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Sam is a non-Indigenous researcher living on Kaurna Country. He completed his Bachelors degree at University of Adelaide in 2019 majoring in evolutionary biology and genetics, then completed his Honours in population genetics, studying balancing selection in diverse human populations at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) in 2020. Between his studies Sam worked for the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2021/22 as a Statistical Analyst helping implement the 2022 National Health Survey. Currently, Sam is completing his PhD through The Australian National University under the supervision of Bastien Llamas (primary supervisor), Yassine Souilmi, Katharine Brown, Jimmy Breen and Alex Brown.

Thesis Title: “Genomic, Epigenomic and Metabolomic (Multi-Omic) Signatures of Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes in Aboriginal South Australians”

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) disproportionately impact Indigenous Australians, the drivers of this excess burden are not completely understood. Traditional risk factors such as age, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking and diabetes status are widely used to assess CVD and T2D risk. However, these predictors perform poorly in Indigenous Australians, especially in young people and women. An individual’s disease risk can also be attributed to the combined effects of the genetic variation they carry, as well as the epigenetic modifications and metabolic dysfunction they exhibit. This project aims to examine genomic, epigenomic and metabolomic (collectively, multi-omic) associations of CVD and T2D among Aboriginal people in South Australia. The primary outcomes of the association studies will be the identification of Aboriginal-specific CVD and T2D biomarkers and a multi-omic predictive risk model that will directly benefit the communities represented in the PROPHECY cohort.

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