The objective of the START study was to better understand why South Asian people (originating from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) have an increased risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.
In this study, we studied the genetic (related to heredity) and environmental (related to the place one lives in) risk factors of obesity, diabetes and heart disease among South Asian people.
Led by PHRI Scientist Rahul Chanchlani, START is also looking at hypertension in South Asian children.START Study - Download PDF
Prospective birth cohort
Sonia Anand is Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, McMaster University, Director of the university’s Population Genomics Program, and Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity, Department of Medicine.
Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. She has published more than 200 articles in peer review journals, has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Rahul Chanchlani’s research program aims to promote interdisciplinary research collaborations among peers and experts to address knowledge gaps in key renal diseases such as acute kidney injury, kidney transplantation, hypertension and nephrotic syndrome among neonates and children. As principal investigator, his research on acute kidney injury and hypertension is supported by grants from Hamilton Health Sciences New Investigator Award (2017), Physician Services Incorporated Grant (2018), Kidney Foundation of Canada Grant (2019), and an Early Career Award by Hamilton Health Sciences (2020). Rahul has worked on PHRI’s START study to understand the determinants of adiposity and hypertension among newborns of South Asian origin in Canada and India.
He joined the Division of Nephrology in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster Children’s Hospital as an Assistant Professor in September 2015. In November 2016, he finished his Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology (Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation) and Clinician Investigator Program from the University of Toronto. He is also an associate faculty in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) at McMaster University. Rahul was appointed as an adjunct ICES scientist in February 2020.
Associate Program Manager
Dipika Desai oversees many epidemiologic studies, including the South Asian birth cohort, START, the South Asian Heart Risk Assessment (SAHARA), and the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds (CAHHM), as well as management assistance and oversight in the utilization of samples from a number of other studies.
She has a Bachelor’s degree in Food and Nutrition from the M S University in Baroda, India, and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of British Columbia.
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