The scope of the project can be adapted PhD, MPhil, or Honours. A background (or strong interest) in genetics, pharmacy, psychology, medicine, neuroimaging, data science, statistics, computer science, mathematics or bioinformatics is preferred. Previous research experience coding, analysing and plotting data using R/Python.
Depression is a common yet very heterogeneous mental disorder. Patients experience different onset, symptoms, and severity, present with different comorbidities, and respond to antidepressant treatment differently. Genetic factors contribute to these differences, but there is little evidence of specific genes, pathways and mechanisms implicated in such heterogeneity.
To characterise the genes, pathways and mechanisms that underlie variation in symptom profiles, treatment response and other outcomes among patients with major depressive disorder (MDD).
The student will apply statistical and computational approaches to analyse data collected as part of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study (AGDS), which comprises more than 20,000 genotyped volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Collaboration with other groups in Australia and abroad and within international consortia such as the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium will be an integral part of this project.
Understanding the molecular basis of clinical and treatment response heterogeneity in depression is necessary to enable precision psychiatry: the tailoring of treatment according to one’s genetic background.