Hi, I’m Aaron Gardner, a writer and contributor to Gene Food and its Custom Nutrition Plan with a background in genetics, human health and personalized medicine.
I’ve had a long running interest in the potential of genetic testing as a tool to alleviate disease but also improve general health and wellbeing. This is a rapidly growing field and with the advent of consumer based genetic testing the potential benefits are becoming available to ever more people.
My academic research focuses on cystic fibrosis, one of the most common and severe genetic disorders, and encompasses a range of ongoing studies at the genetic, molecular and population level. At Gene Food it is my aim to use this understanding of the influence of genetics on disease to help people better understand the role their own genes can play in modulating their health and general wellbeing, and also how we can influence their action through lifestyle and nutrition changes.
While I have long been interested in science it was only as an undergraduate at the University of York in the UK that my real interest in genetics developed. I graduated in 2007 with a BSc in Genetics, but as part of my studies I was fortunate to spend a year working in the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy Consortium laboratory based in Imperial College in London. Here my interest in personalized medicine was really developed as I could see first hand the impact that the national newborn screening program, which was rolling out at the time, could have on people’s lives.
Following on from this I undertook my graduate studies at my hometown university in Newcastle where I was awarded a Masters of Research in Medical and Molecular Biosciences followed by my doctorate in immunology in 2012. Carrying on the theme of previous research I investigated the role of specific molecular pathways in disease progression including potential genetic influences that were associated with a worse prognosis.
Since completing his studies I have worked in a variety of medical research laboratories including those at Durham University and Newcastle University in the UK and Columbia University in New York. My work has concentrated on understanding the genetic modulation of various fibrotic disorders, most recently returning to focus on cystic fibrosis, and more specifically the potential of targeted personalized medicine in this disease, and the use of machine learning techniques and algorithms to assess individuals risks and outcomes.
Importantly I also want to communicate these ideas to the wider community and hope to use my understanding here at Gene Food to make science accessible, and help people better understand their genes, and their nutrition.