Epidemiology and Genetics Core

Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health


Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD


Jorge E. Chavarro, MD, ScD

Assistant Directors:

Dr. Peter Kraft

 Dr. Liming Liang

Click here for core presentation on October 18.


The Epidemiology and Genetics (E&G) Core provides a central focus to translate the findings from clinical and cellular studies to applications in ongoing epidemiologic studies. It provides consultation on study design, on the analytic approaches to data from clinical trials and epidemiologic and genetic studies, and the presentation of results. To provide these services, the core conducts a regular working group in obesity research where plans, preliminary analyses, and research results are presented. Core faculty also meets one-on-one with researchers. Programming support is also provided to studies lacking the necessary expertise.

The E&G Core builds on the large cohorts of men and women that have been established to relate lifestyle factors, including diet, anthropometric characteristics, and exercise, to the incidence of major illnesses and subsequent mortality. These cohorts include the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS), the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS), the NHS II, and the Growing Up Today Study, a cohort of adolescents and young adults (based at Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and women’s Hospital). New cohorts that will be made available through the BNORC include the NHS 3 and the nutritional component of the EARTH Study (based at MGH). Additional cohort studies that are available to core members include the Framingham Heart Study (based at Boston University), the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (based at Tufts University and Northeastern University), and the Black Women’s Health Study (based at Boston University). The investigators have developed analytic and data management software to facilitate the analysis of large volumes of information in a cost-effective manner. In addition, these cohort studies have collected more than 200,000 plasma and 300,000 DNA samples for biomarker and genetic analyses.

  1. Provide access to large longitudinal datasets at Harvard for potential collaborations and meta-analyses. The cohorts include the NHS, NHS II, NHS 3, HPFS, GUTS, Framingham, Project Viva, and several national datasets. Detailed and repeated measures of diet, lifestyle, BMI, waist/hip circumference, weight change have been collected in these cohorts.
  2. Provide efficient access and liaison with the Harvard Partner Genotyping Facility for high-throughput genotyping of clinical and epidemiologic samples in obesity-related studies at the lowest possible price for BNORC users.
  3. Collaborate with BNORC members for the purpose of testing and replicating novel genetic associations of obesity and its related phenotypes in large nested case-control studies using readily available DNA samples through whole genome amplification.
  4. Provide existing genotype data from the cohort studies to the BNORC members for the purpose of pooling analyses or meta-analyses, in silico replications, and looking up SNPs from functional and experimental studies.


After consulting with the Core Director, please use the link below to request Core services.

Click here to access the BNORC Core User Request Form


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