IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Marilyn Cornelis, Northwestern University, USA

BMVP Marilyn Cornelis
Genetic epidemiology of caffeine-smoking interactions and health

1 - 14th October 2017

Assistant Professor Cornelis' research couples modern high-throughput omic-technologies to traditional clinical and epidemiological methods to enhance biological understanding of how diet and nutrition contribute to chronic disease. She has a special interest in the genetics of coffee consumption, caffeine metabolism, taste preferences and other dietary behaviors.


Caffeine is the most widely consumed stimulant in the world and epidemiological studies have linked dietary sources of caffeine, particularly coffee, to beneficial as well as adverse effects on health. Nicotine is known to be a highly addictive stimulant and is the major contributing factor to the addictive properties of tobacco smoke. Despite the health risk of smoking, the prevalence of smoking in the USA and UK remains high. Caffeine consumption and smoking are highly correlated behaviors. Factors driving this correlation as well as potential interactions between caffeine and smoking on health are unclear but genetic epidemiological approaches to these investigations are promising. Given their complimentary training, expertise and resources, Drs. Cornelis and Munafò are uniquely positioned to lead powerful genetic investigations targeting the interaction between caffeine intake and smoking on health. 

Proposed events:

Dates and venues TBC

Genetic Epidemiology of Coffee and Health

Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, and has been implicated in many health conditions. Genetic epidemiological studies of coffee may inform causality, parse the constituents of coffee responsible for disease, and identify subgroups most likely to benefit from increasing or decreasing coffee consumption. This lecture will briefly review the limitations of traditional epidemiological studies of coffee and health and discuss how genetics can be used to optimize this research.

Proposed Audience: Experimental Psychology

Omic Approaches to Studying Nutrition in Humans

Technological advances that now allow high-throughput measurements of genomic, transcriptomics, proteomic and metabolomics traits has potential to provide new insight into underlying mechanisms and ways to study the health effects of specific foods more comprehensively. This talk will review concepts and recent applications of omic technology to nutrition research with particular emphasis on current research on coffee consumption and other eating behaviors.

Proposed Audience: MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit