Our objectives are to investigate the effects of environmental exposures (e.g. outdoor air pollutants, endocrine disruptor chemicals, and occupational exposures) and lifestyle factors upon the risk of non-communicable diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, gynaecological diseases, obesity, and cancers) through trans-omics approach (genomics, epigenomics and metabolomics). We will develop analytical methodologies for the analysis of exposures, the identification of disease biomarkers and their application to the clinical setting, and novel treatment/intervention strategies to reduce disease risk.

  • General Information of Study
    • Overview
      Name Environmental and LifEstyle Factors iN metabolic health throughout life-course Trajectories (ELEFANT)
      Project Number CCC2018050801
      Website https://www.project-elefant.com/
      Investigators
      Liqiong Guo
      Hyang-Min Byun
      Peng-hui Li
      Institutions Tianjin Medical University
      Contacts
      Liqiong Guo
      Funding National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 81602827 and 41601548).
      Objectives Our objectives are to investigate the effects of environmental exposures (e.g. outdoor air pollutants, endocrine disruptor chemicals, and occupational exposures) and lifestyle factors upon the risk of non-communicable diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, gynaecological diseases, obesity, and cancers) through trans-omics approach (genomics, epigenomics and metabolomics). We will develop analytical methodologies for the analysis of exposures, the identification of disease biomarkers and their application to the clinical setting, and novel treatment/intervention strategies to reduce disease risk.
      Start Date 2015.06
      End Date 2035
    • Study Design
      Number of Participants Project ELEFANT consists of three age-based cohorts: mothers and newborns (Baby ELEFANT, n=50,085); young adults (Young ELEFANT, n=366,474); and the elderly (Elderly ELEFANT, n=6,503). The total number of participants within Project ELEFANT is 423,062.
      Age Range 0-80 years old
      Geographic Distribution Tianjin City
      General Information of Study Design and Sample Methods cluster sampling
      Inclusion Criteria Residence in Tianjin city; Attendance of local hospital or clinic; Ability to communicate verbally and in writing in Chinese; Has a valid Chinese personal ID.
      Exclusion Criteria Absence of informed consent or inability to consent; Diagnosis with communicable disease; The individual does not meet the inclusion criteria.
    • Other Information
      Key Achievements 1. Two NFSC funded projects and two projects in submission for provincial funding; 2. Built collaborations with 11 different institutes in 5 countries (China, UK, USA, Mexico and Turkey); 3. Developed a structure of multi-discipline committees, e.g. steering committee, analysis committee, and research committees; 4. Four manuscripts are under review, two manuscripts under preparation, and more than five projects are on-going; 5. Measurement of a novel molecular biomarker (mitochondrial DNA methylation) in 1,800 participants.; 6. Measurement of more than 15 types of endocrine disruptor chemicals in biospecimens from 1,800 participants; 7. Development and publication of a project website; 8. Invitations to present at international conferences and meetings, e.g. the International Conference on Environmental Pollution and Health, Public Health England Annual Meeting (United Kingdom), and International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE)
      Marker Papers
      Strength 1. Large-scale study with a total of 429,379 participants; approximately 1 in 30 residents of Tianjin; 2. Prospective study with bio specimens from subpopulations; 3. Three age-based cohorts that facilitate investigation of the timing of exposures in relation to disease outcomes. e.g. birth outcomes with in utero exposures within Baby ELEFANT, fertility in Young ELEFANT, hypertension/cardiovascular disease in Elderly ELEFANT; 4. Comprehensive data on a range of exposures and lifestyles (e.g. air pollution, endocrine disruptor chemicals, diet, psychosocial stress, occupational exposures, exercise, smoking and drinking habits); 5. In particular, hourly outdoor air pollution measurements from 2002 to present.
      Weakness 1. Limited follow-up for the Baby ELEFANT participants; 2. Biospecimens, such as blood and urine, are only available for limited participants; 3. Limited dietary data across all three cohorts; 4. Blood measurements were not obtained for male participants within Young ELEFANT; 5. There are no measurements of cognitive functions within Elderly ELEFANT.