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Diet can be a serious risk factor for a number of diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some cancers, but the exact effect of different components of food may depend on your individual genetic makeup. For example, a single letter change in DNA in people living in Scandinavia 10,000 years ago allows most Caucasian adults today to drink milk without getting sick due to lactose intolerance.

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Dr. Luciw studies transcriptional regulation of retroviruses, how viruses cause disease in animal models of AIDS, and genetic immunization for viral diseases.

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The UCSF Center for Health & Community seeks to facilitate multidisciplinary research to provide comprehensive understanding of problems of health, illness and health care. The center develops and tests new strategies for research and interventions to promote health, prevent disease and facilitate recovery. The center provides both pre- and postdoctoral students with professional tools to deal with social, psychological and cultural issues in the clinical setting and prepares students to work in a complex socio-political professional environment that crosses traditional boundaries.

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Lorena Garcia is an Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences at the UC Davis School of Medicine. Her research focuses on health disparities and social determinants of health, in particular cardiovascular related health outcomes such as obesity and diabetes, and immigrant health.

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Dr. Laurene Mascola is chief of the Acute Communicable Disease Control (ACD) unit for the Los Angeles County Department of Health's Public Health Programs & Services, which performs disease surveillance and epidemic control activities for more than 60 diseases. Mascola oversees the County's programs for immunization, food and water safety epidemiology, vectorborne (insect) disease, hospital outbreaks and bloodborne diseases. Mascola has extensive experience in epidemiology and disease prevention, publishing more than 100 articles and abstracts in numerous medical and public health journals.

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Kathryn Flores is the director of the San Benito County Health and Human Services Agency. The agency protects and promotes the health, safety and environment of San Benito County residents by preventing and controlling disease, environmental hazards, injury and disability, and by educating and promoting healthy lifestyles. The staff is multicultural and many are bilingual.

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Julie Barnes is the director of health policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Previously, she served as deputy director of the health care policy program at the New America Foundation. In that role, she headed the program's Health Care Reform Communication Project, the purpose of which was to educate industry stakeholders and policymakers about the issues in the health care reform debate, facilitate discussions about those issues among the key players, and mediate those discussions to identify areas of agreement. Ms.

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Dr. Halpin's research focuses on health insurance policy, including health insurance benefit design, health care reform, access to care, consumer experiences in managed care, and disease prevention and health promotion. She has been quoted extensively by both print and broadcast media on issues related to national health care reform, particularly for Medicare and Medicaid. She has closely followed the proposals by the 2004 presidential candidates to increase Americans' access to health insurance.

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Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor is a professor of family and preventive medicine at the UCSD School of Medicine. An internationally recognized expert in epidemiology, Barrett-Connor's main focus is on the factors promoting a healthy old age. She is founder and director of the three-decade-old Rancho Bernardo Heart and Chronic Disease Study, which has produced data defining causal factors for diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis as well as cardiovascular disease. Her research focuses on healthy aging and gender differences in disease, with strong emphasis on women's health.

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My research focuses on cardiovascular genomics and aging, with the primary goal of identifying and characterizing genetics variants underlying complex human disease. Traditional approaches to identify genes involved in cardiovascular disease have relied upon screening candidate genes or family-based linkage studies in families with rare monogenic forms of disease. Given the limited success of these approaches to identify genes contributing to common disease, our group has pioneered the use of genome-wide association studies.

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