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Building epigenetics clocks for estimating chemical exposures

“The epigenetic clock relies on the body’s epigenome, which comprises chemical modifications, such as methyl groups, that tag DNA. The pattern of these tags changes during the course of life, and tracks a person’s biological age, which can lag behind or exceed chronological age”*. Accelerating aging may be caused by environmental factors, including chemical exposures, such as smoking. Scientists have constructed epigenetic clocks by selecting sets of DNA-methylation sites across the genome. There are also other clocks available from other omics approaches, as well from animal models. However, the accuracy and correctness of these clock varies.

The overarching aim of this study is to explore existing computational methods and develop new methods for estimating omics clocks in the context of chemical exposure. Specifically,

  1. You will systematize and compare existing omics-based clock approaches
  2. You will connect exposure data with the omics data based on available resources in public repositories
  3. Utilizing machine learning approaches you will construct clocks sensitive to chemical exposures
  4. You will develop the tool that integrate chemical signatures with public resources such as reactome.org

Skills and personality traits, we need: No prior knowledge to biology or chemistry is needed. Python, R or another programming language is needed to progress with the task of this thesis. Natural Language processing, machine learning, graph theory, and SQL is advantageous but not necessary. Creativity and goal-oriented person. The candidate, if needed, will be offered a special curriculum introductory course on cancer biology to be better prepared for the bioinformatic analyses in a biological context.

Working environment: You will be working at the NIPH (Folkehelseinstitutet) that got the prize for best communicating institution in 2020, and contributed to risk assessment during SARS-Cov-2 pandemia. We do care about a nice working atmosphere, students well-being and their progress.

Supervisors: Main supervisor: Marcin Wojewodzic, Researcher at Norwegian Institute of Public Health (https://www.fhi.no/) and Norwegian Cancer Registry. Email for interview: maww@fhi.no

* Literature

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02638-w
  2. https://www.nature.com/news/biomarkers-and-ageing-the-clock-watcher-1.15014
Publisert 17. nov. 2021 18:20 - Sist endret 25. nov. 2021 12:27

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