an unprecedented capability to examine and better understand the factors influencing human health and fitness.

“The study will use cutting-edge technology in the genomics field, which will enable researchers [to] examine the relationship between genomics, fitness and health in far more comprehensive detail compared to previous studies.”

He noted the opportunities for discovering targeted ways to tackle many illnesses. “The identification of specific genetic factors that may protect an individual against the development of a particular health condition could allow the generation of targeted interventions to improve our health.”

Co-founder and CSO of Genomics Medicine Ireland, and director of UCD’s Academic Centre On Rare Diseases, Dr Sean Ennis, explained how the study aims to discover exactly how unique factors such as age, nutrition and our own psychology play a role in our overall health.

“The GenoFit study, in partnership with the UCD Institute for Sport and Health, will allow us to gain a more detailed understanding of individual risk factors, and how much of a role they play will help to develop and deliver more personalised health management.”

Ellen Tannam is a writer covering all manner of business and tech subjects

editorial@siliconrepublic.com