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Dr Katherine Lange
Dr Katherine Lange is currently part of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children's Child Health CheckPoint, a one-off physical health and biospecimen module for LSAC. The Child Health CheckPoint , situated with the Centre for Community Child Health within the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, aimed to enrich LSAC with sophisticated health assessments and biological samples.
Dr Lange has a Bachelor of Science Advanced with Honours (Anatomy and Biochemistry). In 2015 she completed her PhD in Developmental Genetics, examining key gene regulatory networks in early embryonic development and haematological malignancies. Dr Lange is also currently completing a Masters of Biostatistics.
Dr Lange joined the Child Health CheckPoint in 2015 as a data manager, and has worked as a bioinformatician and post-doctoral Research Officer since 2018. Her current research interests focus on the interaction between genetic pre-disposition and environmental exposures in childhood development and mental wellbeing.
Honours student projects available:
'Beating the odds': Early life experiences influencing the association between genetic prediction and health characteristics in mid-childhood
In the modern age of complex population epidemics, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and the substantial divide between socioeconomic classes in health and wellbeing, early intervention can have a remarkable impact on long-term quality of life. However, many non-communicable diseases and outcomes involve a complex interaction between 'nature' (genetic pre-disposition) and 'nurture' (lifestyle stressors). In a large cohort of Australian 11-12 year old children and mid-life adults, this project aims to investigate the association between genetic prediction and the measurement of a health characteristic, and the early life exposures that overcome genetic predisposition to improve outcomes in children with poorer genetic profiles.
The Child Health CheckPoint was a physical health and biospecimens module nested within the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), a national, population-derived cohort assessing children and their families every two years since birth. The CheckPoint includes detailed outcome measurements at 11-12 years in almost 2000 children and one of their parents, and from which DNA has been collected and genotyped for over 1700 children and 2500 adults for 7 million genetic variants. A wide range of outcome measures are available, including anthropometrics, physical health in cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, renal, hearing and visual systems, physical activity and sleep, allergies, pain, mental wellbeing, and societal outcomes such as educational attainment.
The student will (1) use previously published results to generate a polygenic risk score within the CheckPoint cohort for a characteristic of interest to the student. The student will then (2) examine the association between the generated polygenic risk score and the phenotype measured in the CheckPoint cohort, and (3) investigate the mediation of this genetic- phenotype association by a range of relevant lifestyle exposures in the preceding decade, such as home environment, activities, diet, community and health service use, parental involvement, socialisation and family demographics.