Eat4Genes: A Bioinformatic Rational Gene Targeting App to Address Pathologies using Healthy Diet

Eat4Genes is a prototype diet recommendation web app for patients, healthcare providers, and researchers that aids in the selection of a healthy diet to help treat and prevent numerous health conditions. 
Our approach is focused on the strategic use of diet to regulate key risk gene expression, which we call dietary rational gene targeting (DRGT). To create the source DRGT dataset, we analyzed data of three types: an expert-curated list of conditions and the desirable 
modulation associated with risk genes to improve those conditions; an expert-curated list of rigorous scientific studies that quantify how the consumption of dietary agents (nutrients) influences gene expression in humans; and gene expression results for each of the studies. For each study, we added  analyses  of differentially expressed genes, study quality, and nutrient concentration.  We developed a ranking system for studies that emphasize in vivo over in vitro studies, as well as whole foods and extracts over isolated phytochemicals at reasonable concentrations of nutrients.  The Eat4Genes web app provides an engaging and informative interface that enables users to perform analysis by condition or by gene. We also present user scenarios from physician's and researcher's perspectives.  The prototype Eat4Genes DRGT dataset and web app represent important steps towards translating DRGT and dietary research into a precision nutrition approach that is lower cost and healthier compared to pharmaceutical approaches.  

Team Members
  • Data INCITE students: Morgan L. Ford, Jessica M. Cooley
  • Data INCITE advisors: John S. Erickson, Kristin P. Bennett
  • Scientific advisor: Dr. Dana R. Crawford, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY
Parent Projects