H3Africa/AWI-Gen Collaboration

Principal Investigators: Michèle Ramsay and Osman Sankoh

The AWI-Gen study (African Wits-INDEPTH Partnership for the Genomic Study of Body Composition and Cardiometabolic Disease Risk) is implemented under the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Consortium. It aims to build capacity in Africa for research that leads to an understanding of and response to the interplay between genetic, epigenetic and environmental risk factors for obesity and associated cardiometabolic disease (CMD) in Sub-Saharan Africa. By developing this capability, the objective is to enable the application of genomics in addressing questions of biomedical importance. The study will begin by examining the genetic architecture of African populations and will progress to investigate genomic contributions to body fat distribution, considering the relevant environmental and social contexts, in order to contribute to an understanding of cardiometabolic disease susceptibility.

The AWI-Gen cohort was embedded in the HAALSI baseline survey. Agincourt serves as one of its five INDEPTH field sites, which are located in Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya and South Africa. This collaboration has allowed HAALSI to include those aged 40–49 in its cohort, and to collect more extensive biomedical, genetic, and clinical data on a subset of the cohort, providing a rich source of information for investigating relationships between HIV and social and economic factors and biomedical markers of aging-related diseases.