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Population-based induction of pluripotent stem cells

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), derived from easily accessible tissues like skin or blood, have been lauded as critical tool to model how genetic variants affect cellular function in the development and progression of disease. To date, due to feasibility limitations, most iPSC models have been applied in small scale, case-control studies of genetic variants with known high effect sizes. However, most genetic variants associated with noncommunicable diseases of aging have small to moderate effects, and to study the functional changes associated with these variants, we need large sample sizes. New culturing techniques now make it technically possible to scale iPSC production to larger studies. However, before iPSC models can be used in a large-scale setting, valid and precise methods need to be established to ensure we can distinguish subtle causal effects over any variation induced from the process of deriving the models. The overall aim of this project is the development of a robust and reliable framework for iPSC models for population-based studies.