Genetic Epidemiology

Professor Nick Martin

Senior Scientist

The Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory seeks to identify the particular genes involved in complex disease aetiology. It performs longitudinal studies with twins on a wide range of complex traits of medical and behavioural interest.  Particular research over recent years has moved to genome wide association studies (GWAS) to locate genes influencing complex traits including anxiety, alcoholism, and dizygotic twinning.  Most recently, the laboratory initiated projects to recruit large patient samples for GWAS of anorexia, depression and other psychiatric disorders.


  • genetics of asthma
  • genetic influences on endometriosis
  • genetic analysis of migraine and comorbid psychiatric disorders using twin families
  • genetics of Male Pattern Baldness (MPB) as a potential risk factor for prostate cancer
  • genetic factors in anxiety, depression and fatigue
  • psychosocial factors in cancer proneness in ageing twins
  • osteoarthritis in ageing twins
  • asthma and allergy in Australian twins and their families
  • role of HFE polymorphisms in iron metabolism in Australian twins
  • role of ADH and ALDH polymorphism in alcohol sensitivity in humans
  • biology and molecular genetics of dizygotic twinning
  • twin study of blood cell numbers
  • twin study of mental abilities and cognitive performance
  • twin study of mole development in adolescence
  • genetics of alcohol and nicotine dependence
  • harmful alcohol consumption
  • alcohol and nicotine dependence
  • dizygotic twins
  • melanoma


Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Professor Dale Nyholt, Queensland University of Technology
  • Professor Ian Hickie, University of Sydney
  • Professor Dorret Boomsma & Dr Hamdi Mbarek, Free University, The Netherlands
  • Professor Tim Spector, Twin Research Unit, Kings College, London
  • Professor Manfred Kayser, Forensic Science, Erasmus University, The Netherlands
  • Professor Marcella Rietschel, Central Institute for Mental Health Research, Germany