Population Dynamics in Women's Health

Women’s Health is an area of critical importance for the World Health Organisation. An important factor in this is the effect of migration, where changes in environment, however small, can have a dramatic effect on maternal and child health. The Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study (BIGCS) - a population that has undergone rapid economic transition - offers a unique research opportunity to better our understanding in this area.

Questions that Bridge Fellows could explore

How can we better understand the inter-relation between environment and maternal and child health? The intrauterine environment shapes an individual’s health and disease. Adverse pregnancy outcomes are the major cause of perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality. We know that environmental and chemical exposures during pregnancy such as lead, cigarette smoke and alcohol, as well as nutritional stress have all been linked to long term dysfunction in neuronal, cardiovascular and metabolic systems. With access to the ‘Born in Guangzhou Cohort Study’ the Bridge Fellow has a unique opportunity to consider these questions and embark on a project that will combine the expertise of both the University of Birmingham and Illinois.

Unique benefits of the BRIDGE Fellowship programme

  • The BRIDGE Fellow will work with the large ‘ (BIGCS), which has hitherto recruited 18k pregnant women and 3k of their partners. To date, 14k of the planned 30k babies have been born and recruited. Detailed lifestyle, clinical and laboratory information are available, in addition a large accompanying bio repository allowing for further Omics studies.
  • At the University of Birmingham, the BRIDGE Fellow will be closely associated with the Centre for Computational Biology (CCB) which combines many of the field’s components, from both the development and applications sides. With chairs of Bioinformatics, Clinical Bioinformatics and Environmental Bioinformatics, the CCB aims to promote excellence in Computational Biology, Ecosystems Biology, and Bioinformatics across the range of fundamental and applied sciences, in both the University and allied Health Care arenas.
  • The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is a leading institution in computational and engineering approaches to medicine, with researchers well-versed with methods that compare exposomes (e.g. exercise, nutrition, cognitive tasks) that may serve to mediate babies’ response to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Computational resources at UIUC include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCS), the National Petascale Computing Facility, and HPCBio; a center for High Performance Biological Computing.