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Computational Biology | Genetics and Genomics | Genomics | Medicine and Health Sciences


The design, administration, input, and evolution of an epigenetic database containing metadata across studies was created using cloud based tools with permission and blinding capacities. The database was designed to store the odds ratio (OR) of various interventions such as exercise,sleep, environmental exposure, and food consumption on health outcomes many of which work mechanistically via epigenetic modifications. To this end, existing published research on the epigenetic influences on disease and overall health promotion were evaluated and compared through a variety of normalized metrics. Research is often hampered by aggregating qualified researchers in one place to ensure continuity and interaction. Cloud based informatic tools allow for the electronic formation of such teams, while asynchronous data input creates a shared library of inputs and outputs essential for standardized database creation. Zotero was used for literature sharing and Google Docs for selective data sharing and visualization. The manual curation of primary literature to build databases with metadata is a fruitful avenue of research for those pursuing terminal degrees that sequester too much of their time for more classical contiguous lab bench work. This database is currently being created by third year medical school students at two medical schools, as well as a PhD student at a third school. A future application of this project is the creation of a smartphone application that would allow users to query certain behaviors or outcomes (e.g. running or cancer) and obtain a rank ordered report on how various interventions or therapeutics would combat a disease based on their odds ratios. The emerging role of epigenetics in modifying one's own phenotype can be leveraged with a database such as this to allow for patient executed lifestyle interventions which could increase health while lowering healthcare costs.


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