Jenny Lab Research

Mission Statement

To examine how inflammatory and immune factors are associated with development and progression of aging-related diseases like atherosclerosis, dementia and frailty. My research covers hypothesis-driven studies of relationships between inflammation and immune phenotypes with disease to genome wide association studies looking to identify new pathways associated with inflammation and immunity.

Overview of current areas of research

Biomarkers: Many inflammatory biomarkers are measures of general inflammation and do not reflect a particular pathway. I am interested in exploring biomarkers that are associated with specific processes in inflammation. In particular, I have been examining associations of pentraxin 3, a marker of vascular inflammation, with cardiovascular disease, kidney function and diabetes.

Telomeres: Telomeres cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. Telomere attrition results from progressive rounds of cell division and is linked to replicative senescence in cultured human cells. In vivo, telomere attrition is linked to a number of aging-related diseases. We are examining associations of telomere attrition with a number of pathologies in two different studies, the Cardiovascular Health Study and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Diet and physical activity: I am interested in how diet and physical activity alter levels of inflammatory markers and am involved in several studies utilizing data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis.

Genetics: We are exploring the effects of a variety of pathways on levels of inflammatory markers using GWAS data. I participate in the CHARGE (Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology) and PAGE (Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology) consortia.