Individuals participating in NICOLA had the opportunity to provide biological samples, which we are analysing to identify biomarkers associated with health and social characteristics.
The NICOLA Biomarker Research Group, led by Professor Frank Kee (QUB) are working locally, and with international colleagues across research themes, to identify new biomarkers that help predict and diagnose diseases, track responses to selected medications, and provide insights for a range of behaviours. We have a choice of biomarkers (including biochemistry, genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic data) on a subset of the NICOLA cohort. The long-term nature of our NICOLA resource enables us to evaluate changes in biopsychosocial measures over time, ultimately helping to maximise healthy ageing.
Our NICOLA team have a very collegial, collaborative approach and welcome opportunities to discuss research considering using NICOLA’s biomarker resources; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
More Facts About Biomarkers:
What is a biomarker?
A biomarker is a short name for a ‘biological marker’. A biomarker is a biological characteristic that can be measured accurately, reproducibly, and acts as an indicator of health and disease. Biomarkers are very helpful tools to evaluate normal and abnormal biological processes, but they are also used in many scientific fields”. We are primarily using biomarkers to develop tools that promote healthy ageing for individuals living in Northern Ireland.
What are biochemistry biomarkers?
Biochemistry biomarkers are measured in blood and urine samples, often as a routine part of healthcare. For example, routine biochemistry biomarkers include monitoring blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, or cholesterol levels as part of an annual health check. Measuring biochemistry biomarkers is routinely used to help doctors determine how badly a heart attack has damaged a person’s heart.
What are genetic biomarkers?
Genetic biomarkers come from our DNA and can show variations that we inherit from our parents (such as eye colour), or acquire throughout life (such as cancer).
What are epigenetic biomarkers?
Epigenetic biomarkers provide a link between DNA that we inherit from our parents and our environment. For example, if a person has an inherited biomarker that makes them more likely to gain weight easily (genetic biomarker)……but eats a very healthy diet and takes regular exercise (epigenetic biomarker due to environment)……then they are unlikely to be overweight.
What are transcriptomic biomarkers?
Transcriptomic biomarkers come from blood samples and help tell us how well the messages in DNA are being understood in our bodies.
Current members of the NICOLA Biomarker Research Group include: