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Texas Biomed scientist collaborates on study providing insight into genetics of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

SAN ANTONIO (August 24, 2015) –  Dr. Michael Olivier, Scientist and Chair of the Department of Genetics at Texas Biomedical Research Institute, is a contributing author on a study led and coordinated by scientists at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine that was published this month in Nature Communications describing a detailed analysis of the  genetic factors contributing to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS causes hormonal imbalance in women that can affect ovulation and fertility and lead to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes as well as other disorders. The disease affects about one in every 10 to 15 women of reproductive age, according to statistics from the National Institutes of Health.

olivier_08-2015 “As part of our research on the genetic basis of obesity and related disorders, we were able to provide samples from our Metabolic Risk Complications of Obesity Genes (MRC-OB) for this exciting project, as part of the ongoing research work at the TOPS Center for Obesity and Metabolic Research,” Olivier said.

Study investigators identified two new regions of genetic susceptibility in women of European ancestry, as well another region present that had been previously found in women of Chinese descent with PCOS. There is currently no cure for PCOS, but scientists are hopeful that studies, such as this, that help identify basic biological mechanisms for the disease can help lead to new therapies and potential cures.

For the full paper published in Nature Communications, please visit their website here. For more information on the study from lead authors at Northwestern, please see the Northwestern news release here.

While working at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Olivier partnered with an international non-profit weight-loss organization called Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS). This study used DNA from thousands of women, including samples and data from TOPS members and their families. With Olivier’s relocation to Texas Biomed, this type of research is now continuing at the recently established the new TOPS® Nutrition and Obesity Research Center to help facilitate studies looking at the role of genetic predisposition to metabolic changes, nutritional preferences, appetite regulation, food intake and choice and incidence of obesity-related illnesses.

Texas Biomed is one of the world’s leading independent biomedical research institutions dedicated to advancing health worldwide through innovative biomedical research. Texas Biomed partners with hundreds of researchers and institutions around the world to develop vaccines and therapeutics against viral pathogens causing AIDS, hepatitis, herpes, hemorrhagic fevers and parasitic diseases. The Institute also has programs in the genetics of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and other disorders. For more information, please visit