Evaluating gene-environment interactions in the etiology of chronic diseases
Dr. Dai has 27 years of experience in conducting large epidemiologic studies of chronic diseases. In particular, Dr. Dai has extensive expertise in nutritional and molecular epidemiologic studies. Dr. Dai’s research focus is to identify and investigate nutrient-nutrient (e.g. magnesium, calcium and vitamin D) and gene-nutrition and gene-phytochemical interactions in the etiology of cancer and other chronic diseases and to subsequently develop precision-based prevention strategies. Dr. Dai has been the PI for six R01/U01 projects to investigate nutrient-nutrient (i.e. magnesium and calcium) and nutrient (i.e. magnesium and calcium)-gene and phytochemical-gene interactions in the etiology of colorectal neoplasia and breast cancer. Over the past 7 years, Dr. Dai has served as the contact PI for an NIH R01 randomized trial to examine the balance of calcium:magnesium for the precision-based prevention of colorectal cancer. During the same period of time, Dr. Dai served as a Co-I in a randomized trial of fish oil supplemention for the prevention of colorectal cancer. In a very recent NCI contract, Dr. Dai will serves as a study PI for a new randomized trial to evaluate intermittent dosing of aspirin for the prevention of colorectal cancer. Currently, Dr. Dai's team is also conducting studies using cell, organoid and animal models in the chemoprevention lab to understand the molecular mechanism for the chemopreventive effects observed in the human trials they have completed. The three ongoing R01 projects have include 1) gene-nutrient interactions using next-generation sequencing approach; 2) nutritional effects on epigenetics using methylomics approach; and 3) nutritional effects on microbiome in stool, rectal swab and rectal biopsy. Dr. Dai also has extensive experience and expertise in research of oxidative stress and antioxidants for the prevention of cancer and dementia.